The Steinway grand piano in the Performing Arts Centre has more than 12,000 moving parts"
The Music department is one of the largest in the school with three full time staff, over 25 specialist peripatetic staff and teaching/rehearsal facilities on four storeys. We are fortunate to have a wonderful new Performing Arts Centre, completed in September 2015, which offers the girls a chance to rehearse and perform in one of London's finest School concert venues. The PAC has been acoustically engineered for a variety of uses, from lectures to chamber music recitals and large-scale concerts. The planned addition of a professional-quality recording studio and lighting desk will allow the School to offer educational opportunities in the field of music technology for the first time.
Key Stage 3:
All classroom music lessons combine performing, listening and composing. At Key Stage 3 there is an emphasis on encouraging all girls to develop their notation and analytical skills using these three activities in a complementary way. Now that every girl at Putney has their own iPad, there are some very exciting performance and compositional opportunities around the corner!
Pupils study a broad range of music including the Western classical tradition, Latin American samba, film music, fusions and the twentieth-century musical. Small class sizes allow for a collegiate approach, with free-thinking and stimulating debate. We encourage students to immerse themselves in the subject, carrying out their own research in composition and analytical forms.
We have a suite of iMacs which allows all girls to explore composition using Sibelius and GarageBand. We encourage students to conduct and direct instrumental and vocal ensembles to build confidence and people skills. The course is fun, engaging and taught with a strong practical focus.
The course encourages students to extend their appreciation of the diverse and dynamic nature of the subject, promoting a love of music which will last a lifetime. It develops particular strengths and interests which can lead to life-long learning and provide access to music-related careers. An A Level in Music provides a worthwhile and satisfying course of study which broadens experience, develops imagination, fosters creativity and promotes personal and social development. The three key elements are performing (30%), composing (30%) and appraising (40%).
Almost half the school sings in one of the choirs (all but one of which are non-auditioned) and there are orchestras, chamber ensembles and barbershop vocal groups, many of these organised by the girls themselves. In addition to its many concerts, the department also gives pupils the opportunity to participate in chamber music and a cappella competitions, foreign tours, the Inter-House Music Festival (which receives over 200 entries), a Carol Service and an annual Opera, sung and organised by Year 9, all of whom take part.
The music and drama departments collaborate in the performance of musicals involving girls from all years. To assist with these, we are fortunate to have a Performing Arts Centre Technician, Matthew Vile, who has extensive experience in London theatre as a sound and lighting designer.