The overall aim of the music programme at Arnold House is to encourage and promote boys’ enjoyment of music making in a wide variety of contexts. Music here is taught as a dynamic, evolving and practical subject, geared to all abilities and enthusiasms. It helps to build the boys’ self-confidence and social skills and gives them tremendous satisfaction when performing and creating music as an integral part of their educational experience at Arnold House.
All boys at Arnold House have class music lessons. In Years 1 and 2, the basic elements of music are introduced through singing, musical games and practical rhythm and pitch activities using percussion instruments. In Years 3 and 4, this experience is gradually built on with an introduction to some basic theory concepts (stave notation, simple note values). Instrument of the orchestra are also introduced to boys at this stage. In Years 5 and 6, boys study the history of Western music from the medieval period through to the present day. They gain an appreciation of how music has evolved through the centuries and become aware of developments in different musical styles and types of instruments. Music is also looked at within the context of broad cultural trends, particularly in the 20th and 21st centuries. In Years 7 and 8, boys have the opportunity to use music technology in the i-Music suite. A bank of nine networked Apple Mac computers means that boys can use Garage Band for music production, recording, podcasting and other multi-media projects.
In addition to class music lessons, there is a busy extra-curricular programme in the department. 20 different groups and ensembles rehearse each week, including chapel choir, senior orchestra, flute group, cello group, string quartet and rock group – to name but a few. Instrumental tuition is offered on a one-to-one basis in all the major instruments, and boys have the opportunity to perform regularly in assemblies, informal concerts and major musical events such as the Winter and Summer Concerts each year at Canons Park.