Music is at the heart of Kent College and our splendid music department offers a broad range of opportunity to pupils of all ages and abilities. Working within a positive and vibrant environment, our aim is for music to be both fun and productive, ensuring that pupils perform and progress to the best of their abilities. Members of teaching staff, as well as a dedicated team of visiting music teachers, are fully committed to both the enjoyment of music and promoting the highest standards. Many pupils learn a musical instrument, and numerous musical events take place throughout the school year.
The Department is housed in its own purpose-built Music school and has outstanding facilities, including teaching and practice rooms, two large rehearsal rooms, and an impressive recording studio. There is a comprehensive stock of instruments available to pupils including two grand pianos, drum kits and orchestral percussion, a pedal harp and a 3 manual Makin organ in the Great Hall. Our new state-of-the-art 600 seat auditorium, the Great Hall, provides splendid surroundings for our annual concert and other musical performances throughout the year and also hosts many local Arts events including the Canterbury Festival.
The quality and breadth of music-making at Kent College is evident in both public and school performances, from a recent appearance as finalists in the Barnardo’s national Choir Competition at the Royal Festival Hall, to productions of Musicals, to individual performances by talented soloists at the annual Spring Concert. Many musicians from Kent College go on to further studies in music at one of the specialist colleges or at university, including the Royal College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music
Music is taught to all pupils as part of the curriculum at KS3 (years 7-9) and is a popular choice at GCSE (years 10 – 11) and A-level (years 12 – 13). Music Technology is also offered at A-level and Music can be taken as part of the IB as a Group 6 subject option.
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What skills will I learn?
The KS3 Music curriculum aims to give every student the opportunity to develop their creativity through practical music making. Emphasis is given to collaborative group work through performing together. Students learn about a broad range of styles, genres and traditions to develop both cultural awareness and a general appreciation of music.
GCSE Music is designed to be accessible to all students who have a broad interest in music. Candidates should have some experience of playing a musical instrument or voice, with at least a Grade 4 standard reached by the end of the course. Students will build on the work covered in Years 7-9 and further develop their skills in performance and composition, as well as study a wide variety of music from different genres, including Classical, popular and World Music styles.
For advanced students choosing to study at A level or IB Music, as well as listening to a wide variety of music to develop a more informed appreciation of how and why it was written, you will continue to develop skills as a performer on an instrument or voice. Students will also develop skills in composition, including through the study of harmony and counterpoint by J.S Bach. The course is suitable for anyone who has a keen specialist interest in performing, creating and listening to music, and who wishes to broaden their experience and gain an in depth understanding of both classical music and a variety of other styles.
For 6th Form students choosing to study Music Technology A level, students will work regularly in our recording studio, and through practical projects learn recording and production techniques, principles of audio technology and about the development of recording and production technology.
Individual Music Lessons
Many pupils learn a musical instrument and instrumental tuition is available on all standard orchestral and band instruments, as well as singing, piano and guitar. Lessons are taught individually by one of our experienced Visiting Music Teachers. During the course of the year, pupils usually receive thirty 30-minute lessons. It is normally possible to have a free trial to confirm suitability for a particular instrument before committing formally to lessons.Lessons take place during the school day and normally operate on a rotational system in Years 7-9 to ensure pupils do not miss the same academic lesson from week to week. For Years 10-13, lessons are arranged outside academic lesson time. This system is closely monitored and timetables are clearly displayed in the parent portal on the school website, and in the Music Department.
More information about music lessons, together with an application form, can be found: here
Singing is actively encouraged within the Kent College community and students may wish to join one of our successful choirs.
- Kent College Choristers (Junior School and Year 7)
- Jubilate (Years 7-8)
- Sedecim (Years 9-13)
- Senior Choir (Years 10-13)
- Choral Society (Staff, parents, friends and OCs)
The Kent College Choristers have enjoyed a proud record of success in national competitions, most recently as finalists in the Barnado’s National Choir Competition, and as televised finalists in BBC Songs of Praise ‘Junior Choir of the Year’ (2019). The senior chamber choir, Sedecim, give regular concerts in the community and have sung choral Evensong in Winchester and Rochester Cathedrals and were last year finalists in the senior section of the Barnardo’s National choir finals. The lower school choir, Jubilate, performs regularly in school concerts, and in recent years our choirs have toured to Austria, Italy, France, Czech Republic, Estonia and Budapest, Krakow and Venice.
On a larger scale, our school Senior Choir and Choral Society join forces each year for the annual Spring concert, with recent performances including Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ and Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light’, Handel’s ‘Messiah’, ‘Gloria’ by Vivaldi and by John Rutter, and Dan Forrest’s ‘Requiem for the Living’ and Mozart’s Requiem. Members of the Senior Choir, which is open to all students in years 9 - 13, also get the opportunity to sing at the annual Carol Service in the splendid setting of Canterbury Cathedral.
On the Stage
Each year a full scale musical is staged in collaboration with the Drama Department and have included 42nd Street, Grease, Oklahoma and Little Women. A summer open-air opera production is performed at the end of the school year – recent highlights have included Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore, and Iolanthe.
- Full Orchestra
- Concert band
- Jazz band
- String quartets (junior and senior)
- Folk group
- Saxophone ensemble
- Flute groups
- Piano duets
Our orchestra rehearses throughout the year for various events, including a major public performance in the Spring Concert, as well as the lighter-hearted ‘Joy to the World’ Christmas extravaganza. The department also promotes a series of informal Teatime and Lunchtime concerts, and a range of competitions for all musicians. For our Rock and Pop groups, the annual Band Night is always a highlight. Our highest achieving musicians are offered further platforms, including the opportunity to perform as soloists with an orchestra.
Regular trips to concerts are organised each term, including to hear the world class Philharmonia Orchestra at the Marlowe Theatre, Glyndebourne Opera, ENO and annual concerts with the Sixteen Choir and Orchestra. An international tour is organised each year for both the Choristers and members of the Senior Choir.
Workshops are organised each year with leading professional musicians, and have recently included sessions in composition with the Internationally renowned composer Dr Raymond Yiu (Old Canterburian), and plans are in place for an orchestral workshop with the famous english conductor, Stephen Barlow
The next step..
- Most students who have studied A level music have gone on to study Music at either University or an internationally renowned music Conservatoire.
- Currently OCs are studying at Liverpool, York, Birmingham, Royal Holloway (London) universities, and at the Royal College of Music (undergraduate and postgraduate), Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
- Lillie Harris - Composer
- Caitlin Shaughnessy - Academic
- Amelia Webb - Pop Singer (Mimi Webb)
- Sophie Dee - Pianist
- Juian Hubbard - Opera Singer
- Raymond Yiu - International classical composer
Meet the Head of Music
Julian Ross BMus (Hons), PGCE
Julian Ross started his musical education as a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral and later studied the organ with David Saint at the Birmingham Conservatoire, gaining a first class music degree and winning the BMus course prize. Whilst furthering his studies at the University of Durham, he was Organ Scholar at University College, where as well as playing the organ he directed the Chapel Choir. As a singer he has been a Choral Scholar at Lichfield Cathedral, a member of ‘Ex Cathedra’ and currently sings regularly as a Deputy Lay Clerk at Canterbury Cathedral. Prior to taking up his position at Kent College in 2010, he was Director of Music at Arnold School in Blackpool and previously Assistant Director of Music at Blundell's School in Devon. As well as working extensively as a conductor of instrumental and choral groups, he is an experienced teacher of GCSE, A level and IB music, and is proud to have guided many students successfully towards studying music beyond school at leading Universities and Conservatoires.
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