The School of Music sits at the heart of S. Anselm’s and is a major part of school life with over 90% of children playing an instrument and participating in one of the 17 ensembles that rehearse every week.
From Nursery through to the College, all timetabled music lessons are taken by one of our specialist music teachers, and from entering the Prep School, all music lessons take place in the School of Music. Children receive theory tuition as part of their class music lessons as well as having the opportunity of joining extra theory clubs. The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music theory syllabus is adhered to and children are entered for the ABRSM theory exams when they are ready.
The music department, headed up by our Director of Music, Mr Mark Percival, places great importance on instrumental and ensemble learning and performance. As well as the lifelong enjoyment playing an instrument brings, it helps children to develop many personal skills and disciplines.
All main orchestral instruments plus voice are taught by a team of 15 specialist instrumental teachers with lessons rotating on a weekly basis to ensure children do not repeatedly miss the same lessons.
Our children enjoy significant success in their ABRSM practical examinations (which are held in school 3 times a year). Children frequently win music awards to major Public Schools, most recently, Eton, Shrewsbury and Malvern, as well as to S. Anselm’s College.
Facilities include 8 practice rooms which are open from 7.30am to 7.00pm, a purpose built music room/rehearsal room, 240 seater performance hall.
Superb workshops take place throughout the school year to inspire and motivate children, usually involving the whole school during assembly and then allowing different ensembles to study with leading musicians and groups throughout the day. Examples include: Travelling Tuba, Uppingham’s 9.5 A Cappella Group, Classical Guitar Workshop with Mike Baker of the Aquarelle Quartet, Piano specialists from Stowe School, String workshop with Chethams School of Music and Indian Drumming Workshops.
Trips are also taken termly to the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and Sheffield City Hall to experience concerts delivered by the Hallé Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
There is a varied school concert programme, with termly mixed-programme concerts as well as performances of major works, such as Handel’s ‘Messiah’ and the Benjamin Britten ‘St. Nicolas Cantata’. The annual S. Anselm’s piano competition and finalists’ concert sees our pupils compete against children from across Derbyshire and surrounding counties with renowned adjudicators.
Major seasonal services: Harvest, Ash Wednesday, Easter and the Christmas Service of Nine Carols & Lessons, take place in Bakewell Parish Church, to which our children enjoy the beautiful walk down Stanedge Road, very often to the sound of the pealing bells. Towards the end of the Michaelmas Term, our Pre-Prep children and the Nursery stage their own Nativity Productions which involve all the children in these year groups.
As well as our main concert programme, all children who have instrumental lessons have the opportunity to perform in whole school assemblies (twice weekly) and our informal lunchtime concerts that take place each half term.
Listening to music and hymn singing is central to our assemblies, so that all children develop their awareness and fondness for a wide range of music, including traditional hymns, with ‘I Vow to Thee My County’ being a firm favourite plus own anthem and school motto ‘Esse Quam Videri’ composed by our Director of Music.
The S. Anselm’s Chapel Choir has earned widespread recognition for the fine quality of its singing. The choir perform at all school services as well as performing in venues around the area and undertaking European tours. In 2019 the choir visited Vallodolid, Spain. During the five day Tour the choir performed in 4 different stunning venues including the Basilica and Vallodiolid Auditorio to an audience of over 600 people. 2017 the choir visited Prague to perform for the British Ambassador as well as in the magnificent Loretto Cathedral. In 2016, tours included Salzburg, Mondsee and Evensong at University College Oxford.
Ensembles & Clubs
Boys’ a Cappella