Brentwood School is proud of its musical reputation sustained by five members of staff and supported by over twenty visiting music specialist instrumental teachers.
There are two orchestras, a String Orchestra, Choirs, Chamber Ensembles and Barbershop groups catering for a wide range of abilities and providing many opportunities to perform regularly in concerts. The world famous Brentwood School Big Band has established a reputation over many years of providing high-quality jazz and ensemble playing raising thousands of pounds for charity every year.
Recent tours in Europe have seen memorable performances being given in such venues as Salzburg Cathedral, the Piazza del Campo Siena, Prague, Bavaria and Slovenia.
We aim to enthuse all our pupils with a range of musical opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom: it starts with older students seeking out younger ones to participate in ‘House Music’, the first musical event of the year.
From their first few days in school, students are immersed in an environment where a ‘can do’ and 'get involved' ethos permeates everything that they do. In the classroom, they are introduced to a curriculum that gives them the opportunity to develop the skills of accomplished musicians, while at the same time encouraging and supporting those with less confidence.
First and Second Form pupils have ample chances to compose, perform, record and enjoy all the ensemble opportunities that music-making in a class situation affords. In Year Three, those who opt for music prepare for GCSE year, using film music as a stimulus for composition. They enjoy experimenting with different timbres and textures as they get more proficient with Sibelius composition computer software.
GCSE and A Level pupils develop all the skills of practical performance and theoretical music-making that will prepare them for Music degree courses at university or conservatoire.
For many of our students, music becomes a way of life; they settle into a department that offers a multitude of different ensembles catering for every need. Some have been established over many years, such as the School Symphony Orchestra, Big Band, Choir and Choral Society. Others are more recent to cater for the specific needs of pupils, such as the boys of the Junior Barbershop who ‘just wanted to sing’. Musicals are a regular occurrence at our ‘Winter Theatricals’ and enable pupils to come together and work with different disciplines.
We expect to see evidence of attainment not less than Grade 4 in the main instrument offered. We will also be interested to read of other instruments played (or classical singing/theory exams taken). To avoid disappointment, candidates who do not meet these criteria are advised not to apply.
All those who have reached the required standard will be invited to attend and bring their instrument(s) to a Music Scholarship Workshop join in various musical activities. Refreshments will be provided. From this Workshop a shortlist of between four and 10 candidates will be produced.
The successful shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a Formal Music Audition lasting approximately 30 minutes. Auditions will involve solo performing on all instruments offered, to read at sight and take aural tests, and to answer questions on general musical matters. There is a panel of three adjudicators, comprising the Director of Music and two other members of the Music Department. Although this is a formal test, candidates need not be concerned: the atmosphere is informal and relaxed, with plenty of opportunity for chat and discussion.
Successful candidates will also need to have performed very well in the Entrance Examination in January.