Writing: Flo Copp (Year 13) and Laura Webster (Year 13)
Photography: Raphael Darly (Year 8) and Isaac Shenoy (Year 13)
Recording: Ollie Ensor (Year 10) and Cameron Robey (Year 12)
Editing: Cameron Robey (Year 12)
Music at Challoner’s is a vibrant part of the school community, enabling students to explore the subject both academically and beyond the curriculum. In Years 7 to 9, boys all take Music in their form groups and in the older years, many students choose to take Music as one of their subjects at GCSE and A Level. Outside the classroom, there are many opportunities for students of all abilities; from jazz groups to choirs, composing to performing, there’s something for everyone.
Mr Tansley, Team Leader for Music, is determined to create a legacy that follows on from that of Ian Hooker (the long-serving previous head of department). In this pursuit Mr Tansley, Miss Gee and the rest of the visiting music teachers have worked hard to open up the department to any student who wants to get involved. Not only does this include letting students use the facilities at school to pursue their own projects and enjoy music in their free time, but it also involves supporting the existing musicians who lead their own groups.
Zach Yarrow, currently in Year 13, has been able to appreciate this support in his running of the Sixth Form Chamber Choir, which he set up last year. Some of the highlights of this exciting new group, which showcases the ability of the boys and girls in the Sixth Form, have included performances in the Christmas Carol Service and on Founder’s Day, alongside other music groups run by teachers. These other groups involve students of all ages, regardless of their musical background, and cover a wide range of musical styles.
To showcase the talent of the musicians at Challoner’s, the Music Team organise a number of performances throughout the year. Ben, a current Year 8 student, told us in his interview how much he enjoyed these aspects of Music at Challoner's, and I think it’s safe to say the students watching these events enjoy them too! Every half term, there are music assemblies for all the year groups and not only do these let the spectating students see the breadth of Music at Challoner's, but they also encourage more students to join in with music at school.
As well as through playing, the Music Team have been keen to let students approach the topic in other ways. A key factor in this has been embracing new technology, such as recording equipment that has been used so the students can share their music on a wider platform, as well as analyse and learn from their own performances. Furthermore, the technology has meant students can produce music and take a more behind-the-scenes approach. There are also plenty of composition opportunities, particularly through the introduction of iPads for the lower school.
Overall, Music at Challoner’s is a lively and welcoming addition to school life and it’s amazing to see how much the students progress, from the whole year performance at the end of Year 7 to the high-ability groups the school is proud to lead further up the school. It is a credit to the Music Team that they dedicate themselves to providing so many contact hours for the students, as well as ensuring that their many interests are catered for. With the refurbishment of the Music area taking place over the coming year, we look forward to seeing even greater opportunities in the near future.