Close to 200 young children from prep and primary schools assembled at Oundle School to enjoy a day of musical experiences and specialist teaching.
Workshop leaders included David Milsted (Head of Woodwind and Percussion), Adele Hudson (Head of Brass and Guitar) and Angus Gibbon (Head of Strings and Alexander Technique) along with supporting music teachers from Oundle School’s Music Department.
Director of Music, Quentin Thomas commented, “With large numbers of musicians comes greater opportunity, and it was a joy to hear youngsters tackle larger ensemble playing, developing their sight-reading, new approaches and ways of thinking about technique, as well as enjoying the camaraderie of making new friends amongst larger social groups. This year we added a taste of Alexander Technique for some of the participants and their accompanying teachers – something we are passionate about and keen to share because a good posture can fuel a lifetime of good health whilst lying central to developing excellence in practical technique.”
As the brass worked in the Great Hall complex, the strings filled the Chapel and the woodwind group rehearsed in the recently refurbished Gascoigne Building, home to the Oundle Music department. Four concerts held during the day encompassed great diversity, with every visiting pupil able to perform something that had been prepared during the course of the day.
Highlights included renditions from massed strings, with seventy of Oundle’s pupils supporting visiting string players, demonstrations on woodwind instruments (including the popular bagpipes), performances from staff, Oundle School smaller ensembles, and a play-through of much-loved numbers (such as Jurassic Park) with strings and woodwind combined.
Pupils came from the following schools: Beachborough, Beeston Hall, Bilton Grange, Copthill, Kettering School, Kingscliffe Primary, Laxton Junior School, Monks Risborough, Oundle Primary School, St Faiths, St Hilda’s, Spratton Hall, Stoneygate, Warmington Primary and York House.
Feedback from participating schools:
All the children from our school had a wonderful day. Because we come from such a distance, before the day I wasn’t sure how viable it would be to come again. However, I can honestly say it is one of the best music days of the kind I have taken pupils to. They loved being introduced to all the instruments in the woodwind family and being able to try them out made most of my children’s day! They were all buzzing when we came home. From my perspective I also loved the ensembles performing to the pupils at lunchtime as I think, coming from a prep school this is such a lovely opportunity for them see what they might be involved in in the future.
Miss Lizzie Hull, Director of Music, York House
The children who participated all had a wonderful day; thank you for extending the invitation to our school.
Oundle’s Music Facilities and Partnerships
Oundle School’s Music Department is recognised as being one of the best among the top Independent Schools in the UK. Music facilities are excellent and the music school is housed in a handsome Georgian building with a range of practice and teaching rooms, music library, technology suite and recording studio.
The partnership with Yamaha offers a fleet of first-class pianos across the entire School. The Chapel boasts two organs – the world renowned Frobenius Organ and a larger romantic, Copeman Hart organ. The Great Hall has a Steinway D grand piano and the School also has a 2 manual harpsichord and practice organ.
A partnership between the School and The Royal College of Music was launched in January 2012. The aim of this unique partnership - Oundle School is the only UK school to have such an agreement - is to give to musically talented pupils opportunities to work with, and learn from, the many eminent professors and their students from the RCM through carefully planned joint events such as concerts, Masterclasses and, for exceptional pupils, individual consultation lessons.
Oundle School’s reputation for Music attracts many talented pupils and we are delighted that we can offer those with aspirations to perform at a professional level very valuable long-term coaching and guidance about how to be playing at Conservatoire standard by the time they are in their Upper Sixth year.
Concerto opportunities, solo performance experiences, tours (such as to Hong Kong, France, Italy, Barbados, Ireland, USA, Austria, Germany), recordings and a plethora of concerts (many in prestigious concert halls such as Birmingham Symphony Hall, St John’s Smith Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey) are constantly evolving projects, ensuring that a live, vibrant and stimulating environment pervades across our department.
Choral, Instrumental and Organ Scholarships at Oundle School are available at 11+, 13+ and 16+. For further details contact the Director of Music, Quentin Thomas on 01832 277132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11.