Music - Durston House

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The Music Department at Durston House is a vibrant and stimulating environment, providing a wide range of opportunities for creative development within the curricular and co-curricular life of the school.

All lessons are taught by specialist music teachers. Music lessons are practical in nature and provide enjoyable musical experiences through listening, composing, performing and appraising. Singing lies at the heart of our Music provision. The Kodály method of music education and Solfège are used for teaching both basic and advanced musical skills. Throughout their time at Durston House, boys can choose to be involved in a number of different co-curricular groups and individual instrumental lessons, catering for all levels of experience and abilities. The most advanced musicians are encouraged to apply for Music Scholarships to their chosen Senior Schools.

  • Orchestra

    The Orchestra is an integral, thriving part of the cultural life of Durston House, and is much valued. As well as providing the boys with a vital educational opportunity to show how capable they are, it adds colour and flavour to assemblies and other school events. The Final Assembly, at the end of each term, is always opened by the Orchestra. Performance at the School Concert, in front of the whole Durston community, is the occasion for which boys and Music staff work so very hard to prepare. The Orchestra’s repertoire is varied; the boys are as much at home with Schubert’s Serenade as they are with a more contemporary work such as Chariots of Fire, by Vangelis. Talent is always on show and we marvel at what they are able to achieve.

    Any orchestra is a complex mix of instruments within the different sections of the ensemble, each one playing its part in the creation of a unified musical sound. For boys of differing ages, musical experience and ability, being a part of an orchestra is a great challenge, perhaps one of the most difficult things they are called to be involved in. At Durston, the Music Department positively encourages all instrumentalists to audition to join and arranges weekly rehearsals, in which boys are trained to work as a team, whilst continuing to develop their own musical skills. They must be committed and learn to work in a disciplined manner, if they are to maintain the tempo and shape the complete sound. The Music staff exemplify for the boys the qualities of self-discipline and perseverance in their whole-hearted commitment to the musical life of the boys and their thorough enjoyment of music for its own sake. Their continued work, to develop the Orchestra and its quality of performance, is testimony to this.


  • Choirs

    Durston House is very proud of its Choirs, the Junior Choir (Years 3-4) and the Senior Choir (Years 5-8). Both choirs play a prominent role in the musical and cultural life of the school, performing at each of the three major school events, the Carol Service, the School Concert, and Prize Day, as well as at Assemblies and other school gatherings. The quality of their performances is much appreciated by the whole school community, and draws large numbers of parents and friends to each occasion.

    Both choirs are led by a member of the Music Department. They rehearse twice weekly, early in the morning, requiring real commitment from the boys, who will have auditioned for a place in the choir at the beginning of the school year. Effective planning and meticulous musical guidance from staff ensure that the boys develop singing skills, team work and discipline.

    The choirs sing in parts, from a range of genres, mixing traditional choral work with music from a range of cultures or from more contemporary styles of pop and rock. The boys seem as much at home with the South African freedom song, Bawo Thixo Somandla, as they are with John Tavener’s The Lord’s Prayer. Many bring to bear their own musical experience of learning instruments, coupled with musical theory that is learnt in class, to demonstrate a real understanding of what they are singing. Talent is obvious, and the very best are invited to sing solo parts, where appropriate. The solo part for Once in Royal David’s City is always much sought after by the boys, and a delight for those who attend the candlelit service before Christmas.

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