The Music Department is a positive, encouraging environment which consists of 5 full-time and 28 visiting specialist instrumental teachers.
Teachers aim to give 30 lessons through the year, consisting of 12 lessons in the Autumn Term and 18 spread across the Spring and Summer Terms. Lessons are usually of half hour length but can be tailored to meet an individual’s needs, e.g. 45 minutes or an hour at the request of the pupil and her parents, or on the advice of the teacher.
It is our preference to establish fixed times for music lessons, but in the first three years, this isn’t always possible due to timetable restraints. However, when part of the rota system, only half of an academic lesson is missed, and the same subject is only affected every six weeks.
Lunchtime and Coffee Concerts
There are performance opportunities in the Friday Lunchtime Concert series and students are encouraged to take part in these by mutual agreement with their teachers. Parents are warmly invited to attend, and all concerts are made available to listen to on the Parent Portal shortly afterwards. For more advanced students approaching higher grade exams, or larger groups, such as those involved in class compositions, Coffee Concerts held in morning break are a popular option.
Each term there are large numbers of ABRSM Exam entries, and Trinity Exams are also held once or twice each year. The School Accompanist is available to rehearse and perform for all exams and concerts as well as simply to explore new pieces with those who wish to try new repertoire.
Breakfast Practice Club
The daily Breakfast Practice Club (with food delivered to the Department) suits early risers, enabling them to get around 45 minutes of practice under their belt before morning Prayers. On three days a week, there are supervised sessions in the evenings for younger girls.
The most important thing for pupils and parents to remember is that whilst the Music Department does everything it can to support and encourage girls to practise, there is no substitute for consistent commitment from the individual. Some of our most advanced musicians are also accomplished in other fields and so time is limited. Though longer sessions can be found in the week, making the most of 20 minutes at break time to work on a particular few bars can be really productive.
It is often assumed that there is an advantage to getting lots of exam grades under the belt before coming to Benenden. We are delighted to recognise pupils’ achievements before they come to us, but actually of more benefit than exam certificates is when girls arrive with solid technique and reasonable theoretical understanding, as well, of course, as enthusiasm! Guidance for levels for prospective Scholars can be found in the Music Scholarship section.
Starting music lessons
Notice to start and cease music lessons should be sent to the Music Administrator. Requests to start lessons can often be processed very quickly. In the event of a pupil wishing to stop music lessons, a term’s notice must be given, either from full term to full term or from half term to half term. Lessons are billed in advance, except in the case of new girls whose first term of music tuition is billed in arrears.