Music plays a very important part in life at Shiplake College. We are proud to offer ‘music for all’. In addition to a vibrant academic department, the College provides an abundance of co-curricular opportunities, allowing many pupils to place music at the heart of their Shiplake experience.
A modern, purpose-built Music School is housed in the College’s state-of-the-art John Turner Building. This provides first-class facilities, fit to serve our talented musicians. The department includes a fully-equipped recording studio, seven practice rooms and two ensemble classrooms. Furthermore, a new Lecture Theatre, complete with a Baby Grand Piano, provides the perfect platform for intimate musical recitals and concerts. The most popular musical events will continue to take place in the Great Hall or Sports Hall, to accommodate larger audiences.
A recent fundraising appeal has helped to raise funds to purchase additional instruments for the department. Over £12,000 was pledged by parents, staff and friends of the College to provide the best possible resources for pupils to enjoy.
Our ‘music for all’ policy allows every pupil in Years 7 and 8 to enjoy free lessons on a range of orchestral instruments, with all achieving Grade 1 by the end of Year 8. Upon joining the College in Year 7, the boys are all immediately entered into our Lower School Orchestra. Some play in their first concert just weeks after picking up an instrument! The entire College community also enjoy regular music-making opportunities with the annual Battle of the Bands and House Singing competitions.
The College has recently introduced the role of Music Captains, with the first ‘octave’ appointed in early 2014. The captains play a leading role in the musical life of Shiplake, helping to organise events and coordinate the various ensembles which take part.
There are a wide variety of co-curricular ensembles on offer; ranging from the auditioned Chamber Choir to the fully inclusive Rock Choir and from the selective Soul Band to the comprehensive Lower School Orchestra. Music also plays a leading role in Assemblies and Chapel services throughout the year and all students take part in weekly Hymn Practice which is often led by the Headmaster.
All groups take advantage of regular opportunities to perform in high profile events dotted across the College calendar. Prestigious concerts and gigs take place throughout the year both within College and externally, often in collaboration with neighbouring schools.
Professional musicians frequently visit the College offering demonstrations and master-classes, while students are often taken on trips to concerts in the local area and in London. Many pupils also take individual instrumental and vocal lessons from our dedicated team of peripatetic musicians.
Exceptional pupils will be eligible for awards, to recognise and celebrate their commitment and level of accomplishment. The awards available will be a Colours Blazer, Full Colours, and Half Colours.