A balance of inclusion with excellence open to all.
The Worth Music department is a busy one and concerts and recitals happen regularly throughout the year, with the sublime acoustic of Worth Abbey providing an inspirational space for our gala concerts. The magnificent Whitehead Room provides a beautiful and intimate venue for chamber and solo concerts. Major choral services in the Abbey Church such as the Christmas Carol Service in the Autumn Term and Tenebrae in the Lent Term receive capacity congregations. House singing and Musician of the Year competitions take place each year and there are popular termly open-mic events giving rock and pop musicians a platform to perform. The department hosts masterclasses throughout the year, giving performers the opportunity to work with leading professional musicians.
Singing is important at Worth and the school community comes together weekly to sing congregationally in services in the inspiring surroundings of Worth Abbey led by one of our several choirs. A hallmark of our main school choir, the Worth Schola Cantorum, is that it is open to all without a requirement to audition but, once members, pupils are expected to be committed, inspiring loyalty, confidence and an appreciation of excellence. The most experienced singers sing by audition in our Chamber Choir. Our choirs sing at school services at Worth Abbey and annually at cathedrals both in the UK and abroad, including the Sistine Chapel. Singing does not just flourish in sacred music – there are also opportunities for our pupils to sing a cappella in jazz, pop and contemporary styles. Worth musicians are regularly members of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and our alumni include a number of professional singers and choral conductors.
Instrumental musicians have a wealth of opportunities and each year the Music department adapts the instrumental and vocal groups that are on offer to take into account the strengths and interests of the pupils. Orchestral musicians can play in the thriving 50-plus strong Symphony Orchestra which includes many pupils at Grade 8 standard or beyond. There are also many instrumental groups which focus on particular instrumental disciplines (such as Camerata, our String Orchestra), a wealth of chamber groups (from Brass to Clarinet, Saxophone and String groups) or pupils can form their own student-led groups which the department supports with coaching. The department also runs a Jazz Band and Concert Band which perform regularly.
Rock and pop musicians flourish through our termly ‘Live Lounge’ open mic events held in the Performing Arts Centre where they have the opportunity to perform to their peers in a supportive environment and with professional sound and lighting design. They also benefit from regular coaching sessions as an activity and Music Technology is offered as a popular activity, and is available in one-to-one lessons and at A Level.
Classroom music is taught throughout Years 7 and 8, involving a broad mixture of listening, playing and composing in a diverse range of musical styles. The emphasis is on undertaking practical tasks as a means of learning theory, to make the course as lively and engaging as possible. From Year 9 pupils opt to study music and they regularly use music technology (Soundtrap, Logic and Sibelius) and carry out composition tasks related to the areas of music studied as a means of putting the theory learned into practice and gaining valuable composing experience for the GCSE course. At A Level Worth offers courses for both Music (Eduqas) and Music Technology (Edexcel). Pupils at this level are encouraged to develop their own areas of musical interest to the highest degree, whether as performers, composers or as potential academic musicians. The use of music technology is embedded across the entire work up to and including A Level. The department has two IT suites and a recording studio.
Departmental facilities include a suite of practice rooms, a recording studio with soundproofed live room, the Coleburt Room which is the department’s main rehearsal space and a well-equipped lower school classroom, a second IT suite and a GCSE/A Level seminar room. Our practice rooms are open to boarders in the evenings. Kawai and Yamaha grand pianos are located in the Coleburt Room and Whitehead Room. Our two main venues for concerts are Worth Abbey and the Whitehead Room. We use the Performing Arts Centre theatre for rock and pop events, and for musical collaborations with the Drama department.
There is a wonderful amount of enthusiasm within the pupil body to make music here.