Co-Curricular

Music

Director of Music: Mr J Mann MA (Oxon) PGCE
Email: john.mann@epsomcollege.edu.my

Music

Music plays an important role in the life of the College, and whether it is through academic pursuits or extra-curricular ones, a high proportion of pupils spend time in the Music Department each week.

The Department itself is well equipped with 20 practice rooms, many of which house Steinway Essex upright pianos, a professionally sound-proofed Recording Studio, two classrooms (one of which contains a suite of iMacs) and a plethora of musical instruments on which pupils are welcome to make responsible use.

There are many opportunities for pupils to enjoy making music at Epsom. These range from the wide variety of co-curricular activities available each week, to the regular and frequent programme of concerts available to participate in or listen to, to academic lessons and private instrumental tuition, trips and tours.

The Music Department strives to create an atmosphere of inclusion and enjoyment whilst striving for excellence in all that is achieved. Pupils flourish in the Department, taking opportunities to stretch and challenge themselves, all the while with a focus on improving not just the musician, but the person behind the music as well.

Click here to know more about Lessons Policy and Appendix.

Curriculum

Music is a compulsory subject up to Key Stage 3. From Year 3, pupils receive two music lessons per week as part of the curriculum. Please note that private instrumental music lessons, which are 1:1 lessons to study an instrument, do not comprise a part of the academic curriculum for music and are optional (further details below).

Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 - (Reception to Year 2)
Pupils in this age range will receive one specialist music lesson per week and explore how sounds are made with different types of instruments. They will also improve their sense of intonation and pitch through singing, as well as a sense of pulse and rhythm. Year 2 will be introduced to basic musical notation principles.

Key Stage 2 - (Year 3 to Year 6)
Pupils receive two lessons per week and curriculum music lessons are spent learning on instruments. These lessons are referred to as the Prep Instrumental Programme, the aim of which is to develop proficiency in performing music on an instrument. Time is also dedicated in these lessons to develop and improve pupils’ understanding of music theory and aural awareness.

Year 3 pupils spend half a term on each the flute, violin and cello in music lessons with specialist musicians to teach them in small groups. Before the end of the year they choose an instrument to continue with into Year 4.

Years 4, 5 and 6 build on the basic instrumental skills they have already acquired in Year 3. Opportunities to perform in public are available, and many pupils in these Year groups choose to rent an instrument from the school or buy their own to practice with. Pupils and parents are encouraged to take the chance to acquire professional recognition of development by taking ABRSM Music exams (at a small extra cost) in April of each academic year. These are internationally recognised qualifications that we highly recommend pupils taking.

Music

Key Stage 3
Years 7, 8 and 9 have a very practical scheme of work in their two lessons per week. They can expect to play a variety of instruments from group percussion to rock instruments, to classical instruments and the keyboard. The focus in this key stage is to develop aural and notation skills, along with historical and cultural awareness in preparation for the requirements of the rigorous Key Stage 4 GCSE course. Pupils are also encouraged to improve their social and creative skills through group composition and performance. Regardless of whether or not they take instrumental lessons, all pupils will perform in front of an audience outside the classroom during the academic year.

Key Stage 4
Edexcel GCSE Music is the syllabus we run for Years 10 and 11. The course is split into three categories:

  1. Performance (30%) - pupils must give a solo performance and ensemble performance lasting a combined total of no less than 4 minutes.
  2. Composition (30%) - pupils must compose two pieces, one from their own ideas and one from a stimulus provided by the exam board. These should last a combined total of no less than 3 minutes.
  3. Listening and Appreciation (40%) - this is assessed in the form of a 1hr and 45 min exam in May of Year 11. It comprises 9 questions, of which 1 is an essay, 1 is a dictation question, 1 is analysis of a previously unheard piece and 6 questions about any of the following set works:
    • Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D, Mvt III
    • Beethoven - Pathetique Sonata in C minor, Mvt I
    • Purcell - Music for a While
    • Queen - Killer Queen
    • Schwartz - Defying Gravity (from the musical Wicked!)
    • Williams - Main Title Theme from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
    • Afro Celt Sound System - Release
    • Esperanza Spalding - Samba Em Preludio

Key Stage 5
Edexcel A Level Music is the syllabus we run for Years 12 and 13. The course is split into three categories:

  1. Performance (30%) - pupils must give a recital of no fewer than 8 minutes (pauses and breaks between pieces do not count towards the overall time) in front of an audience of at least 2 people. This can be any repertoire that of their choosing of Grade 7 ABRSM standard or above. Recordings are made in March of Year 13.
  2. Composition (30%) - this is assessed through coursework created in the year of examination. Pupils must submit one Free Composition (40 marks) lasting at least 4 minutes, and one Brief Technique (20 marks) in the form of a Bach Chorale lasting at least 1 minute. Both compositions combined must be at least 6 minutes.
  3. Listening and Appreciation (40%) - this is assessed in the form of a 2 hour exam in Term 3 of Year 13. It comprises 6 questions, of which the first three are listening questions based on any of the set works studied from the course, one dictation question, one essay question on an unseen extract of music and one essay question based on a set work:
    • Vocal Music
      • J. S. Bach, Cantata, Ein feste Burg, BWV 80: Movements 1, 2, 8
      • Mozart, The Magic Flute: Excerpts from Act I no. 4 (Queen of the Night), 5 (Quintet)
      • Vaughan Williams, On Wenlock Edge: Nos. 1, 3 and 5 (On Wenlock Edge, Is my team ploughing? and Bredon Hill)
    • Instrumental Music
      • Vivaldi, Concerto in D minor, Op. 3 No. 11
      • MClara Wieck-Schumann, Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17: movement 1
      • Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique: Movement I
    • Music for Film
      • Danny Elfman, Batman Returns: Main theme (Birth of a Penguin Part II), Birth of a Penguin Part I, Rise and fall from grace, and Batman vs the Circus
      • Rachel Portman, The Duchess: The Duchess and End titles, Mistake of your life, Six years later, and Never see your children again
      • Bernard Herrmann, Psycho: Prelude, The City, Marion, The Murder (Shower Scene), The Toys, The Cellar, Discovery, Finale
    • Popular Music and Jazz
      • Courtney Pine, Back in the Day: Inner state (of mind), Lady Day and (John Coltrane), and Love and affection
      • Kate Bush, Hounds of Love: Cloudbusting, And dream of sheep, and Under ice
      • Beatles, Revolver: Eleanor Rigby, Here, there and everywhere, I want to tell you, and Tomorrow never knows
    • Fusions
      • Debussy, Estampes: Nos. 1 and 2 (Pagodes and La soirée dans Grenade)
      • Familia Valera Miranda, Caña Quema: Alla vá candela and Se quema la chumbambà
      • Anoushka Shankar, Breathing Under Water: Burn, Breathing Under Water and Easy
    • New Directions
      • Cage, Three Dances for two prepared pianos: No. 1
      • Kaija Saariaho, Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics
      • Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring: Introduction, The Augurs of Spring, and Ritual of Abduction
Co-curricular Activities

Pupils enjoy making music as part of the rich programme of CCAs on offer, and it is in these times that pupils have time to engage in personal practice, engage in communal and group music making and work towards long term projects such as repertoire for concerts and tours.

Music

Prep CCAs
The Prep School enjoys the following CCAs each week:

  • Junior Choir -
    this is for Years 1 and 2 who, under the guidance of the Director of Music, learn songs that are relevant to the curriculum, holistic development and are performed in termly Prep Recitals.
  • Senior Choir -
    this is for Years 1 and 2 who, under the guidance of the Director of Music, learn songs that are relevant to the curriculum, holistic development and are performed in termly Prep Recitals.
  • Elite Strings -
    this is for pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 who have shown a potential for excellence, either in individual lessons or as part of the Prep Instrumental Programme, to be stretched with more challenging setting. Sessions are delivered by a strings specialist.
  • Rock Shop -
    for pupils in Year 4, 5 and 6 who would like to enjoy the thrill of playing in a Rock Band! This is put together by one of our visiting Music Teachers who will help pupils put together one or two songs per term, or even a short set if they are proper rockers.

College CCAs

  • Orchestra -
    open to all ages and abilities, this activity provides opportunities for instrumentalists to perform as part of a large ensemble and in smaller groups as part of sectional rehearsals. The orchestra performs in termly concerts and enjoys a mix of repertoire ranging from film music, to pop classics and more serious Classical music. Those pupils that are taking Private Instrumental Tuition on an orchestral instrument will automatically be signed up to this activity.
  • Carr-Wilson Orchestra -
    this is a Key Stage 3 orchestra welcoming all instruments and abilities for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9. The music selected has a huge focus on being entertaining and fun; parts are specially written for pupils to aid progression - making it challenging but accessible is key. This group performs in termly concerts and has in recent years enjoyed excursions too.
  • College Choir -
    the College Choir is becoming a jewel in the crown of music making at Epsom. Whilst the group strives to achieve an excellent quality of sound in performance, all pupils are warmly invited to take part in this ensemble where enjoyment of making music and singing in harmony is the order of the day. Repertoire is always secular, and ranges from music heard in the Top 40 Charts to capella arrangements of traditional folk songs and even Disney!
  • Music Theory Club -
    an opportunity for those pupils wishing to embark on Grade 5 ABRSM Music Theory (a necessary qualification to gain in order to progress to Grades 6+ in instrument exams with ABRSM) to gain specialised help and preparation for this important exam in a budding musician’s life.
  • Rock Band -
    a chance for those pupils that wish to try out or continue working on a Rock Instrument to play in a band with others under the expert guidance of our visiting specialist. Performance opportunities for this group are frequent throughout the year with student open mic nights such as Propert Music Night and Granville Entertains. Pupils of all ages and abilities are welcome.
  • Music Technology Club -
    a chance for those interested in learning how to mix their own dance tracks, pop songs or create their own album, using Logic Pro in our purpose built Recording Studio and Mac Suite. Projects are pupil-led but guided under the expert eye of the Assistant Director of Music..
  • Private Practice -
    this is an opportunity for those of our most able and talented pupils to spend CCA time working on making personal progress on an instrument. Taking this CCA requires the specific consent of the Director of Music and is envisaged to be taken by those pupils that are highly committed to making music in the Department and are amongst our most excellent musicians.
Concerts and Events

Music

Concerts are a regular occurrence at Epsom College in Malaysia. We have a number of formats including:

  • Sunset Serenades -
    these are charming occasions held on the veranda of the Performing Arts’ 2nd floor: music from our pupils floating serenely through the halls is accompanied by the natural beauty of a sunset. These concerts often feature our most talented and able soloists and ensembles. Seats for these are limited so arrive early to guarantee your place!
  • Lunchtime Lives -
    this concert series provides a platform for our less experienced musicians to perform in public. Audiences are warm and welcoming, and participation is the key regardless of ability or prowess.
  • End of Term Concerts -
    as the name suggests, these take place at the end of each term resulting in three per year. These are the concerts at which our CCA ensembles perform alongside a number of soloists and, often unusual and creative performances by some of our A Level and GCSE pupils.
  • The Grand Orchestral Concert -
    this has become an annual tradition whereby the school’s orchestra, bolstered by guest instrumentalists from local schools and charities, come together to perform highly revered great classical repertoire. In recent years, the orchestra has tackled Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, as well as a selection of solo and concerto pieces with our own pupils as soloists.
  • Culture Club -
    the Department aims to regularly broaden the perspective of our pupils of all ages by organising trips to see concerts given by professional orchestras whenever possible and appropriate. These most often include the MPO in KLCC.
Private Instrumental Lessons

Instrumental Music Lessons are an integral part of any successful music department; this is the arena in which pupils are able to extend and develop their musicianship and instrumental skills with meaningful, expert instruction and guidance in a one-to-one or two-to-one setting. Epsom College in Malaysia is proud to have a team of dedicated and experience Visiting Music Teachers [VMTs] who contribute greatly to the department’s music making and provide an invaluable service to our pupils.

The Music Department is proud to offer Private Instrumental Lessons in the following disciplines:

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Piano
  • Flute
  • Saxophone
  • Clarinet
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Singing (pop and classical)
  • Drum kit and percussion
  • Classical Guitar
  • Electric Guitar
  • Bass Guitar

Instrumental Music Lessons are billed at the start of each term alongside the School Bill. Lessons cost RM70 for 30 minutes with a VMT per person per instrument. Lessons are billed at RM700 per term for 10 lessons.

The Music Department is well stocked with instruments and so, subject to availability, it may be possible to rent an instrument from the department for a limited time if children wish to try out an instrument with a series of lessons before fully committing to it. Please contact the Director of Music for such requests.

To set up instrumental lessons please email the Assistant Director of Music, Mr Russell Crann at russell.crann@epsomcollege.edu.my

A copy of our Instrumental Music Lessons Policy can be downloaded here.

Music Scholarships and Exhibitions

Epsom College in Malaysia's music awards are only available for entry into years 7, 9 and 12. The entry criteria and the value of Epsom College in Malaysia's music awards are as follows:


Year 7 Entry

Scholarship
At least grade 5 on the principal instrument of study and grade 3 on another instrument. All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music; up to 3 instruments or 2 instruments and voice.

Exhibition
At least grade 5 on the principal instrument of study and grade 3 on another instrument. All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music for 1 instrument.


Year 9 Entry

Scholarship
At least grade 7 on the principal instrument of study and grade 5 on another instrument. All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music; up to 3 instruments or 2 instruments and voice.

Exhibition
At least grade 7 on the principal instrument of study and grade 5 on another instrument. Value of the award: All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music for 1 instrument.


Year 12 Entry

Scholarship
At least grade 8 on the principal instrument of study, grade 6 on another instrument and grade 5 theory. All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music; up to 3 instruments or 2 instruments and voice.

Exhibition
At least grade 8 on the principal instrument of study, grade 6 on another instrument and grade 5 theory. All music tuition fees authorised by ECiM's Director of Music for 2 instruments.


All award holders will be members of ECiM's ensembles as agreed by the Director of Music in consultation with the pupil's parents and Housemaster/mistress. The awards will be reviewed annually and may be withdrawn if satisfactory progress, as judged by the Director of Music, is not evident.