College – Issue 40

MUSIC Listen to the music

Drumsticks flying, bass guitars strumming, leads trailing everywhere, and headphones silencing it all – the Music Room is a scene of splendid chaos as the Year 9 hubs set up for action. “Try to keep in time,” teacher Nick Sutcliffe urges, amid the enthusiasm and delight of a class of newbies getting to grips with the joy of making sound. The Year 9 and 10 music hubs are new to College in 2021, part of a range of new musical initiatives by Director of Music Robert Aburn and his department. “With Covid a discordant interruption last year, this year will hopefully allow us to follow our real passion of making music with students, and allow them to follow their vision – classical, big band, rock, choir or whatever,” says Robert. Kicking off the revamp is a reshaping of the junior music programme. “The music hubs involve all Year 9 and 10 students, and have an emphasis on practical music making. So, in groups of five they will be playing electronic drum, bass guitar, lead guitar, keyboards and vocals. “Some implicit musical skills will be taught in the Year 9 programme, which will lead directly into the new College Diploma at Years 10 and 11. The hubs will be integral to the contemporary songwriting

and music performance courses, and allow for both contemporary and classically focused students to work alongside each other in their musical creativity.” At the beginning, they will all be playing the same song, Rod Stewart’s “I am Sailing”, but once they progress they’ll be able to move to music of their own choice. Robert’s also excited to have two Year 12–13 classes this year, focusing on a mix of classical and contemporary genres, attracting many of the boys who previously took the contemporary rock music course. Being back in the Music department full-time allows Robert to strengthen College’s four core music programmes – choral, chamber, jazz/Big Band, and contemporary music (pop and rock).

Four chamber music groups are already underway and there are another five to come. The overall focus in Term 1 was on the Music Scholars’ Recital, held on 17 March, a solo recital in which each scholar presented a work to show his innate musical skills. Members of the choir were also involved in the civic ceremony at the Peace Bell memorial to the victims of the Japanese tsunami on 11 March. The enthusiasm for music making at College can be measured by the numbers. For example, 36 boys in Year 9 are involved in the rock programme, and 140 boys are taking instrumental and voice lessons. “One of the satisfying things about music is seeing those who have never before participated in any form of music, suddenly discover

the joy and the challenge of producing sound,” he says.

Christ’s College Canterbury


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