All specialist music tuition is taught by music staff working in the Preparatory and Pre-Preparatory Schools. We are very pleased that we now have the Carducci Quartet who are resident at Dean Close School and teaching in the Pre-Preparatory School.
Many children are able to discover their love of music at an early age and enjoy being able to perform in our informal concerts throughout the school year.
Piano lessons are given on an individual basis for 30 minutes a week. In the lessons pupils discover the basic fundamental elements of music – pitch and rhythm skills, note reading, knowledge of musical terms and signs – and, most importantly, develop a natural love of music through the hands-on enjoyable experience of playing.
The lessons are structured towards preparing pupils for examination goals with the Associated Board of Music, as well as playing other pieces for fun, which develop or consolidate particular techniques.
Pupils are expected to practise on a regular basis if significant improvement and progress are to be made – little and often is best. Parents are also encouraged to come along to beginner lessons to encourage and ensure their son/daughter practises correctly. Practice is a discipline which, for most, is an effort at times and needs encouraging; however, as a result it instils a pupil’s self-motivation, self-worth and self-esteem.
VIOLIN, VIOLA AND CELLO TUITION
Learning the violin, viola and cello in the Pre-Prep is a fantastic introduction to music and learning an instrument. Participating in music is scientifically proven to help with co-ordination, concentration, memory, Maths, English, confidence, musicianship, social interaction, etc. Year Two is an ideal age to start (with certain Year One pupils also being suitable). A violin is virtually the only instrument available in small sizes and is perfect for young people.
Starting at a young age is a great advantage as pupils have time to practise and establish a routine needed to achieve a high level later on. Progress is entirely dependent on how much practice is achieved. It is essential that parents are able to attend most (if not all) lessons with their child to help them play every day at home, explaining what the teacher has said… no, you don’t have to be able to play anything, just to understand the language and be enthusiastic!
PRE-PREP ORCHESTRA – SQUIRREL STRINGS
In the Pre-Prep we have a Strings Group -known as the School orchestra. It gives the children the fabulous experience of playing in a group and performing in concerts and at the Cheltenham Festival. It is led by the internationally renowned Carducci Quartet.
‘Singing Squirrels’ is the Pre-Preparatory choir. This group learns songs in preparation for school performances, working on breathing and pitching skills and enjoying singing a wide variety of songs. The group is a great way for children to begin mastering the skills of singing and is available to all pupils in Years One and Two. There is no charge for this activity.
Janet Marshall has been teaching in Cheltenham for over 30 years and for many of those years at Dean Close School. Her staff bring a wealth of different experience to dance, are fully qualified and checked in accordance with the Children Act. Over the years the School has gained a reputation for its careful and caring approach to the teaching of young children and students. All classes are based on the syllabus of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. The syllabus is fun and structured and examinations may be taken once the required standard is attained – thus giving the children a sense of purpose and achievement.
SPEECH & DRAMA
KINDERGARTEN AND RECEPTION
Drama within the Early Years is structured around activities that are already part of young children’s development – action rhymes, songs, play and roleplay and follow-my-leader games.
It is during these activities that children are encouraged to develop their confidence in speaking and listening, improve individual creativity and imagination, positive promotion in group interaction and increase their awareness as part of their social circle. We play very basic memory and concentration skill games that increase their ability to learn.
During these years children are not expected to participate in any major speech skills, instead they are encouraged to gain self-confidence as they address the classes through role-play and improvisation.
Year One is very much a continuation from Reception although children are now encouraged to look more closely at the basic skills already learned. The introduction of more advanced speech and drama skills are promoted and we begin to look at texts. Storytelling is introduced as a tool to increase imagination and self-expression and children are encouraged to extend their vocabulary whilst communicating ideas.
In Year Two children are reminded of skills already learned and are given opportunities to present improvisations to their peers. Whilst lessons are still fun, we now take a closer look at the more advanced speech and drama skills. Text is used to encourage reading skills and the exploration of characters, settings, structure, etc. Children are encouraged to create characters whilst improvising and to develop their language through word games. Very basic observational skills are introduced and some theatrical terminology is used. This year is very much a preparation for skills needed when drama is introduced in Year Three.
- Glow Club – a fun-filled activity club run by our chaplaincy assistants sharing God’s love for the world
- Art & Craft Club – for Reception, Year One and Year Two children – aiming to give children opportunities to develop their creativity using different media and experience the six elements of art: colour, texture, line, shape, space and form
- META (Thinking Skills Club) – developing and extending children’s thinking skills using fun and practical activities