Developing children’s creativity and natural musical abilities is an important part of our exciting and stimulating curriculum at Dean Close Pre-Prep. Early Music education has been shown to have many benefits including improving co-ordination, memory skills, self-discipline, social skills and indeed mathematics and is an important part of our school life. All of the Dean Close Schools have a strong and vibrant music tradition and from its beginning at ‘The Squirrels’, it is nurtured, encouraged and refined during their educational journey. Children not only have the opportunity to develop their love of music through class music lessons, but also through extracurricular provision in learning individual instruments and through the provision of clubs such as ‘Singing Squirrels’ open to all enthusiastic singers in Year One and Two! We are thrilled that the internationally renowned Carducci Quartet are involved at Pre-Prep level with our pupils, inspiring them to develop a love of music.
Class Music teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage
All children at the Pre-Prep are taught by our specialist teachers and musical education starts with the youngest children, our Squirrel Kittens (age 2 plus), where they are introduced to rhythm, lively action songs and percussion instruments. Children also take part in weekly Music and Movement activities, and in addition, assemblies and daily musical activities in their classes contribute to their love of music throughout the school week. Children are able to start extracurricular tuition in the Reception year.
Class Music in Years 1 and 2
As the children move up through the School they build on this foundation, with class music once a week introducing the teaching of pitch, notation and rhythm through a structured programme. Music teaching offers the opportunity for children to develop their understanding and enjoyment of music further and children have opportunities to play percussion instruments, and learn a variety of songs from memory, performing individually and as part of a group. Children design and make instruments, compose simple rhythms, discriminate between sounds, e.g. pitch, tempo and note duration.
In Year Two pupils all learn to play the recorder, enabling them to have an excellent foundation for note-reading, rhythm and encouragement to take up an instrument of their choice later in the school. Extracurricular tuition in violin, piano or flute is available.
There are many opportunities to perform at the Pre-Prep. All children are involved in the school plays from our smallest Kittens to Year Two pupils who have the main parts in the plays. Children are also able to perform at informal lunchtime concerts, led by the Carducci Quartet, at the end of term concerts and celebrations and occasionally alongside the Preparatory and Senior School. This develops their confidence and enjoyment from an early age, and parents are often amazed at their poise and enthusiasm when on the stage. Parents are warmly welcome to come and watch and support their children. In recent years Pre-Prep has sung, danced and played their way through:
- Summer Plays – A Summer Safari, Rainforest Rescue, Underwater Adventure
- Christmas Plays – The Smallest Angel, Christmas Baubles,
- Music across the School concert
- Annual Christingle Service
- Many Informal concerts
Performing on a wider Stage:
Children also perform at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts and have been delighted to win cups for their wonderful singing in the U8 choir category and the U8 cup for ensembles with our ‘orchestra’ (Squirrel Strings).
Boys in Year Two who are showing an interest and aptitude for singing are encouraged to audition for the Schola Cantorum of Tewkesbury Abbey. The Choristers are educated at Dean Close Preparatory School and boys who are accepted into the choir from age 7 receive 25% off the Preparatory School, school fees.