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and activities at all stages of the school,
from Year 2 upwards, and lots of children
choose to take part.
Music is also so important to Dragon
drama, from incidental music and songs for
straight plays to full blown musicals, such
as
Guys & Dolls
or even
Noye’s Fludde
by
Benjamin Britten.
The Pirates of Penzance
this spring was a wonderful experience
with children singing and acting to such
effect accompanied by a staff orchestra.
I am also struck that many of the same
children, at one minute donning Victorian
costumes and taking on Gilbert and
Sullivan, will the next be performing in
a jazz band or recording their own rock
tracks in our studio.
In making music a natural part of every
Dragon’s life, we achieve a great deal,
not just musically, but socially and in the
development of so many transferable
skills, both practical and intellectual. An
important part of the so called ‘best days of
your life’, but an important foundation too
for a life-long love and interest; that’s where
the long-term value of music teaching lies.”
“Making music is normal – it’s what children
do! Given the opportunity to make music,
they grasp it with both hands. The potent
combination of sparky teachers and
serious intent inspires them. Music isn’t
easy – the best things aren’t – and the
level of commitment from pupils and their
parents is humbling.
One really important thing is that music
at the Dragon doesn’t have to compete with
other subjects, it is squarely in the timetable,
with protected time for ensembles within
the Activities programme. From Reception
Music & Movement classes to preparation
for music scholarships at senior school,
music is part of the mainstream. It is also
a big thing: including all our instrumental
specialists, the department is 50-strong
and we deliver over 600 individual music
lessons a week as well as classroom music
for every child in the school.
Music really is an essential part of
Dragon life. It parallels our approach
to sport with a huge active programme
involving every child and ability. I think
we can say we nurture the elite without
being elitist! It is music learning that is both
aspirational and inspirational. Everyone can
learn an instrument, play in an ensemble
and sing in a choir without having to
choose between those options; they can
try things, play for pleasure or pursue it
to the highest levels. All the traditional
instruments are on offer as well as those
more unusual for prep schools, such as
the harp, bagpipes, organ and drums.
The department has scores of first class
starter instruments, so everyone can make
a good noise from the very first lesson.
With the right tools children really can do
extraordinary things and don’t even realise
they are difficult. Our aim is to involve
every child who shows interest from the
earliest age. And they are very keen - this
year of the 66 pupils in Year 3, 59 play
an instrument. There are music clubs
Scenes from The
Pirates of Penzance
by Gilbert and Sullivan
performed at the
Dragon in March 2010
I am also struck that many
of the same children,
at one minute donning
Victorian costumes and
taking on Gilbert and
Sullivan, will the next be
performing in a jazz band
or recording their own
rock tracks in our studio
Musical Dragons
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