Let the Music Play

Oct 14, 2022

We are thrilled to announce the commencement of the build for our new Music and Performing Arts Centre which will begin this Monday, 17 October. Housing 29 practice rooms, several classrooms and rehearsal spaces, a recital hall, a recording studio, and a well-being garden*, this state-of-the-art facility will finally match the talent and ambitions of our budding musicians, ably supported by our team of dedicated teachers. The building will be linked to Lynam Hall and The Forum and has been designed with a range of purposes in mind, from individual rehearsal and performances to group workshops and masterclasses. Emma Goldsmith described the new centre as “an inspirational and creative focus for the whole Dragon community.”

“The positive impact and difference this build will make to our young Dragons, colleagues and community is off the scale. I am so excited for the future of music and performance at the Dragon.”

William Morris, Director of Music

It’s no secret to the Dragon community that the breadth and scale of our music and performing arts tuition is immense. A remarkable four out of five children — over 480 in total — play an instrument, and each week we deliver nearly 800 individual music lessons. With the vast range of instruments available, from the piano and harp to the bagpipes and drums, all of our pupils are encouraged to experiment until they find an instrument that suits them. Each term we deliver a packed programme of ensemble performances, concerts and plays, and encourage all young Dragons to take part, regardless of their experiences or ability. Our dedicated and talented teachers support the children at every stage, developing their creative skills and self-confidence. Thanks to this instruction and guidance, many of our former pupils have continued to study and enjoy music throughout their lives, and a considerable number have gone on to become eminent musicians, actors, conductors and performers around the world.

“This is such an exciting time for Performing Arts at Dragon. The new state-of-the-art centre will provide unique opportunities to harness and foster creativity, and will be a brilliant rehearsal space.”

Charlie Ponder, Head of Drama

Our current music school, built in the 1960s, has served us well but has now reached the end of its useful life with its limited capacity and inaccessible position on site. To ensure that we continue to deliver outstanding tuition in future years, our new purpose-built centre will be well-positioned, spacious and innovative. We are so excited to share this space with the local community through our local partnership primary schools and musical outreach projects. We are proud of our established and successful gamelan days, with huge thanks to The Woodward Trust, enabling local children and young Dragons to experience the wonderful collection of percussion instruments, collaborative workshops and storytelling. Our fantastic OxfordPhil workshops provide opportunities to play alongside professional musicians, and learn, rehearse and perform beautiful pieces of music. Having this fantastic space at our musical fingertips means that we will have the space and facilities to expand our partnerships and grow our musical outreach programme.

“Myriad new avenues will abound for expanding our rich Musical Outreach mission. The beautiful and diverse spaces contained within this creative arts hub will allow Dragon pupils and teachers to include, influence and inspire many future generations of local school children from across the city and beyond.”

David Stuart, Head of Music Outreach

Unlike many other established boarding schools, the Dragon does not benefit from substantial reserves or an endowment, and so to fund the construction of the Music and Performing Arts Centre, we seek the support and generosity of our community of parents, ODs, governors, and friends. To find out more about this exciting build, or to discuss personal giving opportunities, please contact Saira Uppal, Director of Development and Social Impact on +44 (0)1865 315 415.

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In 1886, it was parents’ faith and financial support which enabled the fulfilment of an extraordinary vision – to found a school that would inspire and nurture each child’s unique gifts.

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