Dauntsey's has a strong musical tradition and a distinguished reputation for musical activities and achievements. Music plays an important part in the life of the school and whether it be academically, socially or spiritually, music touches the life of every Dauntseian.
The Music Department aims to develop in all pupils the skills, knowledge and understanding that will facilitate an active appreciation of music. Whereas some pupils may go on to a music-related career, and others may continue to enjoy music as a leisure activity, it is an important principle at Dauntsey's that all have access to a musical education.
From the Lower School, where music is part of the timetable, to old Dauntseians and parents who join our community choir and sing alongside pupils in major pieces, it is a favourite pleasure. An impressive 40 per cent of our pupils learn an instrument, meaning the majority performing in any group, band or orchestra are pupils.
GCSE and A Level music are popular choices and A level music technology has been taught at Dauntsey's since its inception. Associated Board Exams, Guildhall Music and Drama Exams, and London College Music Theatre Exams are scheduled throughout the year and pupils achieve a very high standard of success.
Music's unique ability to promote children's intellectual, physical and social development has long been recognised, and it is specifically through music that pupils learn and develop the inherent skills of self-discipline, eye-hand co-ordination, attention to detail, the artistic quality of striving for the highest standard of attainment, as well as the ability to participate within a focused, team activity.
Above all, performing should be fun. When we enjoy ourselves, we learn more effectively and challenges are merely a temporary inconvenience. Our pupils sing and play their hearts out – and we applaud them.
Kerry Vaughan, Director of Music (Instrumental and Performance)
The Department is served by four full-time members of staff.
Class Music is taught to all pupils in the Lower School (Years 1 - 3). Pupils explore a wide variety of music through listening, composing and performing. Lessons are approached in a creative and practical way so that pupils learn through direct experience as well as an introduction to the developments of Western "Classical" Music from the middle ages up to the present day, and selected World Musics. Dauntsey's has a number of computer-equipped composition workstations and a flourishing recording studio.
Middle School pupils opt to take Edexcel GCSE Music and Sixth Form students can choose to study either Music or Music Technology (or both) at A Level, following the Edexcel syllabus.
Both listening to music and playing an instrument stimulate the brain, improve concentration and help to develop listening and social skills. Singing, in particular, improves breathing and mood, which is invaluable when faced with the stresses of academic work.
Enhanced mathematical skills have also been observed in many advanced musicians and those children with a good musical ear can often pick up languages more quickly as they recognise and learn the different tones in a foreign language more quickly than children without musical training.