Given our proud history as a Choir School, music making is an essential and hugely enjoyable part of King’s life.
We continue to educate Choristers and Junior School boys can audition to join the Cathedral Choir as probationers from the age of seven. If they go on to become Choristers, they will sing at Cathedral services and prestigious events throughout the year, a tradition that stretches back almost 1,000 years.
It is not only our young Choristers who benefit from King’s commitment to music. We believe it offers wider benefits for all our pupils: helping with languages, reasoning, creativity, teamwork, discipline and much more. Every class has two weekly music lessons given by the Head of Music for Junior School; typical activities include singing, appraising, composing and performing.
Junior School has a well-equipped music room and around three-quarters of all children learn at least one instrument – some starting lessons as early as five years old. Pupils enjoy learning as individuals or in a group and we have our own Junior School Orchestra along with ensembles for strings, woodwind and brass.
There are plenty of opportunities for our young musicians to perform in front of an audience. For example, the girls and boys of our Junior Choir sing at morning assemblies, Harvest Festival, the Christmas Carol Service, and Candlemas – often in the magnificent surroundings of the Cathedral.
Drama and Dance
Drama and dance provide children with a powerful means of expression and often bring out hidden talents.
King’s children get their first taste of performing from the age of three in the Nativity play, which is staged in the ancient Chapter House. All younger pupils appear in the summer production which has presented shows such as Dumble the Dinosaur and Rumble in the Jungle to audiences of appreciative parents.
As they progress through Junior School, the opportunities to study and perform drama and dance continue to grow, with both subjects being taught by specialist teachers. Older children take part in an annual large-scale production, usually supported by younger children in the chorus. Previous shows have included Oliver, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz.
In common with music, the arts of drama and dance bring wider advantages: building children’s confidence by facing an audience, improving memory through learning lines or steps, and developing the many teamwork skills needed to stage a production. We often use drama as a learning tool, increasing pupils’ understanding of topics such as the First World War.
Not all performances are drama-based. Teachers also encourage pupils to give talks on subjects of personal interest to them at school assemblies. From bell-ringing to steam trains, the variety and depth of our pupils’ expertise continues to surprise.
Art and Design Technology
Our pupils’ vibrant and thoughtful art and design skills are evident throughout the School.
We teach expressive art and design from the early years through to Year 6, stimulating learning by encouraging children to explore and experiment with colour, texture, shape, media and design.
The visual arts are particularly good at developing pupils’ higher order thinking skills, such as analysis, evaluation and the creation of new knowledge. These in turn help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities – both of which can be applied to any other type of study.
Children work on tasks independently, learning about self-motivation and discipline; and also collaboratively, working on extended projects as part of a team and learning the delicate arts of diplomacy and group decision-making.
Along with the opportunity to study a variety of art and design work, where possible we also arrange for children to meet some of the practitioners concerned. This often helps to inspire and enthuse our young pupils, spurring them to achieve even greater creative heights.
Junior School pupils benefit from the outstanding Art and Design Technology facilities that are on site in the Senior School, and enjoy activities that range from crafting photo frames in the workshops to making chocolate bars in the cookery suite.