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MUSIC

OPPORTUNITIES

There are many opportunities for a musical boy at Eton.  Well over half the boys in the school take individual music lessons. The Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band are open to boys in E block or above of around Grade VIII standard or higher.  The Junior String Orchestra and Junior Concert Band are for boys of Grade IV level or above.  There are Senior and Junior Big Bands and a number of senior and junior jazz ensembles and many wind, brass and chamber ensembles.  The Corps Band of bagpipes and drums always plays on the St Andrew’s Day, takes part in the Tattoo and performs on the Fourth of June.  College Chapel Choir is open to experienced singers with unbroken voices and older boys with broken voices; Lower Chapel Choir is open to singers with broken voices in the Lower School.  The Concert Choir is open to all. Additionally, there is a performance of a major choral work with a professional orchestra in the Lent Half in which all boys and staff can join the chorus with an invited girls’ school.

TICKETS

Concerts are not ticketed and open to all, unless stated otherwise in the printed music diary available in the Music Schools foyer each term, or here

TAKING UP A NEW INSTRUMENT

While many boys will wish to continue lessons in their current instrument, a change of school may be a good opportunity to change instruments or take up a new one.  In this case it is worth considering the larger instruments (e.g. double bass, tuba, bassoon) that smaller boys don’t usually think of. Players of those instruments tend to be in shorter supply so the boy is likely to have an opportunity to play in a band or orchestra sooner.  My advice is always to start lessons in the first half.  There is rarely a need for boys to “settle in first”.

Individual lessons are offered in a wide range of instruments.  If a boy is really keen to learn a non-standard instrument we will do our best to arrange a teacher. Accordion, steel drums, sitar and tabla are reminders of such enthusiasm.  Music Technology has become a popular subject at AS & A2 level, and it can also form a substantial part of the GCSE music course for interested boys. Individual lessons are offered and all F block boys will be given an introduction to music technology during their first year in the school.

INSTRUMENT HIRE

A very limited number of school instruments are available for hire at a small cost except for guitars.  Guitars need to be purchased; if after the first half a boy does not wish to continue with lessons the guitar will just be charged at the hire rate and sold on less this hire fee to any other boys wishing to take up lessons.  Please apply on the Music Lesson Application Form.

INSURANCE

Please note that the School does not insure boys’ property.  If your son has his own instrument, do make sure that it is adequately insured against loss or damage.  All personal property must be named.

TO START MUSIC LESSONS

When you receive the ‘new boy information pack’ please fill in the enclosed form and submit it by the date stated, which will be mid/late April 2017.   It is recommended that you let your son know what instruments you have applied for and keep a copy of the form for your records.  If you subsequently wish to cancel a set of lessons you have applied for you must do so BEFORE 15 August 2017 to avoid being charged for a term’s tuition fees; this includes boys who are Music Scholars or Exhibitioners.  Lessons may also be started in the Lent or Summer Halves by writing to the Music Schools Manager [email musicschoolsmanager@etoncollege.org.uk]. It is hoped to give boys 30 music lessons in each instrument over the course of an academic year.  It is common practice for the Music Teachers to give boys more than ten lessons in the longer Michaelmas Half as it can be difficult to get ten lessons in during the Lent and Summer Halves.

TO DISCONTINUE MUSIC LESSONS

The Music Schools Manager  must  be  sent  parental  notice  in  writing  (email, fax or letter, although email is preferable, by the end of the previous half (or, for new boys  only, by 15 August 2016 for the 2016 Michaelmas Half) or a half’s fees will be charged (email musicschoolsmanager@etoncollege.org.uk).

It is expected that boys will continue with music lessons during examination halves. In exceptional circumstances, however, lessons may be suspended with the permission of the Head of Section and Precentor & Director of Music. If parents wish to suspend their son’s music lessons in a particular instrument for a half and wish to resume with the same teacher, they must agree to pay for that half’s lessons (since the teacher in question cannot fill the place with another pupil). If they prefer not to pay, they should understand that the place may be given to someone else, and their son placed as convenient with another teacher. Notice to suspend or stop lessons must be given by the last day of the preceding half, or a term’s tuition fees will be charged in lieu of notice.

CHARGING FOR MUSIC LESSONS FOR MUSIC SCHOLARS, EXHIBITIONERS, JUNIOR & SIXTH FORM SCHOLARS AND MEMBERS OF COLLEGE CHAPEL CHOIR

Should a boy miss a lesson for unknown or unsatisfactory reasons his house master is informed.   In cases where lessons are paid for by the Foundation, if the house master and Precentor & Director of Music decide this is the boy’s fault, the missed lesson will be charged.  

This includes Music Scholars, Music Exhibitioners, Junior Scholars, Sixth Form Scholars and members of College Chapel Choir.

Boys who win a place in College Chapel Choir are entitled to five free Foundation singing lessons per Half so if a boy misses a lesson, the above rule also applies. If parents pay for an additional five lessons to make up to ten lessons per Half, then any lessons missed will be charged at 50% of a full lesson.

T J JOHNSON
Precentor and Director of Music