Music at The Purcell School is organised in seven departments, each of which is led by an experienced Head of Department. Together, these manage the day-to-day musical education of all pupils, organise and supervise their music lessons, and also oversee the many ensembles and performing opportunities, ensuring high standards and enabling pupils to achieve their musical goals.
Further details about each of the departments can be found by following the links on the right.
The Music Department at The Purcell School aims to provide:
- A stimulating and challenging musical environment, at the heart of which is an individually tailored programme for every pupil. We try to ensure that both the balance of musical studies and the balance between musical and academic work are fine-tuned to suit each pupil.
- A flexible timetable, designed to enable pupils to practise. The intention is that pupils in Years 5 to 8 are able to put in up to 3 hours each day on their first study. In Years 9 and 10, that rises to 3-4 hours and sixth formers are able to do 4-5 hours or even more depending on their academic commitments. (Typically, wind and brass players and singers will, because of the physical constraints of their instruments, do proportionally less than this).
- Help for our pupils to practise effectively and efficiently. We provide practice supervisors, themselves graduate musicians, who work with pupils up to Year 9 to ensure they use their practice time effectively. Our experienced and expert instrumental teachers set practice goals and teach practice strategies.
- Twice-weekly contact with the pupil’s first study instrumental teacher for a total of up to 2 hours’ tuition. This regular contact ensures that goals are regularly reviewed, modified and extended. All our instrumental teachers have considerable experience of working with motivated young musicians and have proven their ability to enable their students to succeed. Many of them also teach at the London conservatoires.
- Up to another hour of one-to-one contact with 2nd (and 3rd) study teachers every week. They will also set clear goals and help their pupils to learn effective practice skills.
- An enriched musical programme that includes chamber music, orchestras, piano classes, choirs and aural and theory training. Frequent performing opportunities range from daily lunchtime concerts at school and in the surrounding area to formal recitals around the UK and in the capital's leading venues. Pupils can audition for the chance to play concertos with the school's orchestras, to give solo and chamber music recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room and other prestigious venues.
- Contact with musicians from outside school. The work of our regular teachers is enhanced by visits from the world's leading musicians for masterclasses, recitals, courses and collaborative projects.
- An academic programme which (as far as possible) is organised around each pupil’s musical commitments, whilst still enabling pupils to achieve the necessary examination grades and all-round education to pursue a musical career if they choose, or to otherwise enjoy a successful future.
- Pastoral care which is provided by professionals who understand the demands on and needs of performing musicians. This includes dedicated boarding staff, a school nurse, physiotherapist and independent counsellor.
- A supportive and sympathetic peer group, keen to help each other to achieve their potential. We are well aware of the benefits of being embedded in a musical environment in which all students understand and support each other, and this is an approach which we actively foster.