Ballard’s award-winning Music department is staffed by enthusiastic and energetic teachers, committed to making music fun and fulfilling for all. They have a range of specialist skills from the classical and commercial world in both instrumental and vocal work.
Music is part of the curriculum throughout and our full programme of ensembles is also open to the Ballard family including Alumni, parents and grandparents. Music is a popular GCSE option with a track record of 100% A*-C and an ISM Gold Award for GCSE Music results.
Ballard Music’s extra-curricular opportunities are incredibly broad. We have a wide range of instrumental and vocal ensembles including a variety of choirs, handbells, harps, show band, orchestra, samba band and many more!
Our classical and contemporary pathways ensure that pupils can participate in their favoured genre through a variety of performance opportunities. These are adapted each year to cater to our pupil cohort and provide new experiences for all.
Pupils also have the opportunity to work in our Music Technology Suite, composing with industry standard software and exploring sound production and recording. They also have the opportunity to work in the sound and lighting box in our Performing Arts Centre (PAC) on live productions and events.
Our team of 14 peripatetic teachers provide a broad range of individual lessons throughout the School from Pre-Prep upwards. Pupils are encouraged to sit external exams as they progress as well as perform in our ensembles.
Highlights of our annual performance calendar include our Carol Service at Christchurch Priory, informal Christmas and Summer concerts and a classical concert at Beaulieu Abbey Church. In addition there are regular musical productions for all ages.
Recent external events include performances at the Christchurch Food Festival and Bournemouth Air Show. We have had numerous successes at local and national festivals both at school and individual level. Our close links with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus have led to exciting performance opportunities with both including performances at the Royal Albert Hall for Classic FM Live.
Our recent tour to Tuscany was a great success – please click through on the video links below to see some of the highlights.
We are incredibly proud that in an era when music education is being squeezed nationally it continues to thrive at Ballard.
Pre-Prep music at Ballard is all about fostering a sense of enjoyment and achievement, building confidence, co-ordination and collaborative skills through a variety of fun activities.
Pupils receive weekly curriculum music lessons with our specialist staff in the music department building. We expand their musical understanding through a range of fun, practical learning tasks including singing, musical notation and instrumental work. Whether it is learning the difference between minims and quavers on a glockenspiel or strumming an electric guitar our children love music.
All children participate in performances, including the annual Nativity and Summer Showcase.
Many of our Pre-Prep pupils take up individual music lessons with our specialist teachers from Reception. They also have the opportunity to perform alongside our older pupils, many of whom act as mentors to our younger pupils.
Lower Prep pupils at Ballard receive weekly music lessons from our specialist teachers in our well-equipped music building and specialist Music Technology Suite. Pupils study a modular curriculum including composer focus, composition skills, musical notation and a range of fun, practical activities.
It is well-documented that learning an instrument early on in life can help develop pathways in the brain and develop important skills. At Ballard, all pupils are encouraged to learn an orchestral instrument so we have a starter scheme for pupils starting in either Year 4 or 5 which encourages those who have never played an instrument, or those who may wish to try a different instrument, the opportunity to do so. After a trying a variety of orchestral instruments in class we suggest an instrument that we believe the pupil will enjoy and has the aptitude for. We then offer a number of free one-to-one lessons from our specialist peripatetic staff, alongside the loan of the instrument.
“The Starter Scheme has worked brilliantly: George was able to try a variety, make a free choice and brought home a French horn! He plays the viola, and didn’t have as much say in that choice as he would have liked (!)… brilliant for him to really ‘own’ his choice of instrument as it meant that he was super-keen from the start. We quickly moved to the next step of buying his own instrument and continuing with lessons at school – which he adores. I would never have suggested Horn, but am completely delighted that he is so in love with it!”
Ballard’s inclusive music policy ensures that all pupils in Lower Prep have opportunities to perform in a range of events including our Carol Service and class performances. For pupils who wish to enhance their music experience further there are numerous ensembles on offer, including a chamber choir, instrumental ensembles and a harp ensemble.
Mentors from the Senior School often support our younger pupils in their music-making and the opportunity for these pupils to work and perform alongside older musicians provides both inspiration and challenge.
In addition to the music programme, Lower Prep pupils also enjoy an Expressive Arts programme, working across music, dance and drama to prepare a range of performances including an annual musical production. Recent opportunities have included a colourful production of ‘Seussical’ and a range of related workshops on a Mayflower Theatre Day. Pupils in Year 5 complete their Explore Arts Award through the Expressive Arts programme.
Upper Prep pupils at Ballard receive weekly curriculum music lessons from our specialist teachers in our well-equipped Music building and specialist Music Technology Suite. Pupils study a modular curriculum including composer focus, composition skills, musical notation and a range of fun, practical activities. Pupils at this stage of the school begin to develop composition skills including song writing in our specialist music technology suite on industry standard software and have the opportunity to record their work.
Pupils benefit from a range of ensemble opportunities across the School providing the chance to work alongside older musicians to stretch and challenge them. These include varied choirs and vocal groups, a harp ensemble, handbells and numerous instrumental ensembles. Regular trips and performance opportunities including concerts and musical productions further enhance their musical experiences.
Pupils in the Senior School have a wide range of opportunities on offer to them in the Music Department. Our pre-GCSE and GCSE course is designed to prepare pupils for the next stage of their music education and the wider world of the music industry, whether it be contemporary or classical. Pupils work extensively in the Music Technology Suite mastering the use of industry standard software for composition and sound production.
There are opportunities to learn about recording processes and work within the sound and lighting team for productions. In addition to the wide range of ensembles available to all pupils, there are specialist ensembles for pupils in the Senior School including a chamber ensemble and chamber choir. Pupils benefit from regular outside performance opportunities designed to extend their experience of music performance in both the classical and contemporary field and our musicians benefit from close links with local professionals. Senior musicians perform at local events and embark on European tours, most recently to Barcelona where they performed in Montserrat Abbey and Barcelona Cathedral. They also work closely with younger pupils, mentoring ensembles and gaining invaluable skills in directing and arranging.