Mayfield Music Department offers girls many opportunities to develop as musicians in both the academic and extra-curricular realms while exploring a wide variety of historical and contemporary styles. Performance opportunities abound, and our curriculum is designed to give a broad musical education whilst allowing for depth and rigour.
In academic lessons, girls in Years 7 to 9 explore classical and popular styles of music from the Middle Ages to the present day, learning valuable skills including individual and group composition, and performance in both vocal and instrumental genres. They expand their musical knowledge in historical and cultural context, preparing them for further study at GCSE and A Level.
Girls who take GCSE study the AQA course, developing deeper appreciation of musical style as well as growing as composers and performers. Those who continue to A Level study the OCR syllabus, which provides opportunities to dive deeply into various historical genres and can be tailored to play to girls’ strengths as composers or performers.
Outside the classroom, the Music Department has several thriving ensembles and choirs:
- Schola Cantorum is the School’s flagship choir. Formed of girls from Years 7 to 13, Schola sings a variety of repertoire but focusses on the art music tradition. Schola regularly sings concerts in London and tours abroad (recent trips have included Rome and Northern France).
- The Orchestra performs music in various styles from the Baroque to film music, and is made up of students who play their instruments at Grade 4 and above.
- Mayfield Melodies is the School’s contemporary choir, specialising in arrangements of popular songs - either a capella or with instrumental backing including electric guitar, drums and piano.
- Chapel Choir leads the music at Sunday morning Mass, and is formed of singing boarders. There are opportunities too for girls who play the organ to accompany hymns or conduct the choir.
- All girls in Year 7 and Year 8 are part of the Lower School Choir which runs every week and aims to develop a love for singing in all girls from their first year.
- The various chamber music ensembles include two flute ensembles, a guitar ensemble and a mixed chamber group, as well as ad hoc groups to meet particular concert demands.
During the School year there are many performance opportunities. These include:
- Termly ensemble concerts at Christmas and Easter
- Half-termly informal Courtyard Concerts
- Live Crib carol services
- Mayfield Day in the Summer term
- The Inter-House Music Competition
- St Cecilia’s Day lunch
- Scholars’ Concert
- The Mayfield Festival (biennial)
As well as these opportunities for musical development, masterclasses by young professional musicians are occasionally organised for specific instruments and are open to all girls who play that instrument.
The Director of Music is Dr Matthew Ward, who completed his doctorate in 2013 at the University of Cambridge. When not busy with School music, Dr Ward is Musical Director of the Stonegate Choir, a regional director of the Schola Gregoriana, and frequently lectures on music and theology around the UK. He has published articles in The Catholic Herald, TEMPO magazine and Early Music.