Last night saw our second annual Music Scholars’ concert, given in our wonderful Bowerman Hall. There is no doubting that this new facility has had an enormous impact of the quality of music making at Monkton over the past year; with its generous acoustic and quirky appearance, it fulfils the brief perfectly – quite simply, it inspires our pupils to give of their very best!
Throughout each year we put on numerous informal concerts, which are open for any pupil to perform in, from complete beginner to the experienced musician who wishes to run a piece ahead of their Grade 8 exam. Early on at my time here at Monkton someone told me that they thought these concerts were too insignificant – the audiences are small, and not all of the performances are completely brilliant. What this person didn’t understand is that not all music department concerts need to be a showcase for the school. Children need to learn not just how to play, but also how to deal with the additional pressures which a public performance brings – and our informal concerts are the perfect training ground for this.
However, there is also no question that making the Scholars’ Concert a more formal occasion has raised the bar significantly in terms of the level of performance both demanded and delivered. Last year our scholars were (of course!) excellent, but the formal nature of the concert – smart dress, new hall, large invited audience – was quite a scary ordeal for some of them. This year they knew what to expect. This, coupled with some really top-notch teaching over the course of the last year, has seen a remarkable change in many of them. Each one of them is seriously motivated, and it is good to see them beginning to realise that they can take control of their own learning and find their own voice as musicians. We are very proud of all of them!