As you are aware, COVID-19 has had a global impact on the Performing Arts, and we at Stover are not exempt from its effect. There is a great deal of conflicting research about the risks concerning Performing music. Our challenge is to find a line that balances safety with the opportunity to play music.
Individual Music lessons will still be able to take place, albeit with social distancing, and no physical support/correction on the instruments. These will be in larger rooms with good ventilation for Wind / Brass and Voice lessons. The other Senior School Practice Rooms are large enough for String and Piano lessons to take place as usual – following safety guidelines.
The most dramatic effect will be on our ensembles. We are very proud of our huge cross year-group choir, large orchestra, and band. However, these activities will not be able to take place due to the risk of infection. There will be no Wind or Brass participation in any ensemble this term. The Choir at the moment will be restricted to the Year 11-13 ‘Bubble’. Hopefully, as the term progresses we can look to expand ensembles and choirs across the other Year Group Bubbles, but safety remains the priority. There will be a String Orchestra for the Year 11-13 Bubble. Part of the reason for selecting the Year 11-13 bubble initially, is that it features pupils who need these skills for their public examinations next Summer.
We are devastated that we are not able to have 100 singing voices crammed into Chamber Hall this term, or to hear Stover Soul move through the gears. Hopefully, these restrictions will start to be eased soon and we can return to making glorious noise together again. I hope that you understand that this pragmatism is taken with great reluctance but with the safety of our pupils and staff paramount.
The Music Department is housed in a purpose-built area comprising practice rooms, a project recording studio, a medium-sized performance area, and a large performance area.
The department has three grand pianos; a Steinway, Bechstein and Broadwood, as well as a variety of upright pianos including Yamahas. The recording studio runs Logic on an Apple with KRK Monitors, and a Roland Keyboard. We have a Samba Kit, a set of African Drums, a large selection of tuned and untuned percussion, a suite of keyboards, a full set of 20 guitars for classroom tuition, and a class set of Ukeleles. We have 4 drum kits, including an electronic set, and guitars, synthesisers, and amplifiers to equip any budding rock bands. We also have a wide selection of orchestral instruments for hire.
There are 7 choirs at Stover, from the award-winning Cantabile in the Senior School to specialist choirs at Key Stage 1. The boys’ Man Choir is a popular choir in the Senior School with over 30 members. The Senior Girls and Man Choir combine for all concerts and school numbering over 100 pupils. There is also a smaller SATB group called Camerata that perform more challenging pieces. There are two Orchestras who perform regularly at main school events. Recent pieces performed by the Senior Orchestra include Offenbach’s Can Can, John Williams’ Jurassic Park, Debussy’s En Bateau and a Clarinet Concerto by Baldassare Galuppi. There is the award-winning Stover Soul that performs a range of popular music, from songs of the 1930’s up to the present day. There is the smaller Fillet of Stover Soul who regularly perform at local events. We are able to create ensembles to suit our students, whether it is based on ability or matching the instruments to create a unique ensemble. Currently, there is a Brass Group, ‘Cello Quartet and Chamber Orchestra specialising in late Baroque and early Classical Era music.
There are many opportunities to perform throughout the school year at a variety of events. Performance opportunities range from our showcase events such as the Carol Service in Exeter Cathedral in front of an audience of 800, the Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert, the School’s Summer and Winter Concerts, The Phyllis Dence Memorial Concert in March, and our own Departmental End of Year Concert in the beautiful Teigngrace Church. There are regular Lunchtime Concerts, where both new and more experienced musicians can perform in front of a friendly and supportive audience. We also provide music for large school events including the Remembrance Service and Prize Giving.
Music Scholars are given a high priority in the music department, not only as soloists but also as role models and leaders for the other musicians. Our music scholars have the ability to put together a 2-hour concert by themselves featuring ensemble, solo, and their own compositions. Every musician is valued in the music department, from the beginner saxophonist to the grade 8 pianist. Our size means that we are big enough to tackle large orchestral pieces and choral works, whilst also being able to tailor our orchestral arrangements to suit all abilities. There is no hierarchy of music in the department; Beethoven’s music sits happily with The Beatles’ music, as both required creative thought to exist.
We have eleven experienced and qualified visiting music teachers. We offer lessons on all orchestral instruments, rock instruments, and voice. We can source a teacher for any instrument that we don’t currently provide. We enter pupils for ABRSM and Trinity Examinations with a very high pass rate.
The Key Stage 3 Curriculum is designed to give pupils a broad and relevant musical experience. All pupils learn to play the keyboard and guitar as part of their class sessions. The Year 7 Curriculum includes the treble clef notation, music of the world, including Samba, Africa, Gamelan and British Folk Music. The Year 8 curriculum introduces guitar ‘tab’ notation, music of India, and The Beatles. Music in Year 9 includes the bass and alto clefs, score reading, orchestral playing, composition using Sibelius, and instruments of Popular Music.
Year 10 and Year 11 GCSE Music follow the Edexcel Syllabus.
Year 12 and Year 13 Music follow the A2 Edexcel Syllabus.
Head of Department, Mr Jon Tizzard
Jon Tizzard was educated at Lancing College and Cardiff University where he studied composition with Anthony Powers. He completed his teaching qualification under the renowned music educationalist George Odam at Bath College of Higher Education. He has taught in State, International and Private schools for over 20 years. As a musician, he has performed across Europe and worked with musicians as diverse as Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers). His compositions have been heard on national radio. He continues to compose, record, and release music.