The Music Department is headed by Mr David Lawson. There are four full-time members of staff: Alison Beak (Brass Coordinator), Patricia Dollins (Woodwind Coordinator), Paul Hunt (Assistant Director of Music and Head of Strings) and David Lawson (Director of Music). The Director of Music is also Musical Director of the Merlin Music Society, the subscription concerts society based at the Blake Theatre in the School. The full-time staff members all undertake a small amount of individual instrumental tuition.
There are currently 20 visiting instrumental teachers, allowing the School to offer tuition in all orchestral instruments as well as Voice, Organ, Pianoforte, Kit Percussion, Classical Guitar, Harp, Electric Guitar, Cornet, Tenor Horn and Euphonium. Some of the visiting instrumental teachers are involved in ensemble music in the School and many regularly participate in performances given by the School’s ensembles. Most of the visiting instrumental teachers maintain active professional performing careers of their own locally and nationally.
The Music Department is housed in the Glover Music School, where much of its activity takes place. The GMS was opened in 1990 and provides seven practice studios, three classrooms, offices, ICT suite, lavatories, stores and the auditorium for small-scale performances.
Equipment in the GMS includes a concert grand piano, ICT Suite (installed 2004), a two-manual organ, pianos in all practice rooms, two drum kits, generous hi-fi provision, portable high-quality minidisk recording equipment, two full sets of classroom keyboards and a full set of classroom guitars. Software available includes Sibelius 4, SoundForge, Sonar Cake Walk and other simpler programmes. There is a large battery of orchestral percussion instruments, including four copper pedal timpani, vibraphone, two xylophones, two sets of orchestral bells, bass drum, tam-tam, orchestral glockenspiel and a full range of percussion effects, much of which has been refurbished recently. We regularly lend our orchestral percussion to other organisations. There is a full set of Wenger music stands and a full set of polished steel collapsible band stands with two sets of matching banners.
There are two large amps and a set of leads available for band use, as well as high-quality microphones. The collection of recordings on CD is fully catalogued and ever-expanding.
There is a large library of sets of scores for orchestral works, oratorios, masses, other concert works, cantatas, anthems and motets. The library of sets of parts for bands is well-organised and safely stored. There is also a library of music for piano and some other instruments. The Department also maintains a number of subscriptions to online resources.
The Blake Theatre houses a Steinway model D concert grand piano, fully rebuilt by Steinway in 2005, belonging to the Merlin Music Society and available for use by pupils of the School, and a Makin two-manual digital organ with draw-stop console, purchased in 2004. The Chapel houses a large 1875 Nicholson two manual pipe organ, rebuilt in 1964, and an upright piano. There are pianos in all the boarding houses.
The school owns and maintains a large collection of orchestral and band instruments, including well-over 50 violins, 20 ‘cellos, a full set of woodwinds, saxophones, French horns, cornets, trombones, tubas and Eb basses. Accurate lists of instruments in use are kept by the relevant coordinators and a charge is levied for the use of these instruments. Both the Glover Music School and the Grange provide rooms for the safe storage of musical instruments in use on a daily basis. Instruments are available for hire at reduced rates to boys if they receive tuition in School. They are also available to boys in the Grange, including some to those who do not have individual tuition but experience practical music through the medium of the classroom.
In a typical year the Music Department will organise and host around fifty public musical events, in addition to ordinary rehearsals, be they workshops, recitals, full-scale concerts, chamber concerts or competitions. Approximately 40% of boys in Monmouth School and the Grange receive instrumental tuition in school, and a significant number receive tuition at home. Every pupil in the School is offered the opportunity to perform at an appropriate level.
Follow this link to view a video showcasing the Music activities taking place at the School.
Note: These files are quite large and best suited to users with a broadband connection.