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Year 7 Instrumental Programme

In 2013, Wilson's School introduced a unique instrumental programme to form part of the Year 7 music curriculum. In addition to a weekly classroom music lesson with Dr Burton, Dr Clayden or Mr Kramer, every Year 7 student receives specialist tuition on a wind instrument or specialist vocal tuition. As a crucial part of our music curriculum, these lessons are free to the students. Every student begins the programme as an absolute beginner, having never received formal tuition as a singer or on the instrument they are assigned.

At the beginning of the school year, the Year 7 cohort is introduced the range of instruments on offer  


Students are provided with weekly tuition, the loan of an instrument and the necessary music book entirely free of charge. Every student is provided with the opportunity to learn one instrument from a range including: voice, trumpet, trombone, French horn, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, or orchestral percussion (timpani, snare drum, mallet percussion).  This hugely successful programme is supported by a generous grant from the Humphrey Richardson Taylor Trust.  Please read through these questions and answers about the Year 7 Music Programme:​


Every week, each student's schedule includes:


A 30-minute instrumental or singing lesson, with a specialist teacher, as part of a group of four students


1 hour of classroom (academic) music, with a specialist member of staff, as part of a group of twenty-two students

On alternate Wednesday afternoons, students undertake a mixture of arts enrichment activities (including, for example, topics on female musicians focussing on Evelyn Glennie, Anoushka Shankar, and Ethel Smyth, The BBC Proms, and Music and War) and ensemble rehearsals in preparation for the showcase concerts in the Autumn and Spring terms. In these concerts, all students perform as part of a choir (singers) or wind band (instrumentalists). 







Frequently Asked Questions

What will my son gain from participating in this programme?


There is a clear correlation between musical proficiency and academic success; boys who study music are more likely to do well at

school. Music is an important part of Wilson's school life, and we want to involve as many boys as possible in it, irrespective of the

opportunities they have had before arriving here. Most of all, we think it will be an immensely enjoyable and rewarding experience

for the boys! This is to say nothing of the camaraderie that will develop amongst the new Year 7 cohort when they every student in

the year group joins forces to make music in two large ensembles in the termly concerts.


Why have you chosen to offer tuition in these instruments?


We believe learning these instruments will put our students in a very good position to make the most of co-curricular music at Wilson's

once they leave Year 7. We have also chosen instruments that will suit the students on the programme; all will be very able beginners

who are starting tuition relatively late in their educational careers.

What will the programme cost me as a parent?


​The school will provide all of the equipment they need for the first lesson. There may be small costs over the course of the year (for example, a replacement clarinet reed, or some valve oil for a trumpet) which should cost no more than a few pounds. The school has an insurance policy which enables boys to take instruments home to practice. Year 7 parents receive detailed information about this before the start of the academic year.

If significant damage or mistreatment, or loss, of the allocated instrument occurs, the Director of Music, Dr Burton, and the Year 7 Programme Co-ordinator Mr Kramer reserve the right to request a contribution for the replacement or repair of the instrument in question.


My son already learns an instrument. Can he continue studying this instrument as part of the programme?


Students who arrive in Year 7 already experienced instrumentalists and vocalists are strongly encouraged to continue their studies

on that instrument with one of our peripatetic instrumental teachers, alongside the lessons they will receive for free, which will teach

them a new instrument from scratch. Experienced musicians in Year 7 are also warmly invited to get involved in as much of our co-curricular music programme as they can. Ensembles particularly suitable for our most able Year 7 students include Wilson's Sinfonietta, Middle School Wind Band, Middle School Strings, Junior Choir, and Guitar Ensemble.

We find that experienced Year 7 musicians are usually happiest playing music that is the right difficulty for them. For some of our very best

Year 7 players, this may mean the Wilson's School Symphony Orchestra or any of the senior ensembles; some of the biggest challenges that the School has to offer! We found that it is best in these cases that students are not only part of the more advanced ensembles, most suited to their current musical ability, but also take on a leading role in an ensemble of their peers. Playing in a group of more diverse abilities presents different challenges and opportunities from which everyone can benefit. 

How will you decide which students learn which instrument?


Students will be introduced to the various instruments on the programme in the first week of September, under the supervision of

specialist instrumental staff. Staff will do their best to allocate instruments taking into account students' prior musical experience and their personal preferences. It is vital that boys are enthusiastic about the instrument that they learn, and enjoy playing it!

For how long will the tuition be free?


Every student will receive free tuition for one academic year, until the end of Year 7.

Will my son gain any qualification as a result of this programme?


All students will have the opportunity to sit a Trinity music exam at the end of the year during school time. Parents will be asked to pay for exam

fees (which depend on the standard that each student reaches) including the fee for an accompanist and the administration involved. Any students who does not wish to enter the externally assessed exam will be assessed by department staff at the end of the year to give a good indication of their standard.

Who will be teaching the programme?

Instrumental Staff: Mr N Franks (Flute); Ms H Dennis (Oboe); Mr J French (Percussion); Mr C Hann (Voice); Mr P Sanders (Clarinet);

Mr T Scaife (French Horn and Trombone); Mr J Marshall (Trumpet); Mr D Emson-Jukes (Bassoon).

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