We have a long-standing tradition of excellence in music and drama. This is reflected in the many famous alumni who have become musicians and actors, including Mumford & Sons, Tom Hiddleston, Sir Michael Hordern, Guy Ritchie, Tamzin Merchant, Adam Buxton, Alfie Allen, Noah Huntley and John Michie.
All the children have the opportunity to perform and support backstage too.
The children win a large number of scholarships in music, arts, drama and the ‘all-rounder’ category, reflecting our philosophy of producing the ‘rounded child’. Children thrive in every dimension of life when they find channels for self-expression, and we spend a lot of time making sure this happens for each child.
You can learn over 20 different musical instruments at Windlesham
We put on 3 major drama productions every year
Rated by The Good Schools Guide as creating “possibly the best music (they have) seen in a school”, we encourage the children to participate in ground-breaking children’s concerts, using the very latest technology to enhance the children’s performances. All children (from Reception to Year 8) have a weekly music lesson where they learn and appreciate different genres from Rap to Classical and learn how to compose.
They also have the opportunity to learn virtually any instrument they want, including the Ukulele, Harp, Organ and Marimbas. The Department consists of a dedicated team of teachers, many of whom are also active performers in their field. There are a number of music groups for the children to join including jazz, orchestra, rock, drums and Marimbas. We have three choirs and an a capella group which all children are welcome to join.
Children are encouraged to take instrumental music exams to raise their performance level, with some 30 children taking music exams each term. There are numerous practice rooms available to use throughout the day, in the evenings and at the weekend.
Every child in the school is involved in performing in concerts and shows and will be on stage in front of a large audience at least twice each year. Music Scholarships and Exhibitions are numerous with children winning places at many prestigious schools in recent years.
Music is a vital part of life at Windlesham. Each year some 80% of children learn a musical instrument and every child in the school is involved in at least two major musical productions or concerts in the year. We aim to increase self-confidence through expertise, whilst stimulating every pupil to explore and improve their individual musical ability.
Musical performance is something in which we believe strongly and see huge benefits to all children whatever their talent and level. We regularly put on informal concerts at break times which staff, children and visitors watch and support. We are an active and forward-thinking department and perform regularly in the local community and with alumni and the extended ‘Windlesham family’. The end of term Christmas concert is legendary!
Richard Fitt, Head of Music
Drama is a thriving department at Windlesham with all children taking drama lessons weekly and no less than four major productions a year plus additional smaller scale performances. We are lucky to have a fully equipped theatre plus a brand new drama and dance studio.
Our productions range from rock musicals to Shakespeare and each child who auditions for a part in a play is included. Our major productions are ambitious and we believe they are comparable with any youth performances nationwide. Recent productions have included: “Joseph”, “Crazy for You” and “Mary Poppins.” In addition to acting, dancing and singing, there are also opportunities to learn stage management skills, lighting and sound operation, as well as costuming. Every production has an enthusiastic and committed backstage team of pupils.
There are also extra drama activities, coaching sessions for potential scholars, theatre trips and the opportunity to take additional LAMDA classes. Children are also encouraged to write, direct and perform their own work and other performance opportunities include assemblies, poetry festivals and Open Day. Academic drama, covering many styles and genres including: Commedia Dell’Arte, Melodrama, Realism, Epic theatre and Mask Work in our spacious studio, is both challenging and rewarding and explores important texts and key practitioners. Children are encouraged to create original work to demonstrate their understanding of the style in question and are assessed regularly in a fair, consistent and non-pressured way.
Every year, Windlesham children gain drama scholarships to such schools as: Marlborough, Harrow, Oundle and Lancing. Preparation for these scholarships includes theatre trips, portfolio creation and extra study sessions. Windlesham children have also gained places at the national youth music theatre and in theatrical agencies and have gone on to be professional actors in film, television and as part of the RSC.
A number of dance activities are also available including Ballet, Tap and Street Dance. The children are encouraged to choreograph their own pieces for our annual ‘Windlesham’s Got Talent’ event and also work towards performances of the pieces they have learnt in their classes.
Fiona Jenkins, Head of Drama
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