Music at Marlborough offers something very special. It embodies all you might expect of a talented, energetic and forward-thinking department, but with that little extra magic that makes us a prospect truly worth exploring. We offer a musical opportunity to every age and stage alongside unique programmes of study for those who wish to pursue music as a career. The Department promotes a supportive environment in which individual endeavour and creative collaboration can thrive. Music at Marlborough benefits from three modern technology suites which give all pupils the opportunity to enjoy Logic Pro and Sibelius on the latest iMac computers. A new recording studio was made available in January 2022.
The academic core of the Department starts with a year of teaching, which involves all members of the Shell. The aim is to provide a foundation in composition, performance and critical listening as part of a general cultural education, as well as providing a platform for those who will continue their studies to GCSE and beyond.
We have chosen to follow the Pearson Edexcel GCSE and A level courses as they offer the ideal balance of rigour and diversity. The courses promote a suitably varied syllabus which allow pupils to work in a multitude of styles: rock, jazz, music theatre, world music, classical and fusion. Each course requires students to perform, compose and judge. The Department also offers Edexcel Music Technology as a two-year A level. This course prepares pupils for further study in sound engineering, sound design and composition. Work towards the Associated Board music examinations (Practical and Theory) and the Trinity Guildhall (Singing and Percussion) examinations forms a large part of our weekly programme.
We enjoy continued success with applications to both Oxford and Cambridge University, helped by a two-term course which prepares pupils for the rigours of both the interview and the courses. One hour each week is allocated to open pupils’ minds to deeper philosophical discussions about music as well as exploring and analysing music in more depth than time allows at A level. Another hour offers weekly help with keyboard and theoretical skills, such as reading figured bass and harmonising a melody.
The Music Department at Marlborough offers unique opportunities for young talented musicians. Our professional orchestra in partnership is the dynamic Southbank Sinfonia. The Sinfonia visits the College periodically to give workshops, classes, one-to-one tuition and a unique side-by-side orchestral programme in which the College Symphony Orchestra rehearses and performs alongside the Sinfonia in an annual concert. Appointed visiting musical figures of international distinction also visit the College to offer concerts, classes and consultation lessons to music scholars.
Chapel Choir participation in services includes weekly Sung Eucharists, termly Choral Evensongs in Chapel and at local cathedrals, and an annual evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Other highlights include the Advent Carol Service, four annual carol services as well as special services for Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day, Confirmation and Commemoration. Instrumental concerts include the Orchestral Concert, Concerto Concert, Summer Gala Concert, Wind Department Concert and Junior Summer Concert, in addition to termly advanced pupils’ recitals. The Department also runs a weekly Lunchtime Concert Series. There is both an annual Music Technology Coursework Concert and choral concert, given by the Choral Society and Chapel Choir. The Marlborough College Concert Series presents five concerts attracting world-famous artists to the College. Festivals, competitions and workshops include the House Music Competition, Strings Day, Singing Day, Piano Day and the Instrumental Music Festival.
Recording facilities in the Department are not exclusively for use by senior pupils. Staff actively encourage and offer support to pupils in making use of the high-quality production tools available. Junior pupils, including some Shell classes, are given access to studio time as part of private projects, classroom lessons or the Shell Form Festival in the Summer Term.