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 Post subject: Music at QMGS/CHB/KES
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:11 pm 
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Would love to hear comments on musical life at Queen Mary's vs Camp Hill vs KES.

We are in the unusual position of weighing up options for our musical son and would love to know of the experience of others with the music departments at Queen Mary and Camp Hill in particular (our older lad is at KES, so we know how strong the music is there). Our boy plays piano and violin and loves more modern music in particular (jazz/swing etc).


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:32 pm 
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I believe five ways is good for music!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:34 pm 
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Fiveways is just too far to travel. The other three are doable for the journey.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:06 pm 
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Shame but journey time is the most important thing! Good luck deciding.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:44 pm 
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The music teacher for both QMGS and QMHS is Mark Vause. He started this year. I believe he's the musical director/conductor of the City of Lichfield Concert Band. My daughter is really enjoying her music lessons. I paid for her to have bass guitar lessons, but they're also giving her clarinet lessons (without charge) for the whole of year 7.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:03 am 
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Turtlegirl wrote:
Would love to hear comments on musical life at Queen Mary's vs Camp Hill vs KES.

We are in the unusual position of weighing up options for our musical son and would love to know of the experience of others with the music departments at Queen Mary and Camp Hill in particular (our older lad is at KES, so we know how strong the music is there). Our boy plays piano and violin and loves more modern music in particular (jazz/swing etc).



At QM I think they have a policy that all children should be able to read music and play an instrument.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:50 am 
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Location: West Midlands
I know logistics isn't always dependent on "as the crow flies" distance, but QM or CH, but not FW?

Anyway, my visit to QMB a few years ago showed they were determinedly building up the musical capacity there as so few of their boys had had that pleasure (possibly infavour of academic pursuit).

Their year 7 boys performed well at the open day - having never played before QM. Iwas impressed that the head put the resource into enriching those boys' school experience!

Besides I they have at least one well known saxophonist in their alumni.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:45 am 
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Believe approx 120 instruments have been purchased at QMHS so each child has instrument in Form 7. As teacher is same at QMGS possibly done same. Think goal is to combine girls and boys for concert at end of academic year. I believe boys did concert last year.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:51 am 
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Yes: FW is just that much worse in terms of public transport accessibility I'm afraid.

I have been very encouraged by the progress of music at QMGS the times I have visited, although my impression is that they still only have wind/swing bands and not a full orchestra. Is that still the case? How often do the bands perform?

And does anyone know about the Camp Hill orchestra and bands?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 12:25 pm 
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DS is in year 7 at CHB, so we know a bit here though less about the other schools. The ensembles are a joint thing between the boys' and girls' schools; there are three different orchestras (for grades 1-3; grades 4-6; and 6+) and likewise with the wind bands. Plenty of other smaller ensembles, listed in the document on the school web site.

We sneakily went along to a couple of things before DS started at the school; last January the concert orchestra played at a special Evensong at Birmingham Cathedral (with massed RSCM and school choirs from across Birmingham) and put in really a very creditable performance for a school orchestra; it was a great deal better than my school orchestra, though they weren't fully together in the introduction to "Zadok the Priest". And then in June we went to the summer concert at CHB, at which a large number of the groups and soloists performed. I thought all of the music was of a really decent standard for a school orchestra, and the soloists were stunning. It was noticeable that many of the instrumental teachers were also helping out with conducting the ensembles etc.

There was a very full questionnaire about musical instruments already played, and lessons etc., in the induction pack. DS duly decided that actually he really wanted to pursue his ambition of learning the bassoon, rather than (for now) carrying on with flute lessons. After a bit of investigation, a spare bassoon was duly found from the CHG stock while he decides whether he's quite sure. (Bassoons aren't cheap!) So he's now in the Wind Band (the middle of the 3) on flute, and Training Wind Band on bassoon.

DS's passion for music has blossomed during the whole 11+ journey, and it ended up being quite important for him to end up at a school that takes music seriously (and where we have some options other than the Green Bus for him to get home after after-school ensembles, though many rehearse before school and at lunchtime). Having the musical activity run jointly across the two schools does seem to make for a much wider range of options than would otherwise be available.

We've found Mr Palmer (CHB head of music) helpful and responsive by email; his address is in the music document on the school web site.


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