The Music Department
Director of Music: Mr G.R. Lamplough BMus(Hons)
Teacher of Music: Mrs K.A. Farmer BA(Hons)
Stafford Grammar School boasts an impressive Music Department. Music plays an important part in school life and the Stafford Grammar School Music Department has become a recognised part of music making in Staffordshire.
Academically all pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 receive one lesson each week as part of the curriculum. In these lessons they study a wide range of music from Music Theory and Film Music to World Music and Dance Music. In Year 10 and 11 we teach GCSE Music with excellent class sizes in both years. For our 6th Form pupils we teach the A-Level Music course and have excellent results in this subject.
The Music Department has 17 visiting music teachers who offer specialist music tuition on the following instruments: Flute (Piccolo), Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Recorder, Trumpet, Cornet, French Horn, Tenor Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Violin, Viola, ‘Cello, Double Bass, Classical Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Drum Kit, Orchestral Percussion, Voice, Piano, Keyboard and Music Theory. Lessons take place in one of our 4 specialists teaching rooms or our well-equipped percussion room.
We are proud of our numerous ensembles. They each perform to a very high standard and have recently represented the school in county music festivals and concerts. The band has been invited to provide music for Royal visits to the county and our performances are not limited to here in the UK! Our Concert Band toured France giving concerts in Paris at the end of the 2009/10 academic year including a concert at the world famous Disneyland Paris. In 2012 the Concert Band completed a second tour giving 5 concerts in Italy and in 2014 the band travelled to Barcelona to give 5 concerts in 7 days. 2016 saw the band tour the Czech Republic, giving 4 concerts in the beautiful city of Prague and in 2018 the members of the Concert Band made their way to Northern Italy to give 5 concerts in Lake Garda region, including Venice and Verona.
In recent years our ensembles have become very successful in regional and national competitions with appearances for our Concert Band and Big Band in the National Finals for both the NCBF (National Concert Band Festival) at the Royal Northern College of Music and MFY (Music for Youth) at Symphony Hall, Birmingham after successful performances in the Regional qualifying competitions.
Our choir regularly perform in local churches and were recently chosen as the choir to provide choral music at St. Mary’s Church for the opening of the new term of Stafford Crown Court. Our Orchestra gives concerts in local churches and concert venues and our Big Band have been booked for jazz “gigs” around Staffordshire. Our Concert Band can also be heard on many occasions throughout the year in outdoor concerts and in local churches. They also perform joint concerts with other schools. In addition to this the Music Department have professionally recorded 4 CDs with a 5th CD (Christmas music) planned for later this year.
Our ensembles include Concert Band, Orchestra, Choir, Recorder Ensemble, Big Band, Chamber Choir, String Quartet, Percussion Ensemble, Sax Group, Sax Quartet, Barbershop Male Voice Group, Wind Band, Flute Group and a Brass Ensemble. We also organise a Music Festival each year. This is a competition which is designed to give our soloists a platform to perform repertoire which they have been learning in a preliminary audition and then, if selected, in front of a large audience in our concert final. This is adjudicated by an experienced professional musician (2009: CBSO Principal Trumpet Alan Thomas; 2010: Jazz Saxophonist Chris Gumbley; 2011: West End Keyboard player Ben Kennedy; 2012: Royal Opera House and international opera star Brindley Sherratt; 2013: CBSO Violinist and Associate Conductor Michael Seal; 2014: International Staff Band conductor Dr Stephen Cobb; 2015: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Principal Trumpet James Fountain; 2016: West End Musician and UK Pop Session player Mike Davies); 2017: internationally acclaimed ‘Cello soloist Julian Lloyd-Webber; 2018: Session player and Lead Trumpet of the John Wilson Orchestra Mike Lovatt. and the winners of the Junior and Senior categories win a trophy for the year.
We are keen to promote contemporary music and have, amongst other things, invested in electric instruments for our String Quartet. We hold an annual “Battle of the Bands” for our budding Rock Stars to battle it out for a trophy. We also host new professional Rock and Pop bands to perform “gigs” for our pupils as part of tours promoting their new album. Our commitment to raise the already high standards is evident in the funding of 20 violins for Year 6 and 20 clarinets for Year 5 of our Preparatory School and free tuition for one year as we invest in the future of our Music Department. 2010 saw us repeat this initiative buying 20 brass instruments. We now repeat this each year with Year 4, rotating the type of instrument each year.
As we endeavour to promote music making in the local community we visit local primary schools with our ensembles to give free educational concerts and invite 350 local Prep and Junior school pupils to join us in June for our annual Choral Day. This event is always a wonderful day and the evening concert, to celebrate the young choristers who have attended the workshops during the day, features music studied during the day and is supported by more than 600 audience members each year.
We are proud of our many musicians. Over 60% of the school population learn to play a musical instrument and pupils of all ages are progressing from beginner through beyond Grade 8. We have many pupils who perform with county groups, midlands groups (including the CBSO Youth Chorus and the CBSO Youth Orchestra) and national ensembles (including principal positions). Each year, pupils go on to study at specialist Music colleges on completing their studies at Stafford Grammar School. What is most rewarding is the way in which our pupils support each other. Our experienced musicians help nurture and encourage our younger pupils and they are the reason that Stafford Grammar School Music Department is the success that it is.