Woodstock is renowned for the strength and depth of its music programme. Woodstock students have many opportunities to learn and grow in their musicianship through our classroom music courses, performance ensembles and private instruction. Student involvement in band, orchestra, choir, Indian music and private instruction is subject to a placement audition. This audition allows the music faculty the opportunity to determine which instrument and ensemble would best suit a student’s talents and schedule.
Classroom music courses, which help to build a student’s knowledge of music, are compulsory for Grades ECP to 8, and optional courses, such as choir, are available for Grades 7 -12. Private instruction is highly competitive and is subject to availability. Lessons are offered first to returning students, then to new students with prior learning, then to beginning students. Waitlists are available for all instruments, but may require a student to wait at least one school year before there is space available. Frequent recitals encourage performance from an early stage of expertise. Students playing in an ensemble will perform once per semester at the music department concerts which usually occur in November and May. Students who excel in individual lessons have the option of taking a performance exam for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, held each fall at the school. Expert individual instruction is available for piano, strings, brass, woodwind, percussion, voice, classical guitar and Indian classical instruments. Visiting performers often hold master classes within many of these disciplines throughout the school year.
Over 60 percent of Woodstock students participate in private lessons and ensembles. The Indian music programme includes not only instrumental instruction, but also traditional singing. Frequent recitals and concerts encourage performance from an early stage of expertise.
Musical instruction begins in Grade 3, with the option of studying piano or one of the four major orchestral string instruments. Instruction begins for voice, Indian music, classical guitar, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments in Grade 6. Woodstock School has an ensemble-centred programme rather than being a virtuoso or exam-centred conservatory.
The Advanced Band, Advanced Orchestra, and Senior School Choir are the three cores around which the music department revolves. Out of these ensembles radiate the other ensembles, including four levels of string ensemble, three levels of band, three choirs of progressive levels, jazz band, jazz combos and chamber groups. The private lessons and ABRSM examination programme [External Link] feed the quality of the ensembles by preparing strong musicians.