Music plays a vital role in daily life at OLA where musicians of all ages and abilities are encouraged to explore their potential to the full.

A diverse music curriculum is complemented by a rich and inclusive extra-curricular programme, individual music lessons, and a wealth of performing opportunities,workshops and concert trips.

Concerts range from informal lunchtime recitals to annual Choral Society events in Oxfordshire, and Associated Board examinations take place termly. The whole school takes part in the annual House Singing Competition, and Carol Services often take place at Dorchester Abbey. School celebrates Mass regularly and music plays an important role as part of the proceedings, as it does in Prize-Giving Ceremonies.

The school offers Music Exhibitions in the form of free individual music tuition to those who demonstrate potential at audition; these are available at ages 11 and 13and upon entry to the Sixth Form. The Senior School Music department enjoys strong relationships with the Junior School in the joint programming of the curriculum, in addition to concerts and services, and with other Senior School departments such as Religious Studies in the programming of assemblies andservices, and the Drama department in the production of theatrical shows; there is a large-scale Musical production every two years.

Class music lessons are enjoyable and engaging, relevant and attractive for all pupils within an imaginative and stimulating music curriculum. Pupils areoffered a broad musical diet, incorporating as wide a variety of musical styles and genres as possible, through a topic-based approach of performing,composing and listening. Facilities, including an ICT suite equipped with the latest music-writing software and five practice rooms, are very good. In theSenior School music is a compulsory subject for pupils in Years 7 and 8, and becomes an option in Year 9. Opting for Music in Year 9 is not a prerequisiteof studying music at GCSE level, for which the Edexcel syllabus is followed. At AS and A2 level, the course set out by Edexcel is studied. All coursesrequire pupils to call upon their performing, composing, listening and analytical skills.

A team of self-employed Visiting Music Teachers (VMTs) offers individual music lessons on all orchestral instruments, drum kit, guitar (acoustic andelectric), organ, piano and singing; parents are billed directly by VMTs. Music lessons last 30 minutes each, although different lengths are oftenappropriate and are available upon request. The school has a small stock of instruments available to hire (not including pianos or drum kits); lesson andhire rates are reviewed annually. Charges including sheet music, examination entry, study materials, instrumental hire and consumables are billed termlythrough the Bursary.

Music in the Curriculum

It is the Music Department's aim to:

  • Provide a well-qualified, enthusiastic and committed staff to assist the development of musical skills, to nurture and foster potential and talent and to reward excellence.
  • Offer a broad range of musical experiences and opportunities, encouraging participation in and loyalty to musical groups and initiatives.
  • Inspire creativity as well as develop theoretical and historical understanding.
  • Encourage musicians to develop self-confidence and an appreciation of music.
  • Encourage pupils to extend their musical interests beyond school, and to leave OLA with a positive experience musically.

Facilities, including an ICT suite of ten Macs, fitted with the latest music-writing software, are excellent, and allow for each scheme of work toembrace fully the topics contained within. In the Senior School music is a compulsory subject for students in Years 7 and 8, and becomes an option inYear 9.

Opting for music in Year 9 is not a prerequisite of studying music GCSE, for which the AQA syllabus is followed. At AS and A2 level, the course set outby Edexcel is studied, which requires students to call upon their performing, composing and analytical skills.

For more details on the topics studied by each year group please click on the individual year group documents within the bottom tab.

Individual Music Lessons

The department delivers almost 3500 music lessons per year on all orchestral instruments, drum kit, guitar (acoustic and electric), organ, piano andsinging. Before lessons can be arranged an Individual Music Lesson Request Form (720 KB) should be completed and returned tothe Director of Music, who will be happy to advise parents before making the decision. Consideration should first be given to the cost of the tuition,instrumental hire and sheet music, the time needed for practice and the academic needs of the individual.

Music lessons last 30 minutes each, although longer lessons are available upon request. For pupils in Year 11 and the Sixth Form music lessons take placeoutside the academic timetable in free periods or at lunchtimes and after school. Whilst every effort is made to minimize academic disruption, lessons forpupils in Years 7 to 10 operate on a rotation-basis, which changes weekly.

individualmusic lesson timetables are published half-termly on the noticeboard in the department, and it is strongly recommended that pupils check forupdates regularly. Whilst every effort is made to avoid clashes with other commitments, if a pupil cannot attend a music lesson for a particular reason,they should see the Director of Music at their earliest opportunity to arrange to swap the lesson. This task must not be undertaken by pupils alone.

The lesson and instrumental hire rates are reviewed annually and are available from the Bursary. All charges, including lessons, sheet music, examinationentry, study materials, instrumental hire and consumables, are billed termly.

Extra-Curricular Music

Due to the nature of a small school, musical opportunities are often adapted for its pupils. The department is proud to contribute strongly to theextra-curricular life of the school by offering membership of many music ensembles and groups to all pupils at no cost; taking instrumental lessons withinschool is not required to participate.

The following groups have run (those marked * run currently) at OLA:

  • Brass Ensemble
  • Chamber Choir*
  • Choir*
  • Choral Society*
  • Clarinet Ensemble*
  • Double Reed Ensemble
  • Flute Choir
  • Jazz Band*
  • Junior School African Drumming Group*

    Recorder Group (Year 3)*
  • Musicals' Chorus
  • Orchestra*
  • String Ensemble
  • Wind Band*
  • a range of smaller chamber music groups*, and
  • Aural*, Sight-singing* and Theory classes* to complement the work done in instrumental lessons working towards practical examinations

It is hoped yet more ensembles will be made available in April 2011, and the music staff are always open to suggestions of ideas for new groups to form.

Click here for more details of the current music activities happening this term. (37 KB)

Staff List

Dr P Foster - Director of Music

Mr N Farrow - Assistant Director of Music, Oboe

Mr C Ayres - Guitar

Mr M Bredik - Clarinet

Mr R Evans - Brass

Mrs S Henderson - Piano

Mr P Jenkins - Violin

Mr J Morgan - Drums, Percussion

Mr J Oxlade - Piano, Organ

Mrs J Rainey - Cello

Mrs J Thomas - Singing

Mr R Thorne - Flute

Mr G Williams - Bassoon and Saxophone

Event Diary and Music Overviews

The department strives to give as many opportunities as possible to all school musicians, whether they learn an instrument within the school or privately,or not at all.

Click here for details of OLA's current music events happening this term. (61 KB)

Music Tuition at Our Lady's - A Guide For Parents (82 KB)

Year 7 Music Overview (33 KB)

Year 8 Music Overview (41 KB)

Year 9 Music Overview (242 KB)

GCSE Music Overview (57 KB)

A Level Music Overview (66 KB)

Tap here for SUB-MENU