Music & Drama
Drawing upon its choral foundation, the musical life of the School is very strong. Music has been at the heart of New College School since it was founded in 1379 as a school to educate the choristers of New College. Today, of course, it is not just choristers that we educate, but nonetheless we aim to give every boy who passes through NCS the best start in music that we possibly can. From Reception to Year 8 all boys have timetabled class music each week, and, using singing as a starting point, they discover their own musical potential, as well as learning about the whole world of music around them.
Oxford is rich in musical resources, in its concert life, its local musicians and the many opportunities to see and hear the wonderful music that we have on our own doorstep. In recent years boys have attended – and performed in – concerts in the Sheldonian Theatre, gone to the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, listened to Tudor instruments, learned how violins are made, watched a masterclass led by international cello soloist Raphael Wallfisch, heard live Sri Lankan music, visited the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, taken part in drumming workshops, attended violin masterclasses with Maxim Vengerov, and sung along with a folk duo.
We have a team of expert Visiting Music Teachers who offer teaching on a wide range of instruments. There is an emphasis on orchestral instruments, which means that there is nothing unusual about a boy learning the recorder or the violin, and boys flourish. By Year 3 almost every boy learns an instrument, and several learn two or more. The Director of Music (firstname.lastname@example.org) is happy to help find the right instrument for your child and to give advice. Music lessons are arranged on a rota-system, and whilst boys come out of academic lessons for their music lessons, they miss a different lesson each week. The charge for lessons and any music that has been provided is added to the bill at the end of each term. Boys perform in at least one concert per term, in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.
Every NCS boy takes part in at least one dramatic production per year, with roles tailored to meet the talents and interests of each pupil. A drama specialist prepares pupils for LAMDA awards as part of the after school activities programme. There are productions of plays or musicals for every year group, including a Pre-Prep nativity play and summer entertainment, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta for Years 3 and 4, an annual French play, Shakespeare in New College Chapel, and a playreading in New College garden. Pre-Prep plays are written by the Pre-Prep staff and the music is composed by one of the music staff. Recent Prep School productions have included: The Tempest, Henry IV, Part 1, Richard III, Henry V, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Harlequinade, Murder in the Cathedral, and Plautus's The Ghost.