St James’s provides every opportunity for children to develop their musical skills and knowledge outlined in the programme of study in the National Curriculum for Music. Every child attends a weekly music lesson taught by a music specialist in a very well resourced music room. In these lessons the children learn about various elements of music through composition and performance.
Singing is strongly encouraged throughout the school. St James’s School boasts three choirs. Beginning in Year 2 with the Infant Choir, which is open to all children who love to sing; the School choir is open to children from Year 3 – 6; in Year 4 some children will be invited to join the Chamber choir. The choirs perform in various concerts throughout the year including the Christmas Carol Service. Each of the choirs is heavily involved in our outreach programme singing for the wider community including the Twickenham Fire Station and Orione Care Home among others.
There is a wide variety of instrumental lessons offered at St James's with opportunities to learn most orchestral instruments as well as piano, vocal training, classical and electric guitar and drums. Specialist instrumental teachers visit the school to teach our children.
Instrumentalists are encouraged to join ensembles at the school and perform at various assemblies and concerts. Instrumental ensembles include the Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Strings, the Guitar Ensemble and (for our budding pop stars) Jamming Together. All concerts are advertised in the Programme of Events, which is published each term and available in the music room and on-line.
The music curriculum includes string lessons for every child in Year 3 as part of the Wider Opportunities Programme. This programme allows children to experience playing violin, viola,’ cello and double bass and culminates in a concert at the end of each term. There is a very high take-up of instrumental lessons following this programme.
Children have the opportunity of building up confidence in performing by taking part in Christmas Productions from the Nursery upwards and as instrumentalists in the Spring Proms, Summer Symphony, at school assemblies and culminating in a Year 6 musical production in the summer term. We participate in various concerts with other schools and have forged links with Stanley School, the Mall School, Trafalgar School, St Mary and St Peter School, St Elizabeth’s and Cobham Free School.
A proportion of the work in music is linked to other areas of the curriculum; in particular in supporting the spiritual ethos of the school by active participation in the Mass and other religious celebrations held throughout the year.
We also participate in the London Symphony Orchestra's "Discovery Series" of concerts held at the Barbican, the “BrightSparks” concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and the Primary Proms held at the Royal Albert Hall.