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Music in Independent Schools

Music in Independent Schools

Bernarr Rainbow
Andrew Morris
Edited by Andrew Morris
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Music in Independent Schools
    Book Description:

    This is the first serious study of music in independent schools. The high standard of musical work in such schools has long been known but now Andrew Morris and his team have provided up-to-date details. There are contributions from seven individual schools - Bedford, Dulwich, Eton, Gresham's, St. Paul's, Uppingham and Worksop - as well as chapters about Girls' Schools, Preparatory Schools, Choir Schools and Specialist Schools. Andrew Morris was Director of Music at Bedford School for thirty-two years and was President of the Music Masters and Mistresses Association in 1996-97. He is thus ideally placed to mastermind a substantial compendium of information which is eminently readable and absorbing. The book includes material from Bernarr Rainbow's study, Music in the English Public School (1990) and brings it up to date. As a historian, Rainbow looked back at how music developed in independent schools. Progress was slow, even tortuous, but Rainbow's fascinating documents, supported by his commentary, show how idealism won through and Morris and his colleagues bear eloquent witness to the very positive development over the last fifty years. ANDREW MORRIS taught in secondary modern, grammar and comprehensive schools in London before becoming Director of Music at Bedford School for thirty-two years. He was President of the Music Masters' and Mistresses' Association from 1996-97 and President of the RAM Club at the Royal Academy of Music 2005-06. He has examined for the ABRSM for over thirty years.BR BERNARR RAINBOW is widely recognised as the leading authority on the history of music education. CONTRIBUTORS: Catherine Beddison, Elizabeth Blackford, Timothy Daniell, Richard Mayo, James Peschek, Alastair Sampson, Graham Smallbone, Jonathan Varcoe, Myfanwy Walters, Nathan Waring, Robert Weaver, Hilary Webster.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-367-6
    Subjects: Music, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Plates
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. General Editor’s Foreword
    (pp. viii-x)
    Peter Dickinson

    This book records the musical achievements of Independent Schools. As Rainbow’s historic section shows, it was a long struggle to get music accepted as a fit study in a public school curriculum. George Dyson, in his 1952 address to the MMA (pp. 104–8 below) recalled the low status of the music staff: ‘When I went to Marlborough in 1911, I was the first musician to be made, by right, a full member of the Masters’ Common Room … In 1914 … at Rugby I was the first musician to be salaried like the rest of the staff.’ The popular...

  5. Editor’s Introduction
    (pp. xi-xiii)
    Andrew Morris

    Music and the English Public Schoolwas the last of Bernarr Rainbow’s many books and is, in some ways, his most curious. I was educated in the independent system, taught in it for thirty-two years, and worked in secondary modern, grammar and comprehensive schools before that. Rainbow’s book suggests to me that the world of Public Schools, now called Independent Schools, was a strange one to him. He clearly recognised that these institutions had an interesting and important musical story to tell and that the ancient schools, such as Winchester and Eton, were particularly fascinating, as they had choir schools...

  6. Biographical Notes
    (pp. xiv-xvi)
  7. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. PART I Studies from Music and the English Public School (1990)

    • 1 Music and the English Public School: Early History
      (pp. 2-17)
      Bernarr Rainbow

      That essentially English but somewhat misleadingly named institution, the Public School, had its origins in a liberally endowed grammar school founded at Winchester in the fourteenth century. As early as 1369 William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of England, planned the establishment of a college at Oxford in close connection with a new school at Winchester. The joint enterprise was in fact delayed for some years by his political disgrace and downfall, but with the accession of Richard II in 1377, the bishop received a royal pardon and both projects went ahead. Within a few years what became...

    • 2 Visits to Various Public Schools in the Late Nineteenth Century: Sherborne, Uppingham, Harrow, Rugby, Clifton, Wellington, Eton, Winchester
      (pp. 18-51)

      It is often taken for granted that, while elementary schools give music a fair share of attention, the art is neglected to a large extent in the curriculum of the great public schools of the country. The idea has got abroad that there is a lack of musical interest among high-school boys. Mr Joseph Barnby said recently that about ninety per cent of the boys at Eton College had no musical ear. This is not as it should be. It will be well to enquire the reason for this state of things. If the children of the poor can learn...

    • 3 Music in our Public Schools (1894)
      (pp. 52-67)
      Louis N. Parker

      Mr Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, – After accepting the very flattering invitation to read a paper before your Society, on the subject of Music in our Public Schools, and upon sitting down to consider the matter, I was brought suddenly face to face with the disconcerting fact that I knew little or nothing about it. The history of music in public schools only dates back some twenty years, and during that time I have been so busy minding my own affairs at Sherborne, that I have had few opportunities of inquiring into other people’s business. I have, to be sure,...

    • 4 The Topic Debated in Music & Letters: Answers to a Questionnaire Distributed by Editor A. H. Fox Strangways (1922)
      (pp. 68-96)

      A series of questions, not important enough to print, elicited the views which follow. What leaps to light from the very various answers is that music in public schools is a matter of personality and of honest work, and that tradition and circumstances alter cases. Knowledge of music counts for little, knowledge of boys for much. They take kindly to choral singing, less as a social thing than as team work, and Dr. Stewart puts this first. Dr. Dyson reminds us that they are great admirers of ‘Business Done’, of practical means to practical ends. Boys have not yet tasted...

    • 5 The Oundle Phenomenon: Performances of Messiah and the B Minor Mass by the School (1922–3)
      (pp. 97-103)
      A. S. Macpherson and H. C. Colles

      It is not often that a public school undertakes the production of a big oratorio, andifit does so, it is probably with the aid of a select choir, a very small orchestra or the organ alone providing the accompaniment. The idea of giving every boy in the School a part in the production is, to say the least of it, uncommon, if not hitherto unknown; and twenty years ago such an idea would have been laughed at. Yet this is what has actually been done at Oundle School, on Sunday, December 11, with a performance ofThe Messiah,...

    • 6 The Jubilee of the MMA (1952)
      (pp. 104-108)
      George Dyson

      This year is the Jubilee of the Music Masters’ Association, a representative body of musical school masters which began as an informal group fifty years ago and now, with the parallel list of music mistresses, forms that wing of the Incorporated Society of Musicians which covers the whole profession of music in schools. The remarkable expansion and progress of music in education in our century has been largely due to the work and influence of that small group of men who were first in the field.

      But behind their pioneer work lies the deeper question as to how and why...

    • 7 Public Schools and their Music (1927)
      (pp. 109-199)
      A. H. Peppin

      Cuique in sua arte. ³ There is no one who has more right to speak to us on the place of music in Public School education than Mr. Peppin, who for some thirty years took a leading part in its advance. We of an older generation can remember the usual state of school music some half-century ago: the reluctant substitute for cricket, all the more bitter because it carried the suspicion of an unmanly preference; the hours of drudgery to which no intelligible aim was propounded; the lack of discipline and authority; the whole subject regarded as alien and superfluous,...

    • 8 Boys and Music: Wellington, Harrow, Dulwich, Cheltenham, Marlborough (1936)
      (pp. 200-246)
      John W. Ivimey

      There have been many books written about Public Schools, but so far I have not met one by a Music-master. It was my happy fortune to spend nearly half a century in teaching the young idea how to develop itself musically, and it occurred to me that it might be interesting – especially to those who have been to any of the five schools with which I have been associated – Wellington, Harrow, Dulwich, Cheltenham and Marlborough – if I jotted down some of my experiences and reflections during that long period, and gave some account of the schools themselves...

  9. PART II The New Millennium


      • 1 Bedford
        (pp. 248-256)
        Andrew Morris

        Bedford School was established in pre-Reformation days and there is evidence of a school from the eleventh century. The school was founded and maintained by Newnham Priory, a monastic house on the outskirts of Bedford, and when the monastery was dissolved during the Reformation the school closed with it. Arrangements to refound the school were put into action with the assistance of New College, Oxford, and in 1548 the Mayor of Bedford appointed Edmund Greene, a New College man, to be Master and the school was again up and running. New College is still involved in the school’s governance and...

      • 2 Dulwich
        (pp. 257-262)
        Richard Mayo and Robert Weaver

        While music had chiefly been centred on the Chapel under the Old Foundation of Dulwich College, when the school moved south beyond Dulwich Village to the New Buildings in 1869 its musical activity naturally moved with it and a thriving tradition was built up under a succession of inspiring music masters, few of whom were full-time specialists. Under James Brabham, appointed College Organist in the 1870s, the college became noted for its singing, with glee and madrigal concerts, while at the same time he made his mark locally by conducting the Dulwich Choral Society. The first full-time music master was...

      • 3 Eton
        (pp. 263-267)
        Alastair Sampson

        When King Henry VI founded the sister colleges of Eton and King’s College, Cambridge, he intended that those who made music and worshipped in the Chapel should be at the very core of college life. From its founding in 1440, Eton had a choir of singing boys and men recruited locally, and an organist too; the archive can produce repair bills to the organ dating back to 1490! With the sacking of the monasteries, the survival of Eton Chapel’s choral repertoire, in the form of what is now known as the Eton Choir Book, was a sheer fluke, now affording...

      • 4 Gresham’s
        (pp. 268-276)
        Nathan Waring

        Like many schools, Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk, has been fortunate to experience some fine educators over the course of its existence. Through the strengths of their beliefs, the broad scope of their activities, and their desire to make music known, understood, and enjoyed by all, the music masters and mistresses at Gresham’s have enriched the lives of many students, parents, colleagues, and friends of the school. During the twentieth century the school has had its fair share of talented pupils pass across the Parade Ground, but it is the ethos of ‘bringing out the best in every child’ that...

      • 5 St Paul’s
        (pp. 277-286)
        Jonathan Varcoe

        Writing a chapter on the St Paul’s Schools, that is St Paul’s School (SPS), St Paul’s Girls’ School (SPGS), and the boys’ prep school Colet Court, I had to think long and hard how to create something that provides an overview of music in these schools, bearing in mind my experience of a mere twenty-one years at the helm of SPS music department. Inevitably this chapter is a personal take on the subject, incomplete for those hoping for a potted history, but I trust not too inaccurate in the facts and opinions put forward.

        It is always a temptation in...

      • 6 Uppingham
        (pp. 287-291)
        James Peschek

        Uppingham School began the second half of the twentieth century blessed with a fine musical legacy.¹ Eighty years of sustained endeavour by two remarkable men, Paul David (for forty-three years) and Robert Sterndale Bennett (for thirty-seven years), gave Douglas Guest a firm foundation on which to build in his five dynamic years at Uppingham before he left to go to Salisbury Cathedral as Organist and Master of the Choristers in 1950. Among Guest’s innovations were the establishment of music scholarships and the founding of the Paul David Society and of the Uppingham and District Concert Club. In addition, he appointed...

      • 7 Worksop
        (pp. 292-298)
        Myfanwy Walters

        Worksop College was founded as St Cuthbert’s College in 1890 by Canon Nathaniel Woodard (1811–91). Priest and educational visionary, Woodard instituted the Woodard Corporation in 1848 after becoming aware that, while the Church provided schooling for poor families, the education of the ‘trade classes’ was seriously neglected. He sought to provide a ‘good and complete education for the middle classes at such a charge as will make it available for the most of them’.¹ Having studied at Oxford, Woodard found himself strongly drawn to the growing Tractarian Movement and maintained Anglo-Catholic sympathies throughout his life; at the heart of...


      • 8 Girls’ Schools
        (pp. 299-308)
        Timothy Daniell

        In 1838 ‘five little girls sat on five wooden benches, specially made for them, at the Opening Meeting of the School and Home for Missionaries’ Daughters … in the charming village of Walthamstow, five miles from London.’ Later, in the 1850s, former scholars of Walthamstow Hall would recall their appreciation of a Miss Hale for her ‘amiable and consistent conduct’. For seven years from 1842 Miss Hale had acted as music teacher, and it is known that she concentrated on singing because it was impossible to cope with the demands for learning piano. Indeed, singing must surely have been the...

      • 9 The Earliest Years: The Work of Sam Dixon at Brighton College
        (pp. 309-314)
        Andrew Morris

        Since the 1950s, pre-preparatory schools (usually called pre-prep) have sprung up in many areas of the UK. Some of these schools are ‘stand-alone’ schools, having no direct affiliation with another institution, while others are part of a pre-existing preparatory school. Almost all these schools are co-educational. In the example below, the Nursery Year is for children of three years old and the Reception Year for children of four, while Years 1, 2 and 3 are for children of five, six and seven respectively. Children in the seven-plus age group proceed to a Preparatory School for their Year 4 education.


      • 10 Preparatory Schools
        (pp. 315-322)
        Elizabeth Blackford and Catherine Beddison

        Prep school music-making varies according to the size of the school, and also depends on the value placed on music by the Head. School music departments often have to compete with a thriving sports department, and there can be inevitable clashes between sports fixtures and music events. This illuminates the need for good relations between the two departments. The New Beacon has enjoyed a long tradition of excellence in both music and sport, and has had the good fortune of being supported by past and present headmasters who have held a strong belief in encouraging enjoyment and excellence in both...

      • 11 Choir Schools
        (pp. 323-329)
        Hilary Webster

        In May 2011, members of the MMA convened in Cambridge for an annual conference organised by the schools of St John’s College and King’s College, two of the country’s leading choir schools. Delegate music teachers were thrilled, though not surprised, by the fine choral singing in the college chapels. But the real discovery for many was the very high standard of enthusiastic school music demonstrated in the joint concert in the University Concert Hall. Those of us working in choir schools were delighted to bask in their reflected glory, seeing parallels in our own departments. But it was not always...

      • 12 Specialist Schools
        (pp. 330-336)
        Graham Smallbone

        Sir George Dyson’s final sentence in his 1952 retrospective contribution to the 50th Jubilee Meeting of the Music Masters’ Association (reproduced above, pp. 104–8), suggested that, ‘If in the next fifty years we can maintain the progress of the past two generations, the future of our music will be more than secure, it will be one of the highlights of our civilisation.’ He would surely have been delighted by the transformation of musical opportunities and standards in what are now known as Independent Schools, and amazed by the exceptional quality of the independent specialist music schools that emerged over...

      • The plates
        (pp. None)

      • 13 The Independent Schools Curriculum Committee
        (pp. 337-360)
        Andrew Morris

        Independent schools are, by name and nature, independent both from the state and from each other. However, during the 1960s many schools called for greater communication with each other, particularly between junior (preparatory) schools and senior (public) schools. It fell to A. R. Donald Wright, Headmaster of Shrewsbury, when Chairman of the Headmasters’ Conference (HMC), to make the first move. Donald Wright had as his near neighbour, in terms of northern English schools, Roger W. Ellis, Headmaster of Rossall School between 1967 and 1972 (when he moved to become Master of Marlborough College). Ellis was an imaginative teacher who was...

      • 14 The Work of the Music Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association
        (pp. 361-368)
        Andrew Morris

        At the end of the twentieth century the wide-ranging activities in independent school music departments, as we have seen from the preceding chapters, can only be described as a success story. Concert programmes, showing not only ambitious choices of music but with performance standards only dreamt of fifty years before continued to grace the lives of independent schools year after year. Some schools, such as the various King’s schools of Henry VIII foundation, those of Edward VI foundation, Harpur Trust schools, the Whitgift schools, Alleyn’s foundation schools in Dulwich, and other groups, united at times when large forces from these...

  10. Index
    (pp. 369-384)
  11. APPENDIX Classic Texts in Music Education
    (pp. 385-386)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 387-391)