St Boniface values the importance of music in children’s everyday lives.
Music is taught weekly and children from Year 1-6 receive specialist music teaching during the year. They learn the important musical skills of composition, singing, listening and appreciation.
Whole School - Each phase or class learn carols that we perform online (COVID) or at St Boniface Church in our December Carol concert and the school choir and brass band traditionally perform here too.
School choir: The choir holds rehearsals every Friday morning at 8am for Key Stage 2 and is free to join. They learn a variety of challenging songs that involves harmonies and they get to develop different vocal skills. The choir also gets invited to sing with other schools for the Catholic Choirs Concert in the Spring term and it is a wonderful performance opportunity for them.
Flute - Flute lessons via Wandsworth Music happen in school two days a week. Lessons are available either as a part of a group or on an individual basis. It’s a great opportunity to learn an orchestral instrument and also participate in all school concerts. The flute is a great instrument to play for all ages, ideally year 2 upwards. If your child has previously learnt the recorder they will transition easily to the flute as it has similar fingerings. For more information contact Wandsworth Music directly and join in the flute fun we have in school.
Year 4 – Every child in Year 4 learns a brass instrument taught by Wandsworth Music, please see our Brass tab for more information.
Brass Band - See our Brass tab for more information.
We are so fortunate as well to have been awarded our Music Mark for our high-quality commitment to music education. It is an amazing sign of recognition for the fantastic music teaching that happens at St Boniface.
Click the below buttons for more Music:
Wandsworth Music are offering the opportunity for your child to study a musical instrument in school with one of our expert tutors from September 2020. Playing a musical instrument builds confidence, makes children smarter and above all, it’s fun! There are so many benefits for your child so what are you waiting for?
Lessons can be taken in either an individual or group setting and will last 30 minutes. Flute lessons are open to Year 3 children on up. Apply via the Wandsworth Music tab above.
Musicians we have studied:
Aaron Copland (1900- 1990)
Copland was an American composer and was sometimes recalled as the 'Dean of American Music'.
He single-handedly gave American classical music a voice and sound that people recognised as American. As the political situation worsened in Europe (World Wars), many composers from there moved to America such as Rachmaninov making American composers try very hard to create a distinctive American musical voice.
Copland trained in Paris under the influences of composers such as Debussy and Ravel. He then returned home and tried to create American music. It didn't begin well, but soon he was composing works that represented Latin America and the Wild West, incorporating cowboy songs in his works His most famous words are Fanfare for the Common Man, Rodeo, Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid and El Salon Mexico.
This fortnight's piece is Hoedown. It is from Copland's work 'Rodeo' (1942).
It was first composed as a ballet suite but in 1943 it was rearranged as an orchestral suite. It has four pieces to the suite called Buckaroo Holiday, Corral Nocturne, Saturday Night Waltz and Hoedown. The suite uses traditional cowboy folk songs and also traditional Irish music to give the music the western feel. In Hoedown, a square-dance tune called Bonypart was used in the composition. He also includes some Irish reels and an Irish tune called Gilderoy.
Here is the original choreography for the ballet- you can see they are line dancing!
Here is a great BBC resource about this piece. You can watch the orchestra play it as well as some more facts about the composer and piece.
How does the music make you feel? What instruments can you hear?
John Williams (1932- present)
Williams is a famous composer, conductor and pianist
Widely and arguably regarded as one of the greatest film composers of all time.
He has won 25 grammy awards, 7 BAFTAs, 5 Academy awards and 4 Golden Globe Awards.
He composed the music for Star Wars and in 2005 was selected as the greatest American film score of all time.
He has composed the music for these films (you may recognise some!): Jaws, Jurassic Park, E.T. , Star Wars, Saving Private Ryan, Superman, Harry Potter, Home Alone, Fiddler on the Roof, Hook, Indiana Jones, Tintin, BFG and many more! Listen to as many of these as you want!
This fortnight's piece is Flying Theme from ET
We call a musical and orchestral work produced for film a score.
1982- This score for E.T. won awards such as an Academy Award and a Grammy. E.T. is a children's film about an alien who accidentally landed on Earth and made a friend with a boy called Elliot. However, some people wanted to use E.T for science but E.T. just wanted to go home.
It is composed for a very large, full orchestra. What instruments can you hear?
Tips for listening to music with your children!
This piece is for a film, what do you think is happening in the film when this music is playing?
This piece is a great piece to ask your children what they think is happening. It doesn't matter what they say but hopefully they can make connections between what is happening in the music with what they think could be happening in the film. E.g. when the tempo is fast your child might think that there is running, or chasing going on.
Musical tips: This is the famous flying theme music from the film. The pitch is high which could show flying as well as little flutters of flutes. Flutes are often used in music to represent birds- in this piece it could be doing that or showing that E.T. and Elliot are flying high like the birds.
This piece is for a film, can you draw what do you think is happening in the film when this music is playing?
Children can also listen to the piece and draw what they think might be happening in the film. Film music is the perfect opportunity to get your children to really imagine what might be happening in the film because it is music composed for a particular reason and scene.
It is a great skill for your child to learn so practise with as many different pieces from this composer as you'd like. You can maybe even reveal the scenes (within reason of course!) that the music accompanies to show your children if their guesses were right.
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
He was an American trumpeter, composer and singer and was one of the most influential people in the style of jazz.
He was from New Orleans, one of the main places that jazz developed.
He moved the idea from group jazz to individual improvisation on an instrument. Improvisation means making music up on the spot as you play.
He has a very distinctive gravelly voice and also was very skilled at skatting. This is a jazz technique when people sing using nonsense syllables, using the voice as an instrument rather than speaking.
He was the first African- American entertainer to also be popular amongst international audiences and was able to access upper class American society during a time when it was extremely hard for black men to do so.
This fortnight's piece: What a Wonderful World
Although not composed by Louis, it is sung by him using his unique and recognisable voice. It was released in 1967 and topped the UK music charts.
It didn't do well in the USA because the current president of a large music company didn't like it and refused to promote it throughout the country.
To hear some of his wonderful trumpet playing listen to his cover of the song 'La Vie en Rose'.
Cecile Chaminade (1857-1944)
She was a French composer and pianist.
Her mother pushed her music because her father did not approve of it.
She even performed some of her work to the composer, Bizet (who has also been one of our composers of the fortnight) who absolutely loved her performing.
Chaminade went on many tours and was well received in England and America. She visited these countries many times to perform due to her popularity there.
Some of her smaller pieces of work were enjoyed but her more serious musical pieces were not recognised during her time. This was most likely because she was a woman and many didn't take her music seriously. Therefore she mainly composed short piano pieces.
She was the first female composer to receive the award 'Legion d'Honneur' for her work, the highest French award for merit.
This fortnight's piece is Concertino composed in 1902. In this video one of the world's best flute players, James Galway, plays the piece.
It was commissioned by the Paris Conservatoire for their flute students to play for their exams. Shortly after composing it, she arranged it for the flute and orchestra for her friend to play at a London concert. It is a popular piece today for flautists to learn. Here is the link if you want to hear her play!.
Here is the piece with the orchestra instead of the piano. Which one do you prefer? Which family of instruments does the flute belong to?
Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
- Hungarian composer, pianist and ethnomusicologist. This is someone who studies music and how it is found in different cultures.
- He is famous for his studies of folk music and was one of the most important composers of the 20th Century.
- Bartok studies a lot about the 'pentatonic scale' (Ks2 know what this is!)
This fortnight's piece: Romanian folk dances
This set of short folk pieces were originally arranged for just the piano. Each dance is based on tunes that Bartok heard throughout his travels in Romania and he notated these down into notes that musicians can read. This was because a lot of folk music wasn't written down and just passed on through performing for each other and teaching it to the next generation.
Here are some other arrangements. Which ones do you like best?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z50Ooqv1GFg - string orchestra
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St5s5p3w1pU -Flute and harp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WC6_WMqQeh8 - Cello and piano
Richard Wagner (1813- 1883)
Wagner was a German composer, conductor and theatre director
He was best known for his operas and changed the style of opera forever and his opera Tristan und Isolde was seen to mark the beginning of modern music.
He had a strong interest and love of theatre and took part in many different plays.
He had a great musical ear but wasn't very good at performing it. He did write lots plays and dramas that he then set some to music.
He wrote incredibly long operas , including the Ring Cycle which is between 15 and 18 hours long (depends how fast it is played) and it consists of 4 operas played in sequence!
The Ring Cycle has to be played over four nights with the longest opera of the cycle being 5 hours long.
This fortnight's piece is Ride of the Valkyries. It is from the second of the four operas of the Ring Cycle. It is one of the most famous tunes of Wagner's. It is a 5 minute piece from Wagner's 5 hour opera, Die Walkure.
It is this piece that gives the opera its popularity. It is used in lots of television adverts and films. The opera is based on mythology, telling the story of the god, Wotan who was a curse inflicting king of the gods. The Valkyries are his daughters and this piece opens the third Act with them riding on flying horses.
What instruments do you hear? What are the dynamics of the piece? How does the music make you feel? How does the music make you think the horses could be flying?
Here is a link that has activities and ideas surrounding the piece as well as a live orchestra performance of it!
Georges Bizet (1838- 1875)
Bizet was a French composer of the Romantic period.
He was best known for his operas before his early death.
He began playing music from a young age, taught by his mother. His father was a singer and a teacher so Georges used to listen in through the door and learn difficult songs by memory.
Due to this amazing ability he was let in to the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 9 when then age limit is actually 10.
He was influenced by composers such as Wagner, a pioneer of the opera.
This fortnight's piece is Overture from Carmen. This was Bizet's most famous opera and he died before it really took off in the musical world.
It is set in the south of Spain and tells the story of a soldier who falls for the Roma gypsy, Carmen. This is the overture from the opera. An overture is found at the beginning of any musical or opera and it gives listeners a sneak peak into the songs and music they will here later on.
The percussion section brings the Spanish setting to life- can you name any instruments from the percussion section of an orchestra?
One famous piece from the opera is Habanera and it is sung by the main character, Carmen.
The tune is by a Spanish composer that Bizet believed to be a folk song. A habanera is a genre of Cuban dance music and was brought back to Spain by sailors and so the rhythm of this piece is that of the Cuban dance. Can you clap the rhythm that you hear at the beginning?
This rhythm does not change throughout the whole piece.
Aram Khachaturan (1903-1978)
-Khachaturian (said Ka-ka-ture-ree-an) was a Soviet Armenian composer and was considered one of the leading Soviet composers and eventually the most renowned Armenian composers of the 20th century.
-He studied music at the Moscow conservatory, composing ballets, symphonies, concertos and even film scores.
-His most famous words were his ballets Gayane and Spartacus.
Spartacus was his only internationally acclaimed work.
Check out this piece as well- you might have heard it before!
This fortnight's piece is Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia composed in 1954.
It is a ballet based on the real life gladiator Spartacus. The ballet begins Spartacus and his wife Phrygia being captured by the Romans. They were separated and sent to do horrible thing so Spartacus decided to lead other captives to fight back against the Romans. They freed themselves and managed to find Phrygia again. They celebrate together and this is where the 'adagio' begins to play.
Adagio means slow, so what is the tempo like in this piece?
How does the music make you feel?
What instruments can you hear?
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873- 1943)
Rachmaninov was a Russian composer, virtuoso pianist and conductor during the late Romantic Period.
He was influenced by many Russian composers including Tchaikovsky. Rachmaninov started playing piano at the age of four and graduated at the Moscow conservatory.
He loved including the piano in most of his compositions and explored the many different qualities the instrument possessed through his own piano skills.
Fun fact: Rachmaninov's piano music always had large chords (a group of notes played at the same time) because he had extremely large hands.
Other pianists had to find different ways to play the chords because they were too hard to play.
This fortnight's piece is Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934)
It is one of his most famous works for solo piano and orchestra. Paganini was a violinist who composed some small tunes- one of these pieces became the inspiration for composers such as Rachmaninov for this piece.
He took the tune, and made little changes to it called 'variations'. Our piece is just one of the variations.
If you want to listen to the whole of this beautiful piece you can!
Edvard Grieg (1843 -1907)
Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist of the Romantic period.
He used lots of Norwegian folk music in his compositions which made many people more aware of Norwegian music.
He came from the city of Bergen, which now has many museums, statues and even halls named after him for this legacy that he left in the city.
When he was 15 his talent was recognised and was sent to a conservatory in Leipzig to develop his piano performance.
He sadly had poor health, in particular his lungs and heart were weak and he was in and out of hospital for a lot of his life.
This fortnight's piece is The Little Bird
This piece isn't one of Grieg's famous pieces, however it is a favourite for young pianists to learn. Liten fugl- which means little bird is one piece from a collection of 66 short pieces for the piano. What can you hear in the piece that makes you think of a bird? (Listen to the beginning in particular)
These short pieces were published from 1867-1901- his most famous ones being Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, To Spring, March of the Trolls and Butterfly. If you can, try and have a listen to these other little pieces (parents you might recognise them!).
Bedrich Smetana (1824 -1884)
Smetana was a Czech composer and was considered the father of Czech music.
He was a gifted composer and first performed at the age of 6.
He moved to Prague where he established himself as a champion of the new music of Czech opera with his most famous called 'The Bartered Bride'.
In 1874 Smetana had become completely deaf but he still managed to compose.
This fortnight's piece is The Moldau
The piece is one of six symphonic poems (a short musical piece which represents a poem, short story, painting or a landscape) that Smetana wrote. It is his most famous piece of music.
This piece is called Vltava and but translated in the Moldau. It is a piece that represents the river of its name and its course through the land.
Smetana describes its course: it begins as two small springs, flowing through woods and meadows, past ruins of castles and palaces, round the mermaids in the moonlight, through swirls rapids and then flows through Prague and then vanishes into the distance.
Can you hear any of these things in the music? Can you hear the swirls of the rapids or the mermaids in the moonlight?
Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840- 1893)
Tchaikovsky was a famous Russian composer of the Romantic Period. He was the first Russian composer who was known internationally in his time, conducting concerts in both Europe and the United states.
Tchaikovsky was offered a place to learn and perform music at Saint Petersburg Conservatory.
*A musical conservatory is a place where very talented musicians are trained by the best musicians from around the world- they are very hard to get into!*
Many Russian composers did not like Tchaikovsky's music because it didn't sound very Russian. In those times it was important to Russians to have a national identity and Tchaikovsky's music did not follow that.
This fortnight's piece is the Waltz of the Flowers, it is from Tchaikovsky's most famous ballet The Nutcracker(1892).
People didn't like the ballet when it was first shown and played. However, in the 1960s it became very popular and many ballet companies perform the ballet every year.
You can watch and listen to The Nutcracker here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtLoaMfinbU (it's long so maybe watch it in parts!)
Isaac Albeniz (1860- 1909)
Abeniz was a spanish virtuoso pianist, composer and conductor from the Post-Romantic era.
He is best known for his piano pieces that are based on Spanish folk music.
His piano music had then be transposed for classical guitar and became very important repertoire for a guitar player to learn- however Albeniz never composed for the guitar.
He was born in Camprodon part of the northern province of Catalonia.
He was considered a child prodigy and began performing at the age of 4. He even passed the entrance examination to the prestigious Paris Conservatory at the age of 7 but wasn't allowed in as he was too young.
By the age of 15 he had travelled and performed concerts worldwide.
This fortnight's piece is Asturias. It was composed originally for piano in 1892 as a prelude of a three movement work, Chants L'Espagne. This is it played on the piano and also on guitar. Which one do you prefer?
It is meant to have features of Andalusian flamenco music. Does it make you want to dance?
Asturias is meant to make you think of the flamenco dancing. Here is some flamenco to inspire you:
Felix Mendelssohn. (1809-1847)
He is a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the Romantic Period. He has composed many different familiar pieces of music such as 'Hark the Herold Angels Sing', the Wedding March and the violin concerto is also one of his more famous pieces.
Our piece this round however is his 'Hebrides Overture: Fingal's Cave.' He went on a trip to England and visited the Island, Staffa, in 1829. He was so moved by the landscape there that he thought of the tune for this piece straight away. He sent it to his sister along with the words:" In order to make you understand how extraordinarily the Hebrides affected me, I send you the following, which came into my head there."
Alexander Borodin (1833-1887)
Russian composer and chemist and even considered science his primary profession. He even founded the 'School of Medicine for Women' in Russia
He was part of Russia's “The Five” who were a group of composers who created a uniquely Russian kind of music.
Although many people told his parents he was a musical prodigy they didn't want to get him extra lessons and attention for his talent. However, he made his first public performance at the age of 9.
This fortnight's piece: Polovtsian Dances
These dances were part of Borodin's opera, Prince Igor.
The opera remained unfinished when Borodin died but other composers tried to finish it and these versions involved a chorus of singers. The dances are a much loved part of the opera so are often given a special place in concerts without the context of the rest of the opera.
Polovsty is the name given by Russians to the wandering Turkic people who existed in the middle ages that lived in the grasslands of Europe such as Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The music comes at a point when these people are dancing and have titles such as 'Dance of the Maidens' and 'Wild Dance of the Men'.
Here is the dance from the opera with the chorus.
Which version do you like?
Johann Strauss 11
Johann Strauss 11
Johann Strauss 11 (1825-1899)
-Austrian composer of 'light music' in particular dance music such as waltzes and polkas.
-He was known as the “Waltz King”
-His father, Johann Strauss 1, was also a composer of dance music but wanted his son to become a banker rather than a composer.
-His father was so well known that many people did not want to work with his son in case it made him angry. They became rivals!
This fortnight's piece is The Blue Danube (also called On the Beautiful Blue Danube) composed in 1866.
The River Danube is Europe's second largest river and flows through 10 countries!
Strauss's piece is one of the most popular pieces in classical music. However, when it was first played it wasn't considered a great success and was actually a song. He was asked to compose an instrument only version and this was the version that we know today.
Here is the original choir version sung by boys from Vienna, where Strauss was from.
Which version do you prefer? Why do you prefer it?
Here is a version with people dancing to the music! I hope you enjoy!
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
- German composer and pianist.
- His work is considered some of the most performed classical music ever.
- He was very talented from a young age and was initially taught music by his very harsh father.
-When he was 28, he started losing his hearing and by the time he was 45 he was completely deaf. He used vibrations to help him compose and as he lost his hearing he used lower notes a lot more because he could feel those vibrations the most.
-Beethoven's housekeepers remembered that as his hearing became worse, he would sit at the piano, put a pencil in his mouth and touched the other end of the pencil on the soundboard the piano to feel the vibration of the notes through the pencil.
This fortnight's piece: Moonlight Sonata
On of Beethoven's most loved and known piece of piano repertoire. It was composed in 1801. Beethoven dedicated the piece to a student of his at the time. The name of the piece is in reference to a poet who reviewed the music and likened the first movement of the piece to a boat floating in the moonlight in Switzerland.
What do you think about the music that might have made the poet think of this?
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
- Czech composer (born in Prague) and one of the first from his country to be known worldwide.
- He learned the violin from the age of six and later learned the organ and piano too.
- He was baptised into the Catholic church and his strong Christian faith strongly influenced his music.
-Dvorak regularly came to London to conduct different concerts and perform one of his famous religious pieces 'Stabat Mater'.
- He received and honorary degree from Cambridge University.
This fortnight's piece: New World Symphony: Movement 2
This is one of Dvorak's most famous works. Even Neil Armstrong took a recording of the music on his mission Apollo 11, the first moon landing.
Symphonies typically have four 'movements'- these are different sections of music. This one is called 'Largo' which means slow and broad. What is the name referring to when it means 'slow and broad'?
What instrument can you hear playing a solo near the beginning? What is the tempo like?