We aim to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of music in all its forms through practical music-making and listening in the classroom and beyond. Music has the ability to touch the soul of all people and is a truly international language. It is an outlet for creativity and the expression of the individual. The benefits of studying music and learning instruments for developing concentration and intellectual growth in all areas of education have been well documented.
Students are taught the written language of music through conventional and other notations and are encouraged to understand and appreciate musical styles from a variety of cultures and historical periods. Practical music-making is at the heart of the curriculum but the opportunities for musical creativity through technology and computers are also encouraged from year 7 onwards.
Staff Names and Roles
- Mrs P Parrans-Smith – Director of Music
- Mr R McBrien – Teacher of Music
Useful Websites to support your son’s learning
Opportunities Outside of Lessons
We seek to give opportunities to all students to express themselves through music as well as appreciating and being moved by listening to other musicians. Instrumental lessons are available to all students irrespective of financial means. Tuition is available on all orchestral instruments plus saxophone, euphonium, drum-kit, dhol, tabla, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, piano and singing
All students involved in instrumental lessons are encouraged to take part in at least one, sometimes several, of our extra-curricular ensembles. Our main ensembles include Big Band, Concert Band, String Orchestra, Senior Dhol Group, Little Big Band, Training Band, Aston Choir and Acafellas and our Senior Chamber Ensemble for Grade 7+ musicians.
Developing musicianship through small chamber ensembles is an important theme of the department and the present ensembles include Senior Sax Quartet, Mixed Sax Ensemble, clarinet ensemble, flute group, trumpet ensemble, percussion group, string quartet, lower brass ensemble and a large acoustic guitar ensemble.
Jazz and improvisation is also encouraged through the senior Jazz Ensemble and also the Big Band and Little Big Band.
There is progression for most instruments through the ensembles as all instrumentalists are encouraged start playing in the Training Band after just a short time of starting on instrument.
Concerts are given regularly and there are also many opportunities for solo performances in the Informal concerts and other events such as the Young Musician of the Year Competition.
The senior bands (Big Band, Concert Band and String Orchestra) all go on a 5-day concert tour abroad every other year and have recently toured Belgium, Paris, Germany and, this year, Holland and Luxembourg.
The department puts on a musical each year with girls from King Edward VI Handsworth. Recent productions at Aston have included Guys & Dolls, Les Miserables, Our House, West Side Story, Thrupenny Opera and Oliver.