Director of Music Elly Sturges talks about Music at Millfield Prep

An essential element in the education of the whole child.

At Millfield Prep, the Music Department tries to inspire pupils to enjoy their music-making at all levels, whether that be within the classroom or leading the school orchestra. We offer excellent facilities, tuition on a wide range of instruments, a lively and positive atmosphere and endless opportunities for performance.

Music is regarded as an essential element to make a child's education whole and plays a very important part within the life of the school. All pupils from Year 3 to Year 8 have music timetabled on a weekly basis and every pupil is encouraged to either learn an instrument or sing in a choir.

Gifted and talented pupils are taught in a parallel programme to further their development as advanced musicians. The Edgarley Ensemble is a ‘scholarship’ chamber music and general musicianship group for selected Year 8 pupils to meet and enjoy learning a beautiful advanced-level chamber repertoire for performance. This offers exceptional opportunities as an extension to the existing programme.

Throughout pupils’ time here, the key focus is on the understanding of music, which is supported by development of aural skills, using instruments and voice. Pupils are introduced to the concepts of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, duration, timbre, texture and beat. They also learn good singing technique, developing composition and performance skills. Music from different periods of history and different cultures are also explored.

It is perhaps the fact that every child is encouraged to perform which produces such a varied crop of confident and accomplished singers, fiddlers, trumpeters and so on, plus those who just do it for fun.

The Good Schools Guide

Outstanding facilities and opportunities

There is a purpose-built Music Department where all class music lessons and individual tuition takes place. The department has 22 teaching/practice rooms over two floors, which are used for individual music lessons and small group rehearsals. There are also two large classrooms, which are used for group teaching and these are well-equipped with instruments, including a large number of tuned and untuned percussion, keyboards and music software. The department has a large Recital Hall within the block, which seats around 200 people, and this is used regularly for smaller concerts and recitals. The Music Department stages their larger ensemble concerts and productions in the newly refurbished Assembly Hall/Theatre.

Individual music tuition is offered on the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp and guitar (classical and electric), flute, recorder, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, cornet, euphonium, French horn, tenor horn, trombone and tuba, drum kit, orchestral percussion, piano, organ and singing.

Twenty visiting music teachers work in the department alongside the Director of Music and Assistant Director of Music.

A huge number of extra-curricular activities are available to pupils on a weekly basis, including junior and senior choirs, guitar group, keyboard club, ukulele club, orchestra, wind band, jazz and blues band, string group, junior and senior rock bands, harp, flute, brass and percussion ensemble, music theory groups, aural training sessions and boarders' practice sessions.

Weekly support is also offered to relevant pupils with aural training, music theory and music scholarship preparation. Pupils are currently entered for exams with The Associated Board of Music, Trinity/Guildhall School of Music, London College of Music Musical Theatre and Pop/Rock Exams.

Many Millfield Prep pupils go on to achieve Music Scholarship awards each year. In the last five years, pupils have gained 54 Music Scholarship Awards to independent senior schools and last year eight of our pupils were awarded full music scholarships at senior level with two being awarded exhibitions.


Music is outstanding. The number and scope of ensembles would not disgrace a senior school and musicians benefit from what’s laid on in school

The Good Schools Guide

An exciting array of opportunities to perform

All pupils are given numerous opportunities to perform both within the school and at external venues throughout the year. There are several concerts each term and these vary enormously in style from classical recitals through to rock & pop concerts. House Music competitions, school assemblies and school productions provide further performance opportunities for pupils and these are put on regularly either in the Recital Hall or in the Assembly Hall/Theatre. The department also hosts Tea & Music Concerts, which are more informal occasions in which pupils can perform. The larger formal concerts take place once a term and feature the numerous musical groups that rehearse on a weekly basis. Pupils also perform externally, at festivals and competitions, on a regular basis and the highlight of each Autumn Term is always the school Carol Service, which takes place at Wells Cathedral.

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