The Music Department emphasises the enjoyment of music-making and encourages pupils to pursue a wide range of musical activities.
In Years 8, 9 and 10 the pupils engage in performing, composing and listening activities. Performing and composing work focuses on singing (voice production, sight-singing, unison, part-singing and rounds), recorder playing (catering both for beginners and for those with previous experience), percussion (tuned and untuned) and keyboard work (basic keyboard skills, including playing with hands together). Listening activities allow the girls to study a wide range of composers and their music, for which the department possesses a wide range of CDs, tapes and videos.
In Years 11 and 12 pupils may choose to study Music to GCSE level. This course continues the performing, composing and listening work of the Junior School, and the final examination includes performing two pieces (solo and ensemble, on an instrument of the pupil’s choice), submitting a folio of compositions, and a listening exam (including a number of Set Works).
In the Sixth Form the Department offers Music at both AS and A2 Levels. It is not essential for pupils to have studied Music to GCSE level in order to study the subject in the Sixth Form; the Head of Music will be happy to advise on a pupil’s suitability. Unit 1 contains performance and composition, while Unit 2 contains historical and analytical study of composers and genres, and aural perception. From September 2008, the compulsory area of study for AS Unit 2 will be Music for Orchestra, 1700 to 1900, and the optional areas of study will be Chamber Music, 1750 to 1830; Music for Solo Piano, 1825 to 1890; and The Musical, 1900 to Today.
For A2 Unit 2 the compulsory area of study will be Music for Orchestra in the Twentieth Century, and the optional areas of study will be English Secular Music, 1580 to 1600; New Directions in Twentieth Century Music; and Jazz in the USA, 1930 to 1960. Some pupils choose to study Music in the Sixth Form as a basis for future study at University; others simply for the enjoyment of the subject and the opportunity to develop their musical skills to a high level. The Department possesses a comprehensive library of books and musical scores for advanced-level study.
Extra-curricular musical activities flourish at Hunterhouse College. The Orchestra rehearses once a week and performs regularly in assemblies, concerts and dramatic productions. Smaller groups and ensembles include the Jazz Group, Flute Group, String Group and Recorder Group and perform in concerts and lunchtime recitals. Pupils who enjoy singing are encouraged to join the Junior Choir (Years 8-10) and Senior Choir (Years 11-14), who sing at the annual Christmas Celebration, the Spring Concert, and other events and formal occasions (e.g. Prize Day) throughout the year. Many of the college’s musicians compete in local music festivals, often with great success. In recent years Hunterhouse College musicians have performed in Belfast Cathedral, Hillsborough Castle, The Odyssey Arena and in Dublin as part of a cross-border musical exchange.
Individual tuition is available in Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Drum Kit, Guitar (acoustic and electric), Piano and Singing. The school owns a number of orchestral instruments which may be hired to pupils taking instrumental lessons, subject to availability. There are two class teaching rooms (both equipped with a networked PC and data projector), a music technology room with ten PCs running Sibelius score-writing software, a rock studio and four practice rooms in the department. A small rehearsal hall is also located near the Music Department.