Here, at St John’s Beaumont, the fundamental belief is that every boy has some level of creative ability and it is, therefore, our aim to foster this creativity in as wide a manner as possible whilst also instilling a lasting interest in and appreciation in the History of the subjects.
The Aims of the Art School are:
Every boy has the opportunity to exhibit in the Annual Art Exhibition which is held in the Summer Term. The Art Clubs are always popular and students are encouraged to attend these after-school activities in order to further their studies and complete additional work for their portfolios.
Apart from the timetabled classes the Art School also provides evening classes, holiday courses and individual tuition for those students who are particularly keen to pursue their studies in the subject.
Over the past 10 years the Art School has assisted numerous students in obtaining Top Art Scholarships to their senior schools.
The Music School at St John's Beaumont is very well equipped and is housed in its own building with the Hoy Theatre. Boys receive weekly class music lessons throughout the School and learn musical skills encompassing the broad categories of listening, performing, composing and appraising.
There is plenty of practical music-making, composition and improvisation, aural training, historical appreciation and analytical listening, whilst sequencing and music technology also feature. In Years 2 and 3, all boys learn the violin, recorder and keyboard as part of their class music activities and older boys will progress to study musical topics that specifically relate to foundation GCSE music material.
At St John’s, the aims of the Music School are:
The music department at SJB aims to inspire and promote confidence, self-expression, camaraderie and a sense of drive and purpose, The boys undertaking music at SJB are encouraged to be responsible for their own musical pathway and develop their own sense of self-worth and self-determination and this has led the Music School to become a hubbub of energy, a confluence of creativity and a vibrant life force within the school.
Music may be the activity that prepared our pre-human ancestors for speech communications and for the very cognitive, representational flexibility necessary to become humans. - Daniel J. Levitin, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.
At St. John’s, choral music is deeply embedded in the spiritual and educational life of the school and aims to provide a journey of development for boys of all abilities. For those boys who have a natural passion and talent for singing, the Chapel Choir provides an outstanding opportunity for musical and spiritual growth, but the choral programme also aims to support boys at all stages of their musical journey. Whilst the Chapel Choir acts as the centrepiece of the choral music programme, to which many boys will aspire, there are other opportunities to be found in the Middle-School Choir (fun and non-auditioned), Training Choir (preparation for Chapel Choir), and Cambiata Choir (for boys whose voices are in the early stages of male-voice change).
The standard of choral singing in the Chapel Choir is ambitious: The auditioned Chapel Choir aspires to sing cathedral repertoire and performs at regular services, both at whole-school liturgical events and further afield. Recent visits have included: singing Choral Evensong at St.George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace. The annual carol services, performed by the Chapel Choir, are a highlight of the school calendar.
Instrumental tuition is offered on a wide variety of instruments by a dedicated and exceptional peripatetic team. There are 14 visiting staff and instrumental choices include harp, orchestral percussion, guitar, drums, piano, woodwind, brass, voice, violin and the cello. The School hosts ABRSM examinations every term, and boys are encouraged to take the opportunity to gain these musical qualifications, with several reaching Distinction at Grade 8 in both practical and theoretical examinations over the last few years.
Formal concerts for all levels are held regularly each term, and a yearly School Music Competition is held. In addition, the boys participate in external concerts to selected public venues. Informal performances are also given by a variety of chamber duos, trios and ensembles. The school orchestra performs at school functions and at selected concerts.
The Music department aims to provide a diverse musical education to all and advance any musical study boys may undertake so that each boy can achieve his best.
The Music department has had a gratifying number of boys who have won an array of Music Scholarships to the most prestigious establishments, including Eton, Wellington, Winchester College, as well as placements to Junior Music Schools such as The Royal Academy of Music. In addition, boys with specific stand-alone skills in songwriting, composing, performing, singing, music technology, will be encouraged to work to focus their talents towards all-round scholarships, in conjunction with other subjects.
There is now a strong tradition of talented composers emerging from SJB. Boys have entered and gained placements in prestigious classical composing competitions and Nationwide pop-based music competitions. The diversity and range of composing at SJB is tailored to the creative compositional direction of each individual boy and the composers club and songwriting club meet weekly.
Drama is taught as part of the normal school curriculum to all boys from Reception up to Year 5, but also as an extra-curricular activity to boys from Years 3 to 8.
The School has staged a wide variety of productions, ranging from the toe-tapping, splurge firing musical ‘Bugsy’ to everyone’s favourite, ‘Joseph’, and from the allegorical ‘Lord of the Flies’ to the neon-fuelled ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’. In short, there is something for every taste and palette.
Drama plays an important part in the wider curriculum at St John’s: there will always be a large cohort of boys who relish the opportunity to perform in public, but equally there will be those who initially lack the confidence to step forward and participate in such opportunities. At St John’s we encourage all boys to ‘get involved’ in some manner and experience the exhilaration and pride of being involved, in whatever way, in a school-wide production.
During curriculum lessons the boys’ focus is on LAMDA examinations and at least one public
performance per year. All boys in Years 3 and 4 take group LAMDA examinations but a great many besides also prepare for individual examinations.
The school has recently built an outdoor theatre which the boys can use in their free time to create and stage their own production.