Music at Cordwalles is Alive and Thriving!

The last few years at Cordwalles have been very exciting as we have become our very own Department, in a wonderful environment. The previous Pre-Primary section of the school is a perfect venue for all the ‘musos’! The latest development is that in early 2019, we are going to be undergoing some renovations, making the block even more accessible.  All lessons take place at one of the five different rooms.  With the changes, we will be able to hold small concerts and practices in the middle section of the block, and three practice rooms will be created.

Whilst noisy drumming lessons may be taking place, one can still concentrate on the intricacies of a Baroque Grade 4 piano piece without being disturbed.  We have two permanent staff members, as well as six peripatetic teachers offering tuition in a number of different instruments.

Nearly 150 boys are now learning an individual instrument with the interest being spread and shared amongst drum kit, piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone, ukulele, recorder and guitar. The more formal instruments are costly, so we are working on building up a selection for hire. Hopefully this will encourage boys to experiment more.

Boys in Grades 2, 3 & 4 receive a formal lesson in recorder and theory once a week, and from identifying them at this level we hope to promote more private instruction in woodwind instruments. In addition to recorder, boys in grades 3 and 4 are also given violin, guitar and ukulele lessons.  This has been an exciting launch and the boys are thoroughly enjoying this diversity.

The Junior choir meet once a week and all boys who are in Grades 3 & 4 are encouraged to join and enjoy singing and basic part singing. This is an excellent preparation for the Senior Choir, which has 90 boys. Here, boys learn to sing in soprano, alto and tenor. The standard that they have reached has been commendable. The boys lead both the Easter and Christmas services, as well as the annual Combined Choirs event, which Cordwalles hosts. When possible, they have also sung at outside venues and with great success at old age homes and other schools, bringing much joy and entertainment to their audiences.

The drum line has recently taken on a new approach.  No longer is it the requirement that they be proficient drummers and taking private lessons.  Beginners showing aptitude and commitment may join and attend these sessions once a week.

The saxophone ensemble has grown in strength and proficiency, and has become an important part of the music department in its own right.

The violin ensemble and all strings meet once a week and have also reached a most commendable level, able to participate in all school functions and services.  This area has grown from strength to strength.

Djembe Troupe is an excellent group for boys who are perhaps not as committed in other musical areas of the school, but who are just as enthusiastic and capable. This is a very lively group of over 25 boys who meet to explore new rhythms and movement, and is a popular activity.

Due to the ‘explosion’ of guitar tuition over the past two years, a guitar group has been meeting once a week to combine forces! This has been most successful, and even boys who learn outside the school are most welcome to participate. Basic chord knowledge is necessary, but boys learn quickly and are keen to catch up too.  These boys make up the rock guitar group and perform regularly at school events, internally and externally.

The rock band continues to “wow” audiences with their constantly changing repertoire of old and new.  With the large numbers of guitarists as well as vocalists, we are spoilt for choice in our selection process.

Pop idols has continued to grow from strength to strength, and is still a highlight, although 2019 may see some changes to this old favourite.

With so many boys involved in the Music Department, we are proud of their achievements and commitment and look forward to many wonderful concerts and continued growth.

The Cordwalles Music Department 2019 offers tuition in the following:

  • Piano
  • Violin
  • Saxophone
  • Clarinet
  • Voice
  • Drum Kit
  • Folk guitar
  • Ukulele
  • Recorder
  • Theory

Please note the following conditions and points of interest, which apply to the Music Tuition Programme:

1. Fees
The fees for music tuition at Cordwalles range from R1200,00 to R1800,00 per term 8 to 10 lessons per term (depending on the teacher).  In the event of a pupil starting with lessons during the course of the term, the charge will be pro rata.  Where pupils share a lesson (e.g. theory and guitar) the fee will be adjusted according to the shared scale. Please note that should your son require accompaniment for exams and eisteddfods, this will be charged separately and should be paid directly to the school accompanist.
2. Instruments
All pupils must have an instrument on which to practise regularly.  Boarders taking lessons do have access to practice rooms, but please bear in mind that your son will need to continue practising during the holidays in order to progress.  Drum pupils must have their own drumsticks, but need not have a full drum kit of their own.  It is also possible to rent instruments where appropriate, but not for longer than 2 terms. Please ensure that instruments and cases are labelled clearly.
3. Cancellation of lessons by the pupil
Please keep a close eye on the school calendar card or any other communications from your son’s class teacher re class outings:  It is your responsibility to let your son’s music teacher know if a lesson is going to be missed because of an outing.  If enough notice of this is given (at least 2 days), it will be possible to re-schedule such a lesson, but if the teacher is not informed, you are liable for payment.   Most of the Music staff also teach at other schools and although we endeavour to inform them of changes to the usual timetable, the Music Department is not always aware of internal changes.
4. Cancellation of lesson by the teacher
If a teacher misses a lesson (through illness, Eisteddfod commitments, etc.), the lesson will be made up within a reasonable time.  Failing this, you will be credited for the lesson missed. Regular lessons are of the utmost importance to your son, both where his progress is concerned, as well as his continued interest.
5. Payment of Fees
Monthly or termly invoicing and payment of fees is negotiated directly with the teacher involved and are payable in advance, unless by mutual agreement.
6. Notice Period
If a pupil decides to discontinue lessons, one month’s notice in writing, signed by the parent or guardian needs to be given.  This rule is negotiable where a pupil has been playing for less than a term and has decided that the instrument is not the right one for him.  We would like to encourage boys to try to find the ‘right’ instrument for him, hence the leeway where notice for beginners is concerned.
7. Music books and exam fees
The cost of music, books and exam fees is not included in the tuition fees.  The teacher will assist in the ordering of books where possible, but neither the teacher nor the school is responsible for payment thereof.  Due notice will be given to parents when books are needed, or when exam fees are due.
8. Parental involvement
Learning a new instrument is an exciting, but often also a daunting task for a young learner.  Your involvement, interest and encouragement can make all the difference where your sons’ progress and continued interest is concerned.  Please help him to get into the habit of daily practising by reminding him to do so – there are lots of other things also taking his attention and a gentle reminder will not go amiss!  The self-discipline he learns this way will stand him in good stead for many years.


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