The creative and performing arts are an integral part of the curriculum at Yarrells. Our belief is that a creative curriculum develops fundamental skills of self-confidence, collaboration, self-discipline and the joy of self-expression. The children at Yarrells have many opportunities to be involved in performances, from class assemblies and the Nursery Nativity to major dramatic and musical productions for our seniors. There are music groups galore and our pupils have the confidence to give anything a go, whether it’s starting out on the ukulele, break-dancing at the Summer Extravaganza or performing at our local cathedral in the school orchestra.
All children from Nutkins to Year 8 enjoy the benefits that dance can bring and participate in one dance session per week. Dance plays a role in developing a broad range of personal, learning and thinking skills that help the children improve these skills for performance in school and for life. The lessons allow the children to be creative, exploring a range of ideas during improvisation as well as work through technical steps in a range of dance genres. Much of the work we do is linked beautifully with other curriculum areas, allowing for deeper learning and interpretation to take place. The children are given the opportunity to perform on stage throughout the year, showcasing their newly found skills in a variety of show performances.
Creative, improvisational drama classes are part of the curricular week for all children. Drama encourages self-confidence, the ability to articulate ideas, co-operation and self-discipline. Our creative drama classes help students live and work in a changing world, where flexibility will be a crucial part of life. As the world becomes more digital, it is important to help students understand the importance of face to face contact and boost their communication skills.
Lessons are full of fun and laughter as students improvise their way through many situations including: ‘What is that smell?’, ‘We’re lost!’ and ‘What’s in that box?’.
Performances are given each year in our main hall, which is converted into a theatre with full staging, scenery, lighting and sound systems. Our shows are filled with music, dance, fine costumes and lively sets. Recent performances include ‘Alice in Wonderland – the musical’, ‘Oliver Twist – the musical’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World!’.
Individual Speech and Drama lessons are also available and children may take exams in both Verse and Prose, and Acting with LAMDA (The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). These classes are suitable for both budding thespians and for those who need to build their confidence. Exams are not compulsory, but taken when the student feels confident and ready.
All children from Nursery onwards enjoy singing and percussion classes and learn to play the recorder and ukulele from age 7. In Year 4, the children then enter a ‘musical carousel’ and experience group instrumental lessons on a selection of instruments. From Year 5, the children start using keyboards to help enhance their musical learning.
All children take part in at least two staged performances each year. This is wonderful for building their confidence, self-expression and self-esteem.
Music is taught by specialist staff and many pupils also take individual lessons in piano, voice, guitar or an orchestral instrument. Children are prepared for the examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity Guildhall. Theory lessons and ear training sessions are also available for the candidates prior to their exams.
Musical appreciation is enhanced by visits to professionally performed concerts, a regular one being the BSO Schools’ Concert, and our peripatetic staff regularly perform in assemblies. Children learning instruments are also encouraged to perform in assembly when they feel ready.
Yarrells’ music department runs a large number of extra-curricular clubs to which all children are invited:-
- Junior and Senior recorder clubs
- Junior and Senior orchestras
- Junior and Senior choirs and a senior chamber choir
- Yarrells band for aspiring pop artists
- Yazz Jazz for senior pupils
- Hand bells club
- Ukulele club