In a boys-only environment, it is ‘cool’ to sing in the choir and in Chapel and to learn and show off your dance moves (in class or just around school). We encourage boys to take individual music lessons during the school day, as learning an instrument takes dedication and practice, extending the brain in a unique manner. Highbury’s cultural programme is designed to nurture and support boys as they grow in confidence and expressive ability, moving into high school as adept communicators. Our quality music education cultivates social skills, teaches discipline and patience and boosts self-esteem. It is joyful and it is brave and our boys love their barefooted time in our spacious FP and SP music rooms.
Every Highbury boy is able to explore many cultural experiences and happily find his niche: be it acting, playing an instrument, movement to music, public speaking, singing in the choir, or interacting during class music and drama.
Music forms part of the boys’ curriculum as a non-examinable subject. All boys from Grade R-7 attend Music lessons for at least once per week. In Foundation Phase, music lessons are often linked to Grade themes each term through songs, poetry, choral verses and orals. Linking their music lessons to class themes allows for further exploration and expression of concepts, facts and ideas. Boys are introduced to music history and form and listen to a wide variety of music styles. They learn to read music notation and play instruments, performing individually and in a group, starting with percussion instruments.
In Grade 3, our boys work hard to master note reading by learning to play the recorder. In Senior Primary, class music lessons build music literacy and music reading skills as well as music history. Voice production, song form and production and the boys’ favorite, bands, are all explored. Movement plays a vital role, teaching time, pulse and rhythm to get the body and mind into the flow of the music. 2019 saw our first Senior Primary Inter-Class Singing Competition, in which each class worked together to choreograph and perform a song, complete with costumes, face paint and special effects.
Individual Music Lessons
It is remarkable to note how many Highbury boys learn an individual instrument and perform regularly at concerts. Each term there are Elementary and Advanced Concerts for parents and extended family, which provide a wonderful opportunity for boys to display their skills and learn concert etiquette. The Leavers’ Concert is always a special occasion at which we celebrate our Grade 7 boys as they perform for their last time at Highbury.
Tuition is available during school hours on a wide variety of instruments, including guitar (acoustic, electric and bass), flute, drum kit, piano, violin, viola, ukelele, cello, voice training, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet. Many instruments are available to hire for a nominal fee on a termly basis, enabling boys to explore different options without the barrier of having to purchase the instrument. Music theory group lessons are held weekly and boys progress through the Trinity College Music Theory exams.
Highbury’s orchestra was founded by Mrs Gill Scott in 2001, making 2020 the 20th year of this wonderful musical group. Orchestra is an opportunity for boys who have been learning an individual instrument to come together for practices and performances throughout the year. The boys are delighted by the music they are able to create together and the sense of team and camaraderie is very meaningful to all who take part. For younger Highbury boys, watching the orchestra perform inspires them as to the range of instruments they could learn.
Foundation Phase &
Senior Primary Choirs
Our Foundation Phase Choir is made up of Grade 3s and our Senior Primary Choir is boys from Grades 4-7. The choir practices during school hours and performs for our Easter services, our school plays, our Christmas Carol evenings and on Speech Nights. During the year, there are also often concerts at school or at other schools in the Highway area and boys and parents alike thoroughly enjoy these events. Singing has been proven to be extremely beneficial to brain development and mental health and we are proud to instil a love of singing in our boys. Highbury is without doubt alive with the sound of music!
Drama Lessons & School Plays
Drama offers learners the opportunity to explore and express in a safe and controlled environment. In addition to the academic content, boys experiment with mime, dance, drama, improvisation, script writing and stage performance.
During a time-tabled lesson, boys in Grades 1-3 develop their performing skills in Voice Characterisation, Narrative and Ensemble acting. They use drama games and exercises to explore and express their own ideas about the world in which we live.
The annual Foundation Phase School play is a highlight of the year in which every boy takes part. In Senior Primary there is also a production every year, on a 3-yearly cycle of ‘small’, ‘medium’ and ‘epic’ because of their very full academic curriculum. Every boy therefore gets the opportunity to play a role in productions in both Foundation Phase and Senior Primary.
School productions are never easy – they are challenging, creatively chaotic, tiring and move boys out of their comfort zones. However, they are all worth it in the end as milestones of personal growth for so many boys and ‘forever memories.’
Art lessons will continue to be a creative exploration of colour, paint, texture and other materials. Lessons are planned and designed specifically to stimulate illustrative and craft creativity. We have three dedicated Art Rooms at Highbury in Grade R, Foundation Phase and Senior Primary. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist” and this is superbly proven by our Highbury boys. They receive the same instructions for projects and yet their individuality shines through in the way they interpret and create based on those instructions.
We continue to offer our boys an unforgettable experience through the use of a variety of subject matter and materials, including wood, clay, linoleum, watercolours, chalk, oil pastel, chalk pastel, wool and even match sticks. Art takes perseverance, it is a chance to create rather than to consume, to appreciate that others see things differently and that is to be celebrated.
Public Speaking & Reading
There is no doubt about the value of public speaking in life. Highbury’s traditional Term 3 Public Speaking and Reading Competition has, for more than 50 years, been grooming boys to be confident in front of an audience and able to craft captivating and informative speeches.
Our external adjudicators are always amazed at the standard of excellence achieved. Highbury’s fostering of public speaking ability is exceptional, growing a life-long skill that sets our boys apart.