Music at Marlborough College Malaysia

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Music has been shown to play an important and integral role in a comprehensive education. Marlborough College’s Director of Music Geraint Watkins takes a closer look at the school’s offerings and shares why music is such a crucial- and sometimes overlooked- element in a well-rounded educational programme.

With a current roll of almost 825 pupils, Marlborough College Malaysia is an educational establishment which is continually evolving. A key part of the school is its thriving Music Department. With a curriculum that delivers practical music from Reception (age 4+), all the way through to the Shell (Year 9), an increasing number of pupils are taking Music as an IGCSE option, and also as an IB option in the Sixth Form. This is complemented by some cutting edge facilities including 24 individual teaching and practice studios; three dedicated music rooms for class teaching; and a brand new, state-of-theart recording studio.

At Marlborough, we are firm believers that music is an important aspect of any young person’s upbringing. It is an activity and academic subject that can stimulate creativity and inspire passion. It demonstrates intellectual competence, independent thinking and, in many cases, a desire for integration with others through ensemble participation. The College boasts a number of ensembles, ranging from the numerous choirs and instrumental ensembles in the Prep and Senior Schools, to the College Orchestra and more specialised music making of the Baroque Ensemble and several Rock Bands.

I am fortunate as the Director of Music to have a very strong team behind me: 10 peripatetic teachers deliver just under 300 lessons each week, and this is constantly on the increase; and there is a newly appointed Head of Prep School Music, Jonathan Ang, who teaches throughout the Pre-Prep and Prep Schools, as well as coordinating and leading group ensembles. He is supported by a specialist music classroom assistant to ensure that all classes can be fully differentiated whilst still being able to stretch and challenge those pupils who may have more musical experience than others.

Most exciting however is the addition of a Musician in Residence to the department, Mr Philip Monk. This position has been created in response to the greater uptake of instrumental, and Key Stage 4 and 5 music at the College. A Music teacher at Marlborough, whether it be in Nusajaya, or indeed Wiltshire in the UK, is required to be an administrator, a leader, an organiser, a practitioner, a demonstrator, an orator, amongst many things; but most importantly of all a competent and passionate musician who is ready to embrace everything that a busy boarding school life has to throw at them. Phillip, a music graduate of extremely high calibre, delivers one-to-one lessons to flautists, pianists, and more recently, a Ukulele player; he assists with a number of curriculum lessons from the Lower Prep, up to the higher end of the Senior School; he plays and assists with College ensembles; accompanies choirs and congregational singing; organises lunchtime concerts and other performance opportunities for pupils; gives one-toone tutorials to all IGCSE and IB pupils; alongside the normal Boarding House duties that any member of the MCM Common Room counts as part of their daily lives at the College.

Music at Marlborough is an integral part of College life, from our many talented pupils, to the specialist beaks and Musician in Residence, we offer more than just music lessons, we invite individuals to discover themselves and to share their passion and enthusiasm through participation in orchestras, choirs and ensembles, it is very much the passionate spirit that encapsulates the MCM Music Department.

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Source: The Expat magazine December 2015


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