Music plays a very central role in the life of the Cathedral Choir School. The Choristers are obviously an important part of the music department; however there is very much an ethos of 'music for all' and children of all ages and abilities are encouraged to take part in every aspect of music making.
There are many opportunities for performance. A weekly concert is held on Fridays which is very informal and allows pupils to get used to playing to an audience. Children also play in assemblies every Friday. In addition to these, there is a termly lunchtime concert - friends and family join us for lunch and then are entertained by a huge number of musicians from the school community. There are also formal end of term performances. The choir sings for our termly whole school assembly in the Cathedral and also leads the school Carol Service. Children take part in local music festivals and are encouraged to take the ABRSM examinations in which our pupils achieve consistently excellent results.
Almost from the word 'go', pupils are encouraged to experience the excitement and artistic satisfaction of making music in an ensemble of some kind. Our ensembles currently include
Y1 - 3 Choir
Y7 and 8 Rock Group
As well as all this, we aim to develop our most able musicians. Theory classes are held weekly at every level from Beginner to Grade 5. This allows pupils to make the natural progression through the grades alongside their practical progression and is preferable to 'cramming' for Grade 5 when it becomes essential! A composition club is also held where children write their own music - this ranges from hymns to pop songs via pieces for a wide range of instruments.
We have a vibrant and distinguished team of instrumental music teachers and all pupils are encouraged to choose an instrument and then inspired to continue with it.
Director of Music at Ripon Cathedral Choir School:
Mrs H Craven, BA (Oxford Brookes), GTP (Reading)
Director of Music at Ripon Cathedral:
A J Bryden BMus (Aberdeen) PGCE (Leeds) FRCO
Mrs D Critchley GRSM ARCM - Clarinet
Mrs N Dowell BA LRSM - Flute
Miss K Stables - Violin
Mrs C Thomson-Jones GRSM LRAM ARCM - Brass, Piano & Brass Group
Mrs L Law B Mus (Sheffield) - Cello, Theory
Ms J Lomax - Bassoon
Mrs R Morgan ARCM Cert Ed (Leeds) - Violin, Viola, Theory and Chamber Music
Dr K E Ounsley BSc (Hons:Open), MA(Open), PhD (Hull), Cert Ed (Nottingham),
LRAM- Piano, Theory
Mrs A Owens BA (Birmingham) MMus (RNCM) Pg Dip (Royal Academy) LRAM - Oboe
Miss C Strafford BA Cert Ed (Leeds) - Singing, Theory
Mr T Walker - Guitar
At RCCS the most up to date teaching techniques engage children in energetic lessons. Lessons cover all aspects of music - listening, composing and performing. We listen to music from the Renaissance period through to pop music, ensuring that children have a healthy and wide understanding of all musical genres. Regardless of ability, children are able to achieve to the very highest standards.
The Choir School has begun a programme of outreach to local primary schools. At present, it mainly involves singing, and it is hoped that this will culminate in services and concerts in the cathedral. It is hoped to develop this further to include instrumental teaching. If anyone is interested in receiving outreach visits from the Choir School, please contact