Head of Prep School Music
E-mail: Mrs R. WilliamsPGCE, PGDip, BMus (HONS)
Mrs Ruth Williams obtained a BMus(HONS) degree from Huddersfield University before studying as a Postgraduate in professional performance at Birmingham Conservatoire. As a young flautist she was signed to EMI Classics with the classical crossover group, The Planets. The band toured worldwide, and their album reached No.1 in the classical music charts in 2002.
After leaving The Planets, Mrs Williams worked as a freelance flautist and teacher. She played orchestrally and as a session musician for several years, before enrolling at Roehampton University to study for a PGCE in secondary music. Mrs Williams is keen to maintain her skills as a flautist, and performs regularly with the Kingston Chamber Orchestra and Erato Orchestra, with whom she has performed several concerti.
On leaving Roehampton Mrs Williams taught at Caterham School, before joining Cranleigh School in 2010 as Head of Woodwind and Brass. In 2017 she was delighted to move to Cranleigh Prep School as Head of Music.
There is a vibrant and thriving musical environment at Cranleigh Prep, with an atmosphere of purposeful music making and a great respect for musical talent. Children enjoy the opportunities of weekly academic music lessons, supported by a healthy variety of competitions, concerts, plays and workshops.
In class lessons the children follow a curriculum that enhances their personal music understanding; developed through the activities of performing, composing, listening and discussion. They will use a variety of instruments and equipment, learn to listen critically to a wide range of music, discover and use informed musical language and vocabulary, develop an understanding of musical elements and structure, and be encouraged to express their feelings and responses to music.
Many children also choose to become involved in the wider musical life of the school by learning instruments, taking part in the varied ensemble programme, or becoming a Music Award holder. Many of the high-profile events during a school year have music at their core and there are correspondingly impressive standards expected and achieved at all levels.
Cranleigh Music 7-18
These varied opportunities support and encourage children to develop an enjoyment and appreciation of a wide range of music, alongside wide-ranging personal skills such as independence, imagination, perseverance and team work. Music helps to increase self-confidence, self-discipline and creativity, giving children a powerful medium through which to communicate and express themselves.
This is achieved through the innovative ‘Cranleigh Music 7-18’ initiative, which unites the Music Departments of Cranleigh Preparatory School and Cranleigh School into a single strategic, managerial, administrative and performance structure.
Key staff work across the whole age range, giving unparalleled opportunities to track the needs of individual musicians. Instrumental and vocal tuition is delivered by professional staff and we promote a logical and cohesive progression in the building up of individual musical skills. Please visit the admissions pages of the website for details of the music scholarships on offer.
Lower School (Forms 1 & 2)
In the Lower School the aim is to introduce the children to a wide range of musical activities. Form 1 has the opportunity to learn the violin and the cello, as well as class singing and performance-based activities. There is a focus on group performance with opportunities to sing in a large combined choir. Throughout the year there will be visits from instrumental teachers to demonstrate orchestral instruments, for which we provide taster lessons for interested children.
Middle School (Forms 3 & 4)
Form 3 spend the Michaelmas term working on a musical where all children have a role to play, from a few lines to a main solo part. The focus is very much on enjoyment and working together. Everyone in the year group is involved and this provides a taster for plays and musicals further up the school, where children will be expected to audition for parts. Academic music in the Middle School also focuses on the basic building blocks of music, such as theory, composition, listening and performance.
Upper School (Forms 5 & 6)
Form 5 spend the Summer term working jointly with the Drama department to produce a musical. This is a very exciting product as the older children are involved in all aspects from singing, acting and dancing, to choreography, stage design and an introduction to technical theatre. The Upper School also focus on Music Technology projects using Garageband and Sibelius software.
Music performance is highly regarded at Cranleigh Prep, and there are numerous opportunities in all year groups to perform. From large scale musicals and concerts to more relaxed Informal Concerts, children have plenty of opportunities to display their talent and build confidence.