Music at Methody
Music has been regarded as important at Methody from the time of the College's foundation in 1868. The central philosophy has always been to involve as many individuals as possible, in as many areas as may be provided, to the highest standard attainable.
The musical life of the College may be viewed as two parallel paths - curricular activities and co-curricular pursuits. There has never been a conscious value judgement claiming that one of these areas is to be regarded as more important than the other. Rather, each tends to complement the other.
Chapel Choir taking part in the 2015 RTE Christmas Morning Service Broadcast
Mrs R. McCartney, MBE - Director of Music
Mrs L. Rolston
Mr K. Jordan
Mrs T. Qua (P/T)
In Key Stage Three we try to ensure a progression of skills, which include Listening, Composing, Performing and Appraising. This gives us a good basis on which to start the GCSE course in Form Four. Music is studied to AS and A Level, with most candidates attaining A Grades in external examinations.
In Sixth Form, pupils have the option of taking part in the Senior Chorus. Large-scale choral works are learnt throughout the term in a timetabled singing class. The Senior Chorus, along with the Senior Choir, performs at Prize Day, College Carols and the Easter Concert in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall. In recent years the works have included Karl Jenkins Requiem, Poulenc’s Gloria and Carl Orff Carmina Burana.
IT is used in nearly all aspects of the music course. Composition classes are held in a computer suite and most classes have the opportunity to use Sibelius software to create their own pieces. Form One also uses the internet to research information for their projects on musical instruments.
Facilities and Resources
The Music Department is assigned as "G" Block on the campus. It is a purpose-built unit, added at the rear of the Whitla Hall in the early 1970s. There are two general-purpose rooms for class music, an electronic keyboard room (H6), one smaller room used chiefly for the GCSE and 'A' level courses, three store rooms and several studios or practice rooms which are used by the instrumental tutors.
The College has a stock of instruments which are made available to pupils, on request. From time to time, as resources permit, additional or replacement instruments are purchased. The College appreciates the value to pupils of the ready availability of instruments from the Belfast Education and Library Board, through the City of Belfast School of Music, and from the South Eastern Board.
Educational Trips and Exchanges
Each year the Music Society plans trips. In 1999 the Girls and Chapel Choirs went on a tour of USA to perform in New York, Washington, Nashville and Boston. In 2010 there was a tour of New York and Philadelphia, singing at venues such as Trinity Church, Wall Street, St Paul’s Ground Zero and a masterclass was held with Rollo Dilworth in Philadelphia. In 2011 the Chapel Choir were invited to sing at the première of Karl Jenkins’ Gloria in Carnegie Hall. This was very successful and the choir has been invited back in November 2016 to sing in the USA première of Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light Requiem.
In the last number of years the Chapel Choir have enjoyed singing the services in Westminster Abbey while the Abbey choir has been on holiday. They will be in residence again from Monday 11-Thursday 14th July 2016.
The Choir also travelled to the Royal Albert Hall to take part in two recordings for Songs of Praise and a Promenade Concert with the Ulster Orchestra.
In April 2008 the Girls, Junior and Chapel Choirs recorded a double CD entitled I hear it in the Heart . These are available from the College at the cost of £10.
The Chapel of Unity is situated at the heart of the campus, very close to the Music Department. Musicians are encouraged to play an active part in the life of the Chapel. As well as the daily assemblies, there are also regular annual services in the School calendar, such as the Remembrance Service, several Carol Services, termly communion services and a Leavers' Service at the end of the summer term. Music plays a central, supporting role in all of these events.
Main Music Groups
The main performing groups in the College are:
- Methodist College Girls’ Choir
- Methodist College Chapel Choir
- The Band
- Irish Traditional Group
- Senior Orchestra
- The Methodist College Jazz Band
- Senior Choir
- Junior Choir
Please see the extra-curricular section for more information about these groups.