Music provision at British boarding schools
We are consistently impressed by the breadth of talent displayed by the children we help place in English boarding schools. Whether sporty, artistic, musical, or often all three, it helps us focus on the schools that have those particular strengths. While the nature of independent boarding schools in England means that most are well equipped and resourced to support a wide variety of talents, when it comes to music, for example, there are a few that immediately spring to mind.
Durham School is a boarding school in the northeast of England, whose historic association with the city’s Cathedral means it has a large cathedral choir and provides pupils with the experience of performing regularly in an iconic setting. Beyond its choral tradition, a team of visiting music teachers provides one-to-one lessons in just about all instruments, while its excellent resources include a music technology room, large rehearsal spaces, nine teaching/practice rooms, a three manual Harrison & Harrison organ in the school chapel and a harpsichord. Regular concerts are held in venues such as the Sage in Gateshead and a large-scale musical, with a professional band, is performed every other year at an external theatre.
St Edmund’s School is also associated with a world-famous cathedral, this time in Canterbury. This boarding school in the southeast of England supports music from the early experiences of its youngest pupils to the mastery of its Cathedral Choristers and highly skilled A Level musicians in Sixth Form. Instrumental, vocal, theoretical and class tuition make full use of generous rehearsal and teaching space equipped with the latest music software, dedicated practice rooms, a recital hall, music technology suites and a music studio. Pupils’ musical life is enriched by regular music scholars’ trips, masterclasses, workshops, lunchtime concerts, major termly concerts and the annual carol service in Canterbury Cathedral.
Another go-to for musical students is Uppingham School in the Midlands. The wide scope of its music courses empowers pupils to develop their creative, performing, analytical and critical abilities. The curriculum is structured around the three key skills of performing, composing and listening/appraising – and the interrelationship between them. Pupils’ work in class is enhanced by the school’s exceptional provision of extra-curricular music, ranging from choirs, orchestras and swing bands to music technology sessions. They have access to no fewer than three music schools, equipped with state-of-the art music technology and professional-quality performance spaces, as well as plentiful opportunities to hear professional performances at the highest level, both within Uppingham and beyond.
To round off this by no means exhaustive list, we have Wells Cathedral School, a boarding school in the southwest of England. As the name suggests, it is another chorister school, putting music at the heart of the school community since its foundation in 909. Alongside the Choir School there is a specialist music school set within the wider educational context, so that non-specialist and specialist musicians can benefit from a comprehensive range of academic subjects and co-curricular activities, world-class instrumental teachers and visiting artists, and access to amazing facilities.
All of these schools offer Music and/or Music Technology up to A Level, and musical scholarships may be available. To ensure you find the right school for your young musician, consult an educational consultancy in England – book a call with Gina, so she can guide you.