King's College School

Coeducational Independent Prep school in Cambridge


Music Department

The quality and breadth of music-making at King's has always been one of the School's greatest strengths. Almost every child learns an instrument; many learn two, three or occasionally even four. The wide-ranging music curriculum acknowledges the work of several eminent music educators (e.g. Kodály) and caters for the musical needs of all pupils.

The department consists of  James Randle (Director of Music), Mike Jennings (Music Teacher), Alice Harper (Music Teacher), Rachael Dunlop (Music Administrator) and an extremely experienced peripatetic staff of over 40 Visiting Music Teachers.

All orchestral instruments are offered, together with , guitar, saxophone, percussion (classical and modern) and singing. In 2016-17 the School successfully entered over 200 candidates for ABRSM exams, including over 20 at Grades 6-8. 

The Pre-Prep department offers tuition in violin, cello, piano and recorder given by specialist teachers of this age-group. Pupils are encouraged to have instrumental and/or vocal tuition. 

However, to help make the decision (particularly for the Year 2 and 3 pupils) as to which instrument to learn there a series Instrumental Demonstrations given by the Visiting Music Teachers on a number of instruments.

Pupils are encouraged to sing whether it be in class, assembly or through membership of one of the eight school choirs: Year 2 Choir, Junior School Choir (Year 3 and 4), Middle School Choir (Year 5 and 6), King's Singers (an auditioned boys' choir for Year 5 - Year 8), King's Chamber Choir (an auditioned girls' choir for Year 5 - Year 8), Cambiata (a changing voice choir for older boys) as well as the King's College Choristers. The choirs take part at regular intervals in concerts and festivals both inside and outside school as well as foreign tours e.g. King's choristers tour of the America in 2017.

It is envisaged that pupils who learn an instrument will join one or more of the school's many instrumental ensembles. These ensembles include; Pre-prep. String Ensemble, String Band, Sinfonietta, Sinfonia, Wind Band, King's Wind, Canzonetta, King's Beaters, King's Brass, Jazz Combo, Guitar Ensembles, KCS Orchestra as well as a huge number of chamber groups including, flute ensembles, string trios, string quartets, cello ensemble and a piano quintet.

Pupils may wish to participate in the on-going series of extra tuition for theory (for grades 3, 4 and 5) and aural preparation is offered on a termly basis for those who are taking an instrumental or vocal examination. A scholarship class is also available for those pupils who wish to undertake music scholarships to senior schools - last year 9 music awards were won by pupils at the School.

Facilities for music at King's are excellent, following the completion of 16 new practice rooms as part of the school's Performing Arts Centre in January 2001. The School owns a huge number of orchestral instruments, most of which can be hired the term by the pupils, in addition to 25 pianos (5 grand), a tracker-action organ, a harpsichord and a vast array of classroom percussion. Sibelius software (invented by two ex-pupils of the School) is networked into the School's computer suite.

The School has an extensive and a wide-ranging concert programme, which includes many musical events during the year. These events range from regular Informal Concerts, Scholarship Recital, Form Concerts, Piano , Chamber Day, Organ Recital, Showcase Concerts (occasionally joint concerts with other music festivals, musicals as well as the School Services and a Christmas Carol Service.

The School's new music rooms were formally opened in May 2001 by Sir David Willcocks, former Director of Music at King's College, with a concert given by present and past pupils of the School (including Guy Johnston, BBC Young Musician of the Year 2000).