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Enshrined within the history of King’s College School, music is regarded as an essential part of pupils’ education and therefore has a prominent place in the school curriculum.

The quality and breadth of music-making at King’s has always been one of the School’s greatest strengths. Almost every child learns to play an instrument; many learn two, three or occasionally even four. The wide-ranging music curriculum, designed for the school, acknowledges the work of several eminent music educators and caters for the musical needs of all pupils, while also fully embracing and exceeding the requirements set out in the National Curriculum.





Our experienced Director of Music oversees more than 40 visiting music teachers who deliver lessons in a wide variety of instruments, from piano to strings, woodwind and brass, to bagpipes.

Facilities for Music


Facilities for music at King’s are excellent. The Music Department is home to four well equipped music classrooms in addition to 16 individual teaching /practice rooms.

The School owns a huge number of orchestral instruments, most of which can be hired termly by the pupils, in addition to 25 pianos (5 grand), a tracker-action pipe organ, a harpsichord and a vast array of classroom percussion.

Sibelius Software


Sibelius software (invented by two ex-pupils of the School) is networked into the Music Department as well as the School’s computer suite.  The Music Department Library contains a wide range of choral and instrumental music which is available for pupils and staff to borrow.

Concert Programme


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, the annual Scholarship Recital, Form Concerts, Showcase Concerts and School Services as well as an annual pupil Organ Recital in King’s College Chapel. Masterclasses are also offered throughout the year.

“In the past year our pupils have represented us in national and international events, including a pupil who won the Moscow International Piano Competition as well as playing in the Keyboard Final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year.”




‘Choosing an instrument’


‘Playing together’


‘Encouraging Singing’



All pupils are encouraged to have individual music tuition, which is offered by a team of forty extremely experienced visiting music teachers, who also share in the coaching of ensembles and chamber music groups. 

Choosing an instrument

What is offered?

The following orchestral instruments are offered: Piano, organ, harp, percussion, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, singing. In addition to these we also offer guitar, saxophone, bagpipes and chanter, percussion (classical and modern), recorder and singing.

In 2018/19 the School successfully entered over 200 candidates for ABRSM exams, including 18 at Grades 6 and above. A very high proportion of candidates achieve a Merit or Distinction in their exams.

Individual music tuition
Choosing an instrument
Helping you to choose

To help pupils and parents to make the decision as to which instrument to learn, the Director of Music is always happy to speak with parents and advise them of the instruments that should be considered. Short individual trial lessons are then arranged before any decisions are made. In addition, pupils in the Pre-Prep and Juniors will also attend a series of Instrumental Demonstrations given by the Visiting Music Teachers to assist them in choosing an instrument.

Individual music lessons

If you wish your child to have individual music lessons, please email the Music Department Administrator, Rachael Dunlop to request an appointment to speak with the Director of Music.



King’s has an exceptional instrumental programme, and instrumental ensembles are one of the great strengths of the Music Department. Our aim is to allow pupils to enjoy the musical and social benefits of playing regularly in an ensemble, and to this end the school runs several groups each week, in which well over half of our pupils play in one or more groups.


 It is envisaged that pupils who learn an instrument will join one or more of the school’s many instrumental ensembles.

These include:
Pre-Prep ensembles, Junior Strings, Sinfonietta, Sinfonia, Junior Wind, Recorder Choir, Wind Band, King’s Wind, Canzonetta, King’s Brass, King’s Jazz, Guitar Ensemble, KCS Orchestra as well as chamber groups including, flute ensembles, string trios, string quartets, cello consorts and other bespoke groups to cater for the individual needs of our talented pupils.

Music Ensembles
School Concerts

All ensembles have the opportunity to play in one or more school concerts each year, performing a wide-range of music. The KCS Orchestra’s repertoire includes large-scale pieces such as Holst’s Jupiter (from The Planets), Saint-Saëns’ Finale (from the Organ Symphony), Bizet’s Carmen Suite and Symphony in C major (first mov.), Dvorak’s Hungarian Dances, Schumann Piano concerto (first mov.), Bruch’s Violin Concerto.  Sinfonia perform smaller-scale works including Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto 4, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Corelli Concertos, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, and most recently Warlock’s Capriol Suite.



King’s College School is famous for educating the choristers and probationers of King’s College Choir, in addition to which we also run a comprehensive programme of choirs and vocal ensembles that are designed to give all children the opportunity to experience the awe and wonder of making music using their own voices.


All pupils are encouraged to sing whether it be in class music lessons, assembly or through membership of one of the school choirs.

Pupils in Year 2, Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 have a timetabled choir rehearsal each week and all year groups perform regularly in school concerts and drama productions.  In recent years pupils have enjoyed preparing for large scale productions, that have included OliverJoseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Bugsy Malone and the cantata Mr Scrooge.

Encouraging Singing
The School Choir
The School Choir

The School Choir, an auditioned group of pupils from Years 5-8, rehearses twice each week and prepares repertoire to sing in services each term in King’s College Chapel, as well as performing in showcase concerts, choir tours, and carol concerts (they have also sung at the Ritz Hotel, London).

Boys from Years 7 and 8 whose voices are changing are able to join Cambiata (a changing voice choir).




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Report 2018


All pupils at King’s have a chance to try their hand at composition within class music lessons, and a number of pupils compose regularly in their free time. The school runs composition clubs and teaches pupils to use Sibelius music software from a young age. Pupils enjoy writing choral music, as well as chamber music and even works for full orchestra. Recently pupils have been successful in several national and local competitions, and one has gained a place to study composition at the Junior Royal Academy of Music.


Jazz is a popular interest at King’s. King’s jazz, a large jazz combo, provides the opportunity for pupils to enjoy playing jazz together and many pupils enjoy playing jazz repertoire in their instrumental lessons, too.

Music Theory

All choristers, members of the Schola Cantorum and many other pupils, receive lessons in music theory at King’s.  For the choristers, our aim is for the boys to have passed their Grade 5 Theory Exam by the time they start Year 6; for the non-choristers, we run two theory clubs also in preparation for the Grade 5 examination.

All pupils receive a basic grounding in notation within their class music lessons, whilst those (rare, but not unknown) pupils who wish to do so can continue to Grade 6 theory and beyond.

Music Scholarship Preparation

Pupils who elect to enter for a Music Scholarship to their chosen senior school are well prepared by the Music Department at King’s for their interviews and auditions.  In recent years pupils have received music awards from: Eton, The Perse, King’s Ely, Uppingham, Oakham, Oundle, The Leys, St Mary’s, and Rugby.

Aural Training

King’s provides weekly aural classes for pupils taking ABRSM exams each term. Whilst our Visiting Music Teachers cover the aural training component of music exams in their lessons, many pupils find it helpful to have some extra help in this area, particularly in the higher grades.


Contact Us

For further information about Music, please contact us.