10 best UK boarding schools for music and choir

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10 best UK boarding schools for music and choir

Are you a young aspiring professional musician? Music is an important part of British culture and the UK has countless musical opportunities – from prestigious institutions like the Royal College and the Royal Academy of Music to world-class ensembles such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Westminster Abbey Choir. International musical events take place across the genres – including the BBC Proms and the Glyndebourne Festival of Opera, as well as popular contemporary festivals such as Glastonbury. Whether you’re interested in classical, pop or rock, UK boarding schools have the resources to support every music student. We’ve put together a list of just some of the top boarding schools for music in the UK.

Chetham’s School of Music

Chetham’s School of Music was founded in 1653 and became a co-educational specialist music school in 1969. The school is situated in Manchester and is the largest school specialising in music in the UK. With more than a third of the weekly school timetable dedicated to music and more than 300 chances to perform throughout the year, students at Chetham’s are not short of musical opportunities. The school follows the GCSE and A Level curriculum. Join a band at Chetham’s School of Music.

Dean Close School

Situated in Cheltenham on a 50-acre campus, Dean Close School is a co-educational school offering GCSE and A Level exams. The school is known for nurturing ambitious, well-rounded pupils and has a reputation for excellence within the creative arts, including music. Students are offered the chance to learn any orchestral instrument, electric guitar, bass, drum kit, or have individual singing lessons. Dean Close organises 50-60 concerts every year, from lunchtime recitals to larger solo and ensemble performances. Learn a new instrument at Dean Close School.

Durham School

Durham School forms part of the Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation, founded in 1414 in the beautiful historic city of Durham. The Foundation is made up of the Chorister School (for pupils aged 3-11) and Durham School (for pupils aged 11-18), which are located a short distance apart. The schools provide excellent opportunities within music and have one of the largest cathedral choirs in the country, who regularly perform in the prestigious Durham Cathedral. The school offers GCSE and A Level exams, as well as other qualifications in design technology and business. Join a choir at Durham School.

King’s Ely

King’s Ely is a co-educational school founded in 970 AD, making it one of the oldest schools in the world. It follows the GCSE and A Level curriculum and is located in Ely next to the River Ouse, only 15 minutes away from Cambridge. Over a third of students at King’s Ely receive individual musical tuition, whether it be instrumental or vocal lessons. There are also regular opportunities for performance. The school also has a particularly successful Chapel Choir who perform regularly and tour alongside other choral groups. After studying at King’s Ely, aspiring musicians often continue on to prestigious musical conservatoires across the country. Begin your musical career at King’s Ely.

Leighton Park School

Located less than an hour away from London, the 65-acre Leighton Park School is widely recognised for its impressive exam results and its excellent music programme that offers a wide range of styles and instruments, giving students the opportunity to explore their musical interests. The school has an outstanding collection of instruments and is a Yamaha Music Education Partner. They have a total of 19 Yamaha pianos available to play at the school, including a flagship concert grand. Leighton Park has 27 music teachers, and more than half of students study a musical instrument. The school also offers a varied curriculum of GCSE, A Level, IB or BTEC qualifications. Play a world-class instrument at Leighton Park School.

Loretto School

Loretto School is located just 6 miles from Edinburgh and was founded in 1827 making it Scotland’s first boarding school. The school has a very strong reputation for music, with extensive opportunities available from the Early Years all the way through to Sixth Form. The school’s excellent music facilities include a concert hall, recording studio, chapel and impressive collection of instruments (including Bösendorfer and Yamaha pianos), offering students the chance to thrive. Loretto follows the GCSE and A Level curriculum. Sing in the chapel at Loretto School.

Oswestry School

Oswestry School is a co-educational school founded in 1407, that offers GCSE and A Level qualifications. Comprised of 50 acres of land near the English/Welsh border, the school has a history of giving students a world-class education. The provisions for musicians are excellent, and Oswestry School places emphasis on music being accessible to every pupil at the school. All students at the school are encouraged to participate in music at any level. Discover a love for music at Oswestry School.

Purcell School for Young Musicians

Purcell School for Young Musicians is a co-educational specialist music school that was founded in 1962 in Hertfordshire. The school provides a world-class education and is one of the best schools for music in the UK. The school welcomes young instrumentalists, singers and composers, and admission to the school is based on a pupil’s musical ability and potential. Additional activities outside of school hours focus heavily on music and students are encouraged to participate in the multitude of orchestras, choirs, bands and ensembles at Purcell to further hone their musical skills outside of class. Pupils study towards GCSE and A Level exams. Immerse yourself in music at Purcell School for Young Musicians.

St Mary’s Music School

St Mary’s Music School is one of very few specialist schools for music in the UK and the only one located in Scotland. Offering some of the best music training in the UK, they accept a limited number of talented and aspiring musicians. St Mary’s is situated in Edinburgh and offers pupils the chance to attend a concert, opera or ballet performance weekly. Most pupils at St Mary’s Music School go on to study music at conservatoires across the UK. With music as the only exception, all other subjects are studied within the Scottish curriculum of Highers and Advanced Highers. Start your specialist music education at St Mary’s Music School.

Wells Cathedral School

Wells Cathedral School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils between the ages of 2 and 18. The school was founded in the year 909, making it one of the 10 oldest schools in the United Kingdom. Approximately 30% of pupils at Wells Cathedral are specialist musicians and the specialist music scheme is perfect for pupils wishing to pursue a career in music. For those interested in choral singing, the Cathedral Choir is regarded as one of the best cathedral choirs in the world. Join a choir at Wells Cathedral School.

Keep an eye out for the next blog post in our ‘Best UK boarding schools for…’ series!

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