Beyond the classroom


Musical life at St Paul’s is vibrant and inclusive, encompassing a diverse range of groups and ensembles. Many ensembles are open to everyone without audition and the department prides itself on having something for everyone, whatever their experience. A variety of musical events, both informal and formal, showcase a range of impressive pieces and give students opportunities to develop confidence in performance.

Music at St Paul's
Director of Music conducting a group of student violinist.

Groups and Ensembles

Music clubs and ensembles are noted for their range and accessibility. For instance, you can sing for your whole time at St Paul’s without audition and most groups for MIV (Year 7) are open to everyone. As you move through the school more groups open up to you; for instance, we have Wind Band for less experienced players, who then move on to Concert Band. Our open access Sinfonia helps build confidence so that students can enjoy auditioned groups Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, where challenging symphonic repertoire is explored.

We also have two auditioned choirs, Cantamus and Paulina Voices, for more experienced singers. Chamber Music is an important feature where pupils have a chance to play in small groups with dedicated professional coaches. For those interested in other styles of music we have a studio drop-in session and Band Soc alongside Swing Band and a Junior Jazz Group. We also have groups focusing on individual instruments such as ensembles for flute, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, harp and percussion.

Outside the Singing Hall, beside the entrance a bust of Gustav Holst is displayed.

Events and performances

The school calendar is filled with around 65 musical events each year. Weekly lunchtime Platform Concerts bring students and staff together for informal musical performances and regular tea concerts take place after school. Each term there is an evening Soireé Musicale for our younger musicians as well as events such as the Keyboard Festival.

The Endangered Musical Instruments Fair is held every year in the Great Hall, and students are offered free taster sessions on the ones that have caught their fancy - saxophone, bassoon, viola, etc. Good Schools Guide

The Christmas Concert always rounds off the autumn term with major choral and orchestral repertoire and, at the start of December, the Carol Service takes place in the candlelit Great Hall. The summer term Concerto Concert is a fantastic culmination of the students’ musical achievements and the Spring Concert at St John’s Smith Square is an annual highlight of the musical calendar for our more experienced musicians in March.

Students playing violins.

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