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Music

Music is both a curriculum subject and an extra-curricular activity at Westminster Cathedral Choir School.

Choristers

Choristers are taught both by the Master of Music (in charge of the Cathedral Choir) and by the School’s Head of Music (in charge of School orchestras, ensembles and the organisation of instrumental lessons).

Every chorister receives the following formal musical tuition, every week, during term time.

Piano* (1 lesson)
Singing* (1 lesson)
Orchestral instrument (1 lesson)

*Piano and singing lessons are funded by the School; orchestral instrument lessons are charged to parents.

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Day Boys

Day boys from Years 3 to 8 can have tuition in up to two instruments per week, from the following list:

  • Bassoon
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Double bass
  • Flute
  • French horn
  • Oboe
  • Piano
  • Singing
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Viola
  • Violin

Tuition in a musical instrument is optional for day boys.

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Ensembles

Both choristers and day boys can join ensemble groups once they have reached the appropriate standard. These groups are selected by the Head of Music, but boys are encouraged to express interest if they have not been chosen. The following ensembles currently take place:

  • Orchestra
  • Training strings
  • Training band
  • Piano trio
  • Wind ensemble
  • Wind quintet
  • String quartet
  • Senior brass
  • A cappella
Choral singing

There are many opportunities for choristers and day boys to sing at WCCS.

The Gallery Choir

The Gallery Choir is for senior boys, and sings at School Mass every Tuesday in the Cathedral, as well as in School concerts and external events. Entry is by audition only.

Recent highlights have also included performances at the Cadogan Hall and the unveiling of a portrait of Charles Dickens at the Philip Mould Gallery.

The Junior Choir

The Junior Choir consists of boys from Years 4 to 5 and performs at one School Mass each term and at School concerts during the year.

Singing in the Pre-Prep

In addition to School and class assemblies, class music lessons and a weekly hymn practice, boys in the Pre-Prep have the chance to sing in the Reception & Year 1 choir or Year 2 & Year 3 choir, which rehearse once a week. Throughout the year there are other musical events, such as the School nativity (Reception), Christmas carol assembly (Year 1), School carol service (Year 3) and the House singing competition in the Lent term.

Class music: choristers and day boys

Class music lessons, under the School’s two music teachers (Josh Cleary and Rory Simons), are part of the academic timetable. The curriculum includes a combination of historical, theoretical and practical music-making, and develops aural, compositional and singing skills in all year groups.

Pre-Prep (Reception to Year 3) 1 lesson
Year 4 2 lessons
Year 5 1 lesson
Year 6 1 lesson
Year 7 2 lessons (Lent Term only)
Year 8 2 lesson (Michaelmas and Trinity term only)
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