An award-winning vibrant department where girls are inspired to learn, love and lead music.

A thriving element of Downe House life

Alongside the music curriculum, we offer a wealth of musical opportunities for every girl. We advocate for the huge benefits of being involved in regular musical activities that are well-documented; the research is compelling and we see our students develop creativity, imagination and collaboration amongst a list of wider key curriculum skills.

An exciting range of ensembles

We offer a wealth of musical ensembles at Downe House ranging from large instrumental ensembles (including Symphony Orchestra, Big Band and Samba Band) to many smaller chamber and vocal ensembles including jazz, pop and rock groups. We have a strong choral tradition at Downe House, currently housing six main choirs, two of which have recently won national awards. Throughout the year there are a variety of performance opportunities, from smaller weekly recitals to termly showcases and annual competitions such as Young Musician of the Year.

With so many ensembles on offer, our students are able to explore a great variety of musical styles and nurture music and performance skills whilst enjoying making music with friends. Equally important, as girls progress, they are given the chance to lead ensembles and take ownership of a number of student-led groups.

We are also passionate about inspiring prep school pupils to pursue music, hosting events such as Orchestral Fun Days and our Prep Schools’ Choir of the Year Competition hosted at Cadogan Hall, London to show how music can transform lives.

Dedicated staff and facilities to inspire

There are 41 members of the Music Team. There are 11 members of the full-time team including the Assistant Director of Music, Head of Composition, Teachers of Music and the Music School Manager as well as a full time Accompanist. Equally as impressive, there are 30 members of the specialist Visiting Music Team who help deliver over 600 weekly individual music lessons.

Onsite we have facilities for every expression of music. This includes a dedicated music school with 16 practice rooms, a fully equipped recording studio and a range of performance venues culminating in our 250-seat auditorium and 500-seat Performing Arts Centre where our expert in-House AV Department facilitate the best possible performances.

Providing every girl with the opportunity to thrive musically

There are groups for girls at all levels, from beginners to diploma-standard instrumentalists and singers. All ensembles rehearse weekly and there are many concerts, both formal and informal, throughout the year offering performance opportunities. We are committed to providing musical opportunities for all so we are proud of our 100% participation in a musical ensemble in the Lower School and our Minority Instrument Scheme to encourage girls to play instruments they are less familiar with.

Recent performance highlights include winning Barnardo’s Senior Choir of the Year at the Royal Festival Hall in both 2018 and 2019 and performing at the Royal Albert Hall and Cadogan Hall. Our choirs have also been invited to perform at special events such as the Hope and Homes for Children Carol Concert alongside Katie Melua and a Judicial Service at Reading Minster.

Two award-winning choirs

On 12 March 2018, Prima Voce (formerly Senior Choral) were crowned ‘Senior Choir of the Year’ at the finals of the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition 2018 held at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Prima Voce is an auditioned chamber choir open to all girls in the Upper Fifth and Sixth Form and this award is testament to the hard work and captivating performances of the choir.

In March 2019, we were delighted to announce that Polyphonix (formerly Choral), a non-auditioned choir open to all girls in the Lower Fifth, Upper Fifth and Sixth Form were crowned ‘Senior Choir of the Year’ at the finals of the Barnardo’s National Choral Competition in the 2019 competition, receiving the most points ever to be awarded in the competition.

Once again a beautiful well balanced tone from this accomplished choir.

Dr Douglas Coombes MBE –Chairman of the Adjudicating Panel 2019

Polyphonix – Barnardo’s Senior Choir of the Year 2019 from Downe House Videos on Vimeo.

Read the news article to find out more.


Music Scholarship Programme

Music Scholars and Exhibitioners are allocated a mentor and participate in a dedicated and holistic scholarship programme. These pupils meet with their Music Mentor weekly on a one-to-one basis to discuss targets, progress, practice and wider musical theory. On top of this, the programme includes visits from external speakers, trips to performances in London and opportunities to lead ensembles.


Music News

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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