The School is well known for its musical excellence and music is embedded in the School’s wider culture and ethos. The facilities offered through the Music School are outstanding, with a concert hall, recital rooms, practice rooms, recording studio, music technology suite, rock room, live lounge and cathedral-proportioned chapel.
The School is well known for its musical excellence and music is embedded in the School’s wider culture and ethos. The facilities offered through the Music School are outstanding, with a concert hall, recital rooms, practice rooms, recording studio, music technology suite, rock room, live lounge and cathedral-proportioned chapel. Music forms part of the Lower School curriculum and is offered as an academic subject at both GCSE and A Level. Over 400 pupils learn to play at least one instrument and there is an orchestra, 80-strong chapel choir, chamber choir, ceremonial marching band, concert band, big band and numerous ensembles, including many rock and pop groups. As a result of the School's unique naval heritage and royal connections, the band and choir have had opportunities to perform with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, before international rugby matches at Twickenham and at St Paul’s Cathedral and St James’ Palace.
"We are proud of our musical tradition. We do hope that you will come and see us at work and meet the team of inspirational and talented musicians. I am positive that you will be sufficiently impressed to entrust the musical education of your sons and daughters to us here at the Royal Hospital School."
William Saunders, Director of Music
The state-of-the-art Music School
Opened in 2008 and comprising:
- The Burns Recital Hall, a fully equipped concert venue seating 250 and housing two new grand pianos: a fine Bechstein and an outstanding Fazioli, one of only 110 made annually
- A new, fully equipped, music technology suite including a fully furnished recording studio
- 3 classrooms, including a keyboard laboratory
- 15 specialist instrumental teaching rooms
- Well-stocked department library
- A fleet of new Bechstein pianos for every room
- Purpose-built technology and recording facilities
- Magnificent 1930s Chapel, seating well over 1300, with an impressive eight second acoustic
- Legendary Grand Organ, a 4-manual Romantic instrument of unrivalled power and a smaller Classical Organ for choral accompaniment
"Music gives a soul to the universe. Wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."
Famous Chapel Choir
- The dedicated, 80-strong core of the RHS choral tradition
- Weekly services in the cathedral-sized School Chapel
- Four major concerts each year
- Annual performances at high-profile naval services in St Paul’s Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields, London
- Regular appearances in concert venues such as the Royal Albert Hall
- Exciting international tours – recently to Italy and Germany, and Malta in 2015
Vibrant Show Choir
- Glee, but realistic!
- Fun repertoire – pop, rock and jazz
- No auditions – for anyone who loves to sing
- The chance to perform in major School concerts
Elite Chamber Choir
- 20 hand-picked singers, the cream of the RHS vocal crop, performing a wide repertoire of sacred and secular, classical and contemporary works
- Frequent concert performances
We have strong links with the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain - our most promising singers are actively encouraged to audition.
"One of the largest and most committed choirs I have ever encountered in a school."
John Rutter, RHS patron of music
- Renowned 75-strong marching and concert band, dating back 300 years to the founding of the School
- Two major annual concerts at School
- Joint concerts with the Suffolk Concert Band, Royal Marines School of Music Band and Harwich Royal British Legion Band
- Performances at such prestigious venues and occasions as the Lord Mayor’s Show, Twickenham Stadium and Lord’s Cricket Ground
- Biennial tours, most recently to Sri Lanka and the USA
- Eclectic and challenging repertoire
- Vibrant and unique Corps of Drums, entirely student-led, providing drum displays for formal occasions
- Elite training corps of solo buglers
Music forms an important part of the curriculum for Years 7–9 with a strong emphasis on practical music making and technology, as well as listening. Music is also offered at GCSE and A Level and pupils are prepared for entry to music college or university with many recent successes.
- A large and talented team of Visiting Music Teachers
- Over one third of pupils learn a musical instrument or take singing lessons
- All are encouraged to participate in the regular senior and junior lunchtime concerts and specialist teaching is available for the particularly gifted and talented
- There is a yearlong series of academic music lectures given by professional musicians – many leaders in their fields – on topics from Elgar’s orchestration techniques and Bach’s St John Passion to the life of a film composer and the use of computers in new music, all open to the public
September 2015 saw the opening of a purpose-built three room music technology suite. Complete with a recording studio, an iMac room running Logic Pro X and a control booth with a 24 channel TOFT mixing console - this is a fantastic new resource which many professional recording businesses would drool over.
RHS maintains a place at the forefront of music making in the community.
We welcome many world-leading musicians as part of our annual concert series, creating many opportunities for our pupils and visitors to learn from the best.
Dominic Peckham hosts many Singing Days for hundreds of local children - an unforgettable and transformative experience guaranteed to revolutionise and invigorate young people’s attitudes to their own voices.
Exciting workshops in local primary schools aimed at inspiring younger people.
Workshops with award-winning Bassistry Music for RHS pupils and for local feeder schools, energising young people through rhythm.
Notes & Nibbles
Highly popular series of lunchtime recitals given by RHS musicians for local audiences, with buffet lunch.
Organists' Associations of East Anglia
RHS collaborates enthusiastically with the Organists’ Associations, inviting many visitors to play our superb Grand Organ and hosting recitals and masterclasses with internationally acclaimed performers.
Holbrook Choral Society
RHS has a longstanding association with the Holbrook Choral Society, a large and dedicated group of singers from Holbrook and further afield that sings two major annual concerts in the Chapel.
Music Scholarships are awarded annually to pupils who demonstrate real potential in their music making. Prospective candidates are encouraged to visit the School informally and meet the Director of Music, from whom further information is available.