The Music School at St John's is very well equipped and is housed in its own building with the Hoy Theatre. Boys receive weekly class music lessons throughout the School and learn musical skills encompassing the broad categories of listening, performing, composing and appraising. There is plenty of practical music-making, composition and improvisation, aural training, historical appreciation and analytical listening, while sequencing and music technology also feature. In Year 2, all boys learn the violin, recorder and keyboard as part of their class music activities whilst older boys will progress to study musical topics that specifically relate to foundation GCSE music material.
At St John’s, the aims of the Music School are:
Instrumental tuition is offered on a wide variety of instruments, there are 13 visiting staff and instrumental choices include: harp, orchestral percussion, guitar, drums, piano, woodwind, brass, voice, violin and cello. The School hosts ABRSM examinations every term, and boys are encouraged to take the opportunity to gain these musical qualifications, with several reaching Distinction at Grade 8 in the last few years.
The standard of choral singing is also very high: the auditioned Chapel Choir sing cathedral repertoire at regular Masses, both within the school and outside, particularly close relations being maintained with Campion Hall, Oxford, and Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight. Their carol services are immensely popular, and often showcase unusual repertoire. Junior choirs and a variety of chamber ensembles meet regularly as well as a school orchestra.
Formal and informal concerts for all levels are held regularly each term, and a yearly Animal (House) Music competition challenges performers across the year groups.
Them Music department aims to provide a musical education to all and advance any musical study boys may undertake so that each boy can achieve his best.
The Music department has had a gratifying number of boys who have won scholarships to the most prestigious establishments, including top scholarships to Eton and Wellington in the last few years.