A reputation for exceptional music

With stunning views from Tate Modern to St Paul's Cathedral, CLS is proud of its reputation for excellence in music. The department makes provision for all pupils throughout their school life, offering outstanding academic opportunities, a rich programme of cultural discovery and extracurricular activities in every genre of music. With music scholarships available at each entry point, CLS is the ideal place for aspiring musicians. 

Pupils and parents are continually impressed by the opportunities to perform choral, orchestral and chamber music at a high standard in the regular concert series including informal RiverNights recitals, major Keeping Time concerts and the City Circuit, allowing pupils to perform in prestigious venues around the City of London. 

The music department continues to develop strong partnership projects with the City of London family of schools, Royal College of Organists, Trinity College of Music, Diocese of London and London Handel Festival.

The School is a unique choral and organ hub for day school pupils, offering the advantages of close collaboration with prestigious choral foundations; HM Chapel Royal of St James' Palace, Temple Church choir and Southwark Cathedral choir. The music department is also home to several vocal ensembles, including the Chamber Choir and Close Harmony Cambiata group. 

The Junior Classes programme gives all pupils arriving in Old Grammar (Year 6) and First Form (Year 7) tuition on an orchestral instrument as part of their classroom music. If they already play an instrument, they are invited to choose another orchestral instrument to learn. The programme of extra-curricular music fits around the academic and sporting life of the School, allowing pupils to excel in a number of fields.

Pupils are able to perform in public at every stage of their musical development and, importantly, performance in recitals is not restricted to the extremely talented. The ablest pupils can develop as soloists, whilst those in the initial stages of learning an instrument can also be appreciated for their efforts. Participation and collaboration at every level is what makes music at CLS so exciting.

Our performance spaces are outstanding and the department is generously resourced with a Steinway in the Great Hall, and practice instruments available on every level. CLS is affiliated to the Royal College of Organists and is home to several organs ranging from a chamber instrument to the three-manual Walker in the Great Hall. CLS has a consistently strong reputation for successfully preparing pupils for Oxbridge Organ and Choral scholarships. 

Scholarships are available at each entry point and the department continues to develop a strong mentoring programme connected to personal development, cultural awareness and particular attention to pastoral and pupil welfare. 

The School has a full orchestra provision and recent concerts have allowed pupils to explore major works of the symphonic repertoire; Poulenc, Dvorak, Smetana, Saint-Saens, Rachmaninov, and equality, diversity and inclusion are central to our concert programming. 

The music department is renowned for its jazz ensembles and runs a Live Lounge series. Recent guests include Natalie Williams, one of Ronnie Scott's superstars. 

Academic music is a strong priority at CLS, with a recently refreshed programme of studies for key stage 3, focussing on music inspired by London, its history and landmarks. Pupils take iGCSE music and follow the AQA A-Level syllabus. 

Many of the pupils also study at the junior conservatoires and are members of orchestras such as the London Schools' Symphony Orchestra, the National Children’s Orchestra, National Youth Music Theatre of Great Britian and the National Youth Orchestra. A number of pupils have appeared in operas at the ENO and ROH, and CLS can also boast two winners of The BBC Young Chorister of the Year Competition.

The music department at CLS is vibrant and supportive and gives pupils the opportunity to excel, whatever their level.

Participation and collaboration at every level is what makes Music at CLS so exciting.

Meet our Cello & Piano Teacher

George Hayburn has taught at the School since 1975
learn more

Meet our Percussion Teacher

Matt McDonough: Drum teacher and closely involved with the CCF
learn more

Meet our Trombone Teacher

Toby Gucklhorn also teaches Euphonium and Tuba...since 1988
learn more