Music is a high profile practical subject in the School.  Over 250 pupils receive individual weekly instrumental tuition from a team of top professional musicians, and Music is taught throughout the School with options at GCSE and A level.

With regular performances at school and beyond, the Department has gained a local, national and international reputation for musical excellence.  Recent venues for performances have included the Royal Albert Hall, Southwark Cathedral in London, Barcelona Cathedral, Chartres Cathedral and Euro Disney.  The Chamber Choir is the elite group of singers in the school who have performed concerts at local venues, and who have toured Menorca and Gibraltar.

The Music Department consists of state of the art technology equipment, including 24 Apple Mac computers and a recording studio.  There are regular opportunities to attend concerts, plays and operas outside the school, enabling pupils to widen their musical horizons.  We are a  non-elitist department, encouraging music making of any standard or genre as much as possible.


While studying GCSE Music you will learn how to improve your performing skills, and through your work in composing, you will gain an insight into how music is constructed from initial ideas through to the finished product.  You will also learn how to analyse music in a variety of styles and discover the social and historical context in which music has been composed over the last 400 years.

Members of the GCSE Music course have opportunities to participate in musical events, both in and out of school.  Each member of the GCSE Music course is expected to receive weekly instrumental lessons at Royal Russell and demonstrate good progress on their chosen instrument during the course.

Please click here to find out more about our GCSE option.

A Level

A level Music encourages pupils to draw on their experiences at GCSE and recognise the interdependence of musical skills, knowledge and understanding and the links between the activities of performing/realising, composing and appraising whilst providing creative and practical opportunities.

Music builds motivation, self-discipline, confidence, and self-esteem whilst developing problem-solving skills, thinking skills and the ability to work co-operatively.  It is these transferrable skills that make music at any level such a recognised and valued qualification by employers and university admissions tutors.

Music combines well with many other A level subjects both Arts and Science based.

Please click here to find out more about our A level course.

For a distinctly different focus we also offer a Music Technology course. Please click here to find out more.

Key Points

  • Four outstanding choirs including Barbershop for boys’ voices
  • Swing band, jazz band, orchestra and other small ensembles, who perform regularly in school and beyond
  • Annual international tours including, most recently, Gibraltar, Norway, South West France, Costa Brava, Germany, Menorca and Paris
  • Collaborations with the Drama Department for large scale musical productions
  • Regular performances in Chapel and concerts, featuring the four combined choirs
  • First class team of visiting professional musicians
  • Over 200 successes per year in Associated Board Music Examinations
  • An annual Royal Russell School Young Musician of the Year competition.


Years 7 to 10 Concert

On  Tuesday we enjoyed the Years 7-10 Concert, which took place in the Chapel. A wide range of solos and ensemble pieces were played and sung  to a high standard, even more impressive due to the fact that everyone had been participating in Sports Day during the afternoon, on a very hot day! Well done to everyone.

During the interval we enjoyed cold drinks outside, which were very welcome indeed.

Many thanks to Christa in Year 12, who took photos for us. Thanks, too, to Mr Millward and Miss Parish, who directed the evening, and to the Visiting and External music teachers who helped students to prepare for their performances.


Guitar and Percussion Concert

On Friday 5th May we enjoyed the annual Guitar and Percussion Concert held in the Great Hall. 

A wide variety of classical, rock and pop music was enjoyed by a large and enthusiastic audience.

Pupils from Years 7 to 12 performed in the concert.

All students had worked very hard preparing their  guitar and percussion pieces for this concert. 


Magical Musical Dinner

On the evening of Saturday 11th March, we were treated to the Royal Russell School Magical Musical Tour, in the Great Hall. The Choristers, Barbershop, Choral Society, Swing Band, Jazz Band and soloists took us on a musical tour around the world, and       beyond!  We flew to the moon, went down to Penzance, and everywhere in between - and finished up in Amarillo, in a rousing chorus involving everyone in the hall! 

Once again, it demonstrated just how much musical talent there is here at Royal Russell, both among the students and the staff - the Headmaster was an excellent Major General in the ‘Pirates of Penzance’ extract!

Croydon Performing Arts Concert

Royal Russell students were well represented at the Gala Fundraising Concert for Croydon Performing Arts Festival on Saturday 4th March.

Verity (Year 11) tinkled the ivories playing pieces by Faure and Chopin, and Lily Addis (Year 12) showed the amazing range of her voice by singing 'The Girl in 14G'.

Over £1000 was raised for the Festival. Thank you to everyone who supported the event.


Rush Hour Concert

On Monday evening, a small audience was treated to a short recital of high quality piano performances, in a Rush Hour concert given by eight students, ranging from Years 7 to 13.

Some of the students had performed many times before, but for others, there were Royal Russell debuts, and some who had never performed in public before. The event was enjoyed by all who were present.

Mozart Players Visit

On Wednesday, two string players from the London Mozart Players visited the school to coach some of our young instrumentalists. They started in the Junior School, and then moved into the Senior School, where they gave presentations to classes, coached our orchestra and chamber groups, and inspired one of our GCSE students by  playing her composition for cello and piano. All of the students were inspired and encouraged by their visit.


Spring Concert

On the evening of Friday 24 February, we enjoyed a wide variety of vocal and instrumental music at the Spring Concert.

The evening began in the Chapel, where we heard two vocal ensembles performed by Miss O’Hanlon’s and Mr Bell’s students, and a String Trio, performed by Alex, Thalia and Charlotte. Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ followed, sung by the combined choirs, Choristers, Barbershop and the Choral Society. The soloists in Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ were Lily, Thalia, Francesca, Georgia and Lucy, with Alex on oboe and on bassoon. 

Following refreshments in the Sixth Form café, the evening’s entertainment continued in the Auditorium. Here, the Orchestra, Swing Band and Jazz Band played a variety of lighter numbers, and Alex gave a fine performance of the second movement of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in E minor.

Choir Perform at Shirley Methodist Church

The Chamber Choir visited Shirley Methodist Church to perform at one of the church’s monthly lunch time concerts.

Musicians from Royal Russell have been performing annually at these concerts for a number of years now, and are always very well received. This one was no exception, with an excellent and varied programme, including both vocal ensemble items and solo items. 

Well done to everyone.