The best private schools for music in the UK

The best private schools for music in the UK

Does your child fill their life with music? Are they at their happiest when they’re singing or playing instruments? Do they dream of performing on the world stage? Or does music simply enrich their daily life?

Yes? Then there are private schools across the UK that could help them reach their musical potential, inspiring them with excellent teachers and opportunities to develop their talents.

Private schools across the UK are well known for their superior facilities and emphasis on a broader, richer musical curriculum than state schools can offer. Choosing a private education allows parents the freedom to find a school that suits their child’s musical interests and aspirations.

So what are the best private schools for music in the UK? We’ve brought together some of the stand-out institutions for budding musical maestros and professional performers-to-be.

Which private schools offer the best musical education in the UK

Christ Church Cathedral School

With pianos in every room, music permeates the entire school. Christ Church Cathedral School (CCCS) was originally founded to provide an education for choristers, and the boys’ prep school still keeps up the tradition today.

The school near Oxford, has two main choirs, the Christ Church Cathedral Choir – renowned around the world – and a choir for day students that sings at Worcester College Chapel. There is also daily singing for the whole school, and plenty of vocal ensembles for boys to join, too.

CCCS puts on concerts throughout the year and the choirs tour regularly. They make broadcasts and recordings of their highly proficient performances.

But it isn’t just high-flying singing opportunities that the boys are offered, there are also a huge array of musical instruments taught on an individual basis. The school is open to non-choristers, and believes that all children have the ability to enjoy music – there’s no such thing as an ‘unmusical’ child, CCCS says.

At Christ Church Cathedral School, music brings a feeling of unity among its pupils and builds personal self-esteem for every boy.

Wellington School

Wellington College in Berkshire puts music at the core of school life. The school aims to enrich and inspire each of its pupils. It nurtures them to reach their musical potential by exploring every element from composing to performing.

Wellington has 9 full time music teachers and more than 60 instrumental teachers providing over 800 individual lessons each week.

There are several instrumental ensembles and singing groups to join from Big Bands to acapella groups. The Chapel Choir tours throughout the world, and is supported by the school’s symphony orchestra when away from home, or by the school’s own organ when singing at the College.

Styles taught at Wellington range from chamber music such as string quartets, to rock bands and percussion groups. Many of the school’s students go on to study music at Oxbridge or a conservatoire.

The School uses music to help its students explore the broader curriculum and to express their ideas about the importance of culture in society.


Uppingham School in Rutland makes music a way of life, with opportunities for students to get involved with styles from classical to hip-hop.

Uppingham is a non-specialist school when it comes to music, but despite this, the school’s music teachers are all professional musicians. Students are inspired by visits from world-class performers, many of who provide masterclasses and workshops.

Aside from teaching, Uppingham offers plenty of opportunities for its pupils to get involved with music through a wide variety of musical clubs and activities.


Bedales school in Hampshire recognises the importance of music both for performers and listeners. The school works hard to create collaborative and encouraging spaces in music departments across its three school ages groups.

Where a student of any age is considered to be an elite musician, Bedales will create a bespoke timetable that enables them to refine and enhance their talents. They are carefully trained to take leading roles in the musical ensembles the school offers.

Time for music groups and ensembles is ringfenced in the co-curricular timetable, so the school’s students have ample opportunity to take part in orchestras, choirs and rock bands. Bedales recognises the dedication of its pupils, opening up even more exciting opportunities for students as they show their commitment to music through practice and improvement.

The annual Rock Show at Bedales raises the excellence stakes as students compete to bring new heights of originality to their performances. Production quality reaches professional levels, and students enhance their acts with extravagant costumes and well-rehearsed dance routines.

Radley College

Music plays a huge part in school life at boys’ school Radley in Oxfordshire. There’s a large music department with four specialist staff and over 30 visiting music teachers who tutor both instrumental and vocal lessons. Music scholarships are also available to boys who show exceptional potential.

When it comes to facilities, the school has a concert hall, a theatre and recording studio, as well as several rooms for teaching and practice.

Radley College also offers plenty of co-curricular music opportunities. Boys with an interest in singing have a choice of a chapel choir, a choral society, and many smaller singing groups to choose from. Those who play instruments can get involved with the orchestra, big band, electric guitar orchestra, or string and woodwind ensembles. Pupils are even given the opportunity to conduct or play with professional orchestras visiting the school.

Radley’s an inclusive school where staff make sure there are opportunities for students of all musical abilities to perform. Staging a wide range of events from informal concerts to the annual Piano Extravaganza, there’s an occasion to suit every boy who wants to pursue his love of music.

As a choral school, Radley encourages applications from any boy to become a chorister, especially if they enjoy performing.

A life of music at private school

Whether your child’s destined for international acclaim or simply loves to express themselves with music, there’s a private school that’ll help them realise their ambitions. Some independent schools rejoice in traditional and classical styles, while others celebrate 21st century music. Discovering what’s on offer will be an exciting time for both you and your child.

For even more schools with excellent music provision and top facilities, discover the best schools for performing arts in the UK, especially if your child’s interested in drama and dance as well as music.

Funding a musical education

With such impressive facilities and incredible standards of teaching, it’s no surprise that independent schools specialising in music can come at a significant cost.

For some families, school fees can be a feel like a barrier. And sadly that means some parents dismiss a private education before they’ve fully explored the options for paying school fees. But an independent could be more affordable than they think.

In fact, it’s often possible to support your child’s musical passions without breaking the bank. You may be able to give your child the musical education of their dreams without sacrificing your own ambitions. To find out how you can plan for school fees properly and help your child reach their potential, contact us to talk through the options.