Music and The Arts

Drawing upon its choral foundation, the musical, cultural and artistic life of the School is very strong. Music has been at the heart of New College School since it was founded in 1379 as a school to educate the choristers of New College. Nowadays, of course, it is not just choristers that we educate, but nonetheless we aim to give every boy who passes through the school the best start in music that we possibly can. From Reception to Year 8 all boys have timetabled class music each week, and, using singing as a starting point, they discover their own musical potential, as well as learning about the whole world of music around them.

Oxford is rich in musical resources, in its concert life, its local musicians and the many opportunities to see and hear wonderful music we have on our own doorstep. During the past year boys have attended – and performed in – concerts in the Sheldonian Theatre, gone to the Oxford Chamber Music Festival, listened to Tudor instruments, learned how violins are made, watched a masterclass led by international cello soloist Raphael Wallfisch, and have heard live Sri Lankan music, visited the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, taken part in drumming workshops and sung along with a folk duo.

At New College School we have a team of expert Visiting Music Teachers who offer teaching on a wide range of instruments. There is an emphasis on orchestral instruments, given that NCS is a choir school, which means that there is nothing unusual about a boy learning the recorder or the violin, and boys flourish. By Year 3 almost every boy learns an instrument, and several learn two or more. The Director of Music is happy to help find the right instrument for your child and to give advice. Music lessons are arranged on a rota-system, and whilst boys come out of academic lessons for their music lessons, they miss a different lesson each week. The charge for lessons and any music that has been provided is added to the bill at the end of each term. Boys perform in at least one concert per term, in a friendly and supportive atmosphere.

The school runs a wide number of ensembles to support all this instrumental tuition and to enrich the boys’ learning:

• Pre-Prep orchestra – all boys of Years 1 and 2
• Junior Strings
• Recorder Club
• Brass Group
• Junior Choir - Years 3, 4 and 5
• Senior Choir – Years 6, 7 and 8
• Chamber Choir 
• String Orchestra
• Training Orchestra
• The Broken Consort (a mixture of string and wind players)
• Two string quartets
• Cello ensemble