Pride, participation and progress are at the heart of music-making at Colfe’s. We offer a wide and varied programme of co-curricular music, involving students throughout the whole senior school.
Concerts and Competitions
Performances range from formal end of term concerts to relaxed platform concerts where students sign up to perform and share their progress. We also work closely with the Drama department and put on regular joint shows, most recently a fantastic production of Return to the Forbidden Planet, including a live band made up of students. Pupils have the opportunity to perform in fantastic venues, including the Leatherseller’s Hall, and St Alfege Church, Greenwich, which recently hosted our exciting rendition of Joseph Horowitz’s Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo. At the end of Autumn term, the choir sings in our annual Carol Sevice at St Mary’s Church Lewisham, which is always a highlight of the musical calendar. Music-making is also part of Colfe’s history. Every year we sing for the Election Day service for the Leathersellers’ Livery Company, which has governed the school since 1652, in addition to performing at the Colfe’s Founder’s Day Service, which celebrates our 17th-century founder, the Revd Abraham Colfe. The academic year concludes with the House Music competition, where students from all year groups come together to represent the house in an exciting and hotly anticipated evening of musical entertainment and healthy rivalry!
Instrumental/Vocal Music Lessons
Musicians at Colfe’s are busy. On average, approximately 125 hours of individual music lessons taught by 20 visiting instrumental/vocal teachers, take place every week. Individual tuition can be arranged for orchestral, jazz, vocal and pop music. Lessons take place during the day on a weekly rotation so that you don’t miss the same academic lesson every week. Our teachers are all very experienced performers. At the end of the autumn and spring terms we run ABRSM exams in school, which give pupils a clear goal to aim for.
Year 7 Music Scheme
Colfe’s offers a unique Music Scheme for all pupils in Year 7 to promote active participation and regular performance opportunities for all, regardless of previous musical experience. A number of Year 7 pupils receive free group instrumental tuition on a variety of instruments from the double bass to the flute throughout the year. These pupils attend weekly rehearsals for the Year 7 Band and all pupils are invited to join the Year 7 Choir. At the end of every term, pupils perform in a special Year 7 concert where parents and staff are invited to celebrate their progress and success. Many pupils continue their music lessons beyond Y7 and go on to join one of our many musical ensembles.
Pupils at Colfe’s have the opportunity to perform in a range of musical ensembles across several styles. Ensembles are led by musical specialists and repertoire is carefully selected to both challenge and inspire students.
Current ensembles on offer include:
- Senior Choir
- Chamber Singers (SSA)
- Barbershop (TTBB)
- Brass Group
- Wind Band
- Swing Band
- String Quartet
- String Orchestra
- Symphony Orchestra
- Many more chamber ensembles
GCSE & A-Level Music
Information about these courses can be found on our Academic Music page.
Music scholarships are offered at Year 7 and Year 12.
In order to be considered for a Music scholarship the candidate must have met the academic requirements for admission to Colfe’s.
At Year 7 entry we expect potential scholars to be playing at Grade 4 standard and at Year 12 Grade 7 standard.
All scholars are expected to contribute fully to music at Colfe’s by joining several ensembles and regularly performing solos in school concerts. Their progress is monitored throughout their time at Colfe’s with annual review meetings with the Director of Music and regular contact with parents.
Our current Music Scholars are represented in a range of musical organisations outside of school, including junior conservatoires and the National Children’s orchestra.
Auditions take place in December for Year 12 entry and January for Year 7 entry. At both levels we are looking for musicality, potential and enthusiasm as well as excellent technique. Applicants should prepare two contrasting pieces, with or without accompaniment as appropriate. Both pieces may be on their principal instrument/voice, or one on their principal study and one on their second study. Applicants will be given a short sight-reading test and aural test equivalent to their current standard. The process will conclude with a short interview to discuss the applicant’s musical interests and opportunities available at Colfe’s.
Information on how to apply is available in our Admissions section.