St Hugh's School has a widely respected Music Department, with very high levels of achievement and involvement. It has been highly praised on each of the last four inspections.

Class lessons with the Director of Music are delivered weekly from Nursery through to Year 8. The primary emphasis is on music as a practical subject. Children will have the opportunity to perform, create and experience. They will learn to make music with others and discover their own expressive potential. During their time at St. Hugh's all pupils will participate in public and classroom performances. Those who wish to pursue their talents to a higher level will be given every assistance and encouragement.

Instrumental Lessons

Children are encouraged to take up a musical instrument and over 60% of pupils in Years 3 to 8 currently learn at least one, with many playing more. Some 90 music lessons take place every week. Tuition is available in all orchestral instruments, including strings, brass and woodwind. In addition, we offer guitar, drum kit, singing and piano with our team of specialist peripatetic staff during the school day. These are arranged on a rota basis to minimise disruption to academic work. Much research points to their wider educational and social benefit. Instrumental work is loosely based around the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music grade system, for which the school is an exam centre, but is flexibly tailored to individual needs and aspirations. Trinity and Rock School examinations are also available.

Extra-curricular Music Making

There is a main school orchestra which performs regularly both publicly and in school. The orchestra plays a variety of repertoire, with parts that are appropriate for each child, providing ambitious but attainable challenges for musicians. The experience of performing with peers and playing music that is different to that provided in instrumental lessons breeds enthusiasm and enjoyment for all those involved. Children thrive in orchestra and develop skills that are transferable into practical examinations and produce a heightened experience of musicianship. Sight reading and aural skills can be honed, as well as providing an extra opportunity to get the instruments out of their cases! The peripatetic staff support their musicians through each rehearsal and provide extra guidance when needed, along with additional techniques and tips that may not usually form part of an instrumental lesson. 

Class orchestras are formed annually which involve all children in Years 3-6. Two choirs perform both traditional and contemporary works. The department also boasts a rock band and jazz ensemble, as well as a string group, a wind ensemble and brass ensemble. Concerts take place throughout the year, both at school and in the wider community. 

These include:

An Autumn concert which involves Years 3 to 8, featuring a cross section of musicians - recent events have been themed, and included Space, Around the World in 80 Minutes, The Last Night of the Proms, and a French Soirée. The orchestra, choirs, ensembles, soloists all participate;

A Junior Concert in the Spring term which all pupils from Years 3 to 6 and below perform in class orchestras etc., along with items from soloists, Choir and Pre-Prep department;

A full-length show in the Spring term (recent shows include Dazzle, Wizard of Oz, Kiss Me Kate, Annie Get Your Gun, Anything Goes, Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat etc.);

A Summer Concert which has an emphasis on the more advanced players and more serious music. It provides a platform for music scholars to perform, along with those preparing for examinations;

Seasonal services and carol concerts, both at school and in the wider community;

Nativity play and Junior Show which involve "Transition" to Year 2, and Years 3-5 respectively.

The department attends music days at senior schools for choristers and instrumentalists, and performs in the wider community, giving concerts, singing at weddings and performing at charity events. We also regularly welcome visiting teachers from other independent senior schools, delivering workshops and other activities for pupils to participate in.


Music scholarships are obtained regularly to major independent senior schools including Oakham, Oundle, Repton, Lincoln Minster, Uppingham and Worksop.