At North London, we provide a broad range of musical opportunities for all students and strive for ambitious music making.

Instrumental and vocal lessons are provided each week in all the major disciplines, and most recently we have introduced conducting lessons. We have an incredibly vibrant extra-curricular music programme, and in offering the Pre-U, IB and IGCSE syllabuses, seek to provide an ambitious academic music education for our pupils.

Extra-curricular Music

Pupils have numerous performing opportunities, ranging from our all-inclusive end of term concerts to our prestigious Old House Concert Series dedicated to solos and chamber music. Girls also have the chance to perform in external venues in London and abroad on tours, which in recent years have included Venice, New York and Tuscany. Over the years, we have given joint concerts with Harrow School and formed a partnership with the London Handel Players, playing in St Lawrence’s Church, Whitchurch Lane as part of the London Handel Festival. 


All styles of music thrive at North London Collegiate across classical, popular and world music genres. Girls are encouraged to participate in a range of auditioned and non-auditioned extra-curricular musical activities. We are keen to encourage student initiative, and there are a number of ensembles which are run by our students themselves, such as a Ukelele Club for Junior School girls, and a choir that sings in care homes.

The Senior Concerts provide an opportunity for our older pupils to perform in large groups in the purpose-built Performing Arts Centre. Recent repertoire includes performances of movements from Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, Grieg’s Piano Concerto, Mozart’s Requiem and the Serenades for Strings by Elgar and Suk. We are fortunate that we have rich tradition of music in our Middle School too; our annual Middle School Concerts provide hugely entertaining and varied musical experiences for all at a very high level. In addition to this, girls have the opportunity to perform in lunchtime and evening recitals in our Old House Concert series. 

Chamber music is particularly strong feature of NLCS music – a large number of groups rehearse each week, including quartets, trios, and other ensembles. Each year, groups take part in the South East Chamber Music Competition for Schools; in 2017, an ensemble performed in the finals of each category at St John’s Smith Square, with one of our piano trios eventually being crowned Intermediate champions. In addition to our successes at chamber music competitions, larger ensembles have competed successfully at local festivals, and also national competitions such as the annual Music for Youth Festival and the Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod.

A number of current pupils also play for the National Youth Orchestra and the National Children’s Orchestra, and have had success in national and international music competitions.

The Curriculum

The Music Department comprises four academic teachers. All pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 receive a weekly Music lesson; thereafter, Music is offered as an option in the Upper School (the IGCSE syllabus), and in the Sixth Form (the International Baccalaureate and Pre- U syllabuses).

In the Middle School, the girls are given a general musical education - the aim is to introduce a variety of repertoire that illustrates some of the compositional techniques that make great music. Classes are designed to cater to all levels of musicianship and give an opportunity for students to listen, perform and compose as individuals and in groups.

For girls studying Music in the Upper School, we continue to focus on the core disciplines of listening, performing and composing as part of the IGCSE Music course. Students also compose at least 2 pieces of music and are assessed on solo and ensemble performance. The written paper assesses the pupils’ familiarity of music from the Western Classical tradition as well as jazz, musicals, and music from across the globe.

In the Sixth Form, girls develop their existing knowledge; as with the IGCSE, part of the course is dedicated to performance and composition, with an additional focus on harmony and counterpoint. The IB written paper is particularly wide-ranging, and enables students to analyse and evaluate practically any genre of music, and broadly speaking covers the Western Classical, Popular, and World Music traditions. The Pre-U written paper aims to develop pupils’ listening skills within the context of the Classical Symphony and 19th Century Orchestral Music; pupils also study about the history of jazz, and explore broader musico-philosophical concepts.

To complement our academic musical studies, each year visiting professors from Oxbridge and other top universities are invited to speak at NLCS. A number of girls regularly go on to study Music at top universities or conservatories, or to take prestigious choral scholarships at Oxbridge and elsewhere.