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; most recently, we have introduced conducting lessons as a way of further developing our pupils’ musicianship and leadership skills. 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
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. In what is an exciting development for the school, our Drummond Room now houses a Steinway Grand Piano for our pupils and external musicians to perform on. Girls also have the chance to perform in external venues in London such as St John’s Smith Square and St George’s Hanover Square, and abroad on tours. In July 2019 NLCS Chorus and Sinfonia look forward to going on tour to Italy, to include a performance at St Mark’s Basilica, Venice.
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 musical activities. We are keen to encourage student initiative, and there are a number of ensembles which are run by our students themselves, including a choir that sings in care homes and a Carnatic Ensemble.
Our end-of-term concerts provide an opportunity for our pupils to perform in large groups in the purpose-built Performing Arts Centre. Recent repertoire includes performances of movements from Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, Saint-Saens’ Second Piano Concerto, Mozart’s Coronation Mass and the Serenades for Strings by Elgar and Suk. Every two years our senior girls take part in a musical – productions in recent years have included West Side Story and Sister Act.
Chamber music is particularly strong feature of NLCS music – a large number of groups rehearse each week, including quartets, trios, and other ensembles. Along with Wycombe Abbey School and Harrow School, NLCS is one of the founding members of the South East Schools’ Chamber Music Festival. Ensembles have competed successfully at local and national festivals, including in 2018 a performance by our Sinfonia at the National Final of the Music for Youth Festival at the Birmingham Town Hall. 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.
We believe that maintaining a close relationship with the musical profession is invaluable in inspiring the next generation of musicians. Last academic year saw pupils participate in piano and cello masterclasses, a side-by-side recording project with the RAF Central Band, and work with renowned conductor Peter Stark. Next academic year we will be welcoming to North London our Visiting Academic Musician Dr Joseph Fort, Lecturer at King’s College London; Roger Coull, leader of the acclaimed Coull Quartet, will work with our Music Scholars in September. And, in what will be a real highlight of the year, Lauren Zhang, BBC Young Musician of the Year 2018, will visit the school as part of our Piano Day in January.
More information about our programme of extra-curricular activities and our busy calendar of musical events can be found here.
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, and in recent years pupils have gained Choral, Organ and Instrumental Scholarships at Oxbridge and elsewhere.
In 2018 North London Collegiate School was awarded an ISM Gold Certificate in Music for its IGCSE Music results, with the exam being taken by over 20% of the Year 11 cohort.