"A must for aspiring musicians."
Nick Betts, co-principal trumpet, LPO
Junior Guildhall’s Music Course offers advanced training for young people between the ages of 8 to 18 (singers from mid-teens). This comprehensive programme is carefully designed to give students a balanced exposure to the discipline of music through individual instrumental lessons, chamber music, orchestras, choirs, workshop activity, classes and frequent performance opportunities. Students receive the type of considered personal attention that young musicians really benefit from, with the timetable tailored to their individual needs. An exciting curriculum, combined with the School’s modern facilities and professional staff, creates a unique environment for aspiring performers.
Entry to the Music Course is by audition where we look for musical potential and commitment. Students travel to Junior Guildhall from across the UK, enabling them to live at home and continue their general education during the week, travelling to London on a Saturday for their specialist musical education.
There are approximately 240 students who attend the Music Course, which runs from 8am to 6pm on Saturdays. All students receive an individually constructed timetable. There are compulsory activities and a number of optional classes and lessons. The length of each student’s programme will, therefore, depend on the number of optional activities chosen.
Each student receives 30 lessons in each subject divided between three terms over the academic year. There are also a number of extra Saturdays each term which are used for rehearsals, workshops and events.
The minimum requirement of the Music Course consists of:
- A 40-minute individual lesson (this can be extended at an additional cost)
- Ensemble or related workshop activity
- Musical Awareness class
Students automatically receive a first study lesson lasting 40 minutes. This may be extended to one hour or longer for which an extra charge is made. Students are expected to devote a considerable amount of time to regular private practice during the week, which is essential if a student is to make good progress. Additional lessons can often be arranged with teachers, for example during the holidays or midweek.
First study lessons can be provided in the following:
- Double Bass
As well as extensions to the first study lessons students may request to have extra study lessons in any of those subjects available as first studies for an extra charge.
Alexander Technique Lessons
Both individual and group Alexander Technique lessons are available with a specialist Alexander Technique teacher. These either consist of 15 individual sessions per annum or 30 group sessions per annum. Each session lasts for 30 minutes.
Ensemble & Workshop Activity
For each subject there are specialist classes, workshops and ensembles. All students are expected to attend at least one ensemble or workshop activity which is directly relevant to their first study subject. These include:
- Junior String Ensemble
- Intermediate String Ensemble
- Junior Guildhall String Ensemble
- Symphony Orchestra
- Viola Club
- Bass Class
- String Chamber Music
- Junior Choir
- Chamber Choir
- Boys Choir
- Wind Orchestra
- Wind Academy
- Wind Chamber Music
- Brass Band
- Brass Quintet
- Brass Ensemble
- Horn Class
- Trumpet Class
- Trombone Class
- Tuba Class
- Recorder Ensemble
- Guitar Workshop
- Jazz Ensemble
- Jazz Workshop
- Big Band
- Vocal Workshop
- Composition Workshop
- Saxophone Ensemble
- Piano Ensemble
- Piano Workshop
- Harp Ensemble
- Percussion Ensemble
Musical Awareness is a one-hour class taught in small groups to develop aural perception, creativity and general musical knowledge leading to our Higher Certificate in Music examination which is usually taken in Year 11. There is a flexible syllabus divided into levels to ensure progress and continuity. In special cases, supplementary theory and aural training classes are available. Students in our Upper School (mainly in Years 12 & 13) are offered a range of optional classes including an A-Level Support Class, Jazz, Conducting and an Electronic Studio class.
Although no great emphasis is placed on graded examinations we recognise that many students like to take them. Students may take graded examinations or diplomas of any recognised board.
Our own internal examinations are kept to a minimum, giving preference to platform performance. All students, except those in Year 13, are expected to give one platform performance each year which is assessed and students in Years 12 and 13 are encouraged to give a recital. As part of their Musical Awareness course, all students take regular aural assessments and submit examples of their creative work for marking. Students are given the opportunity to perform their compositions and arrangements in concert. All students in the top level of our Middle School (usually Year 11 students) take our internal Higher Certificate in Music examination (further details are available on request from the Junior Guildhall Office) and all students in Year 11 take a formal performance assessment.
Students in their first year at Junior Guildhall have their place reviewed by taking a formal performance assessment.
Detailed progress reports on every student are issued annually during the Summer Term.
Junior Guildhall Direct Entry to BMus2
Junior Guildhall offers a direct entry route to the second year of the Guildhall School's BMus course (BMus2) for students with exceptional performance and academic ability. This provides a significant cost-saving advantage for those who wish to pursue studies at the Guildhall School, as students entering BMus2 will only need to complete three years of full-time study to obtain their degree.
Students on this course may be able to audition early and could be offered a conditional place by the end of Year 12, avoiding the need to audition at other conservatoires.
Students will be selected for this course by the Junior Guildhall Senior Management Team based on their performance and academic ability and teacher recommendation. Students must be studying on the Music Course at Junior Guildhall and will typically start the course in Year 12.
Offers for direct entry to BMus2 will be conditional upon meeting the principal study entry requirement for BMus Year 2 and successfully passing assessments in Aural, Harmony and written work at BMus Year 1 level by the end of May prior to the start of the academic year of entry. Additionally, successful applicants will need to demonstrate 60 hours of workshop or ensemble activity in the year prior to entry.
Junior Guildhall Jazz Programme
Junior Guildhall offers a Jazz Programme designed for both specialist jazz musicians (those studying a jazz instrument as a first study) and for non-specialist, classical musicians who wish to learn about and experience playing jazz.
Jazz instruments taught on the programme:
- Piano & Saxophone - usually taught on Saturdays
The following instruments are usually taught Monday to Friday from 5pm:
- Bass Guitar
- Double Bass
- Drum Kit
- Other instruments by negotiation
Specialist Jazz Programme
The Specialist Jazz Programme includes:
- First study jazz lesson - minimum length 40 mins but can be extended to 60 mins or longer
- Extra study classical lesson (same instrument as the jazz lesson) - minimum length 30 mins but can be extended
- Jazz Ensemble
- Big Band
- General Musical Awareness (for students in Years 8 to 11)
- Specialist Musical Awareness (for students in Years 12 & 13)
Students may also be able to engage in non-jazz activities as available to all Music Course students, subject to ability and timetable.
Non-Specialist Jazz Programme
Students will enter the Music Course through the normal audition process and may additionally engage in some or all of the following jazz studies:
- Extra study jazz lessons - minimum length 20 minutes (instruments available as listed above)
- Jazz Workshop
- Big Band
- Jazz Ensemble (depending upon age and ability)
- Jazz Musical Awareness (Year 12 & 13 students only)
Performance is a central part of our work at Junior Guildhall and there are over 80 concerts a year including Public Concerts, Student Recitals, Chamber Concerts, informal Open House Concerts and Second Study Concerts.
Students have given television and radio recordings and external performances have taken place at the Barbican Hall, Fairfield Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Wales Millennium Centre, St James’s Piccadilly, St John’s Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, the Southbank Centre, St Lawrence Jewry, Bishopsgate Institute, Charlton House, Regent Hall and West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.
Advanced students are given the opportunity to give concerto performances with one of Junior Guildhall’s ensembles or to give solo recitals.
Concert tours are sometimes organised, the most recent being to Spain, Scotland and Devon.
Details of public concerts by Junior Guildhall are included in our What's On section.
Junior Guildhall offers pre-audition advice with specialist teachers for prospective students. This will normally be a one-to-one session but the student's parent/carer may also attend. The teacher may offer advice on musical interpretation and technical set-up and indicate whether the student is suitable for a Junior Guildhall audition. Please note that any indication given is not a guarantee of passing an audition.