Music and Music Scholars

Our music and music technology departments are some of the most renowned and versatile in the country, providing outstanding musical tuition and enrichment to students.  The departments offer extensive performance opportunities to all musicians covering a wide range of musical styles.  From grand choral projects, pop, rock and jazz concerts to intimate recitals and small ensemble performances, all students are able to fully develop their passion for music.

The College recognises the huge benefit that music has within the community.  Students perform in local venues such as schools, hospitals and hospices and lead masterclasses to inspire the next generation of musicians.

Please click on the links below to expand the boxes and find out more information about all of the amazing music enrichment opportunities on offer.  Additional ensembles are formed to suit the instrumentalists at College.  Students are also encouraged to form their own ensembles; previous groups have included guitar ensemble and brass quintet. 

The Music Department offers tuition on musical instruments for all students of the College. Instruments offered are subject to demand, but we currently provide tuition from expert, professional musicians in: Trumpet, Trombone, Horn, Tuba, Voice, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Violin, Viola, ‘Cello, Piano, Drums and Percussion.

Lessons are provided free of charge with a member of College staff for all students studying A-level or BTEC Music on their principal instrument/voice. Lessons on a further instrument can be studied at a cost of approximately £200 a term.

Instrumental lessons for non-music students can be taken for approximately £200 a term. This includes a minimum of 10 lessons per term, but lessons may not be equally distributed between the three terms.

If you have any enquiries about instrumental lessons, please write to

The College’s Choral Society is one of the largest of the musical enrichment groups, boasting over 60 members. Students from across the College community and all A Level Music students take part and no audition is required.

Choral Society has a reputation as one of the finest examples of its kind in the country, performing each year with a professional orchestra and tackling large-scale classical repertoire such as Verdi’s ‘Requiem’, Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ and Britten’s ‘St Nicolas Cantata’ in some of the country’s finest venues, including Guildford Cathedral and Sandhurst Memorial Chapel.

Big Band is the College’s premier large-scale jazz ensemble, performing traditional jazz standards and contemporary works, including film scores.

Consisting of around 50 musicians, it boasts principal members of NYJO, county youth jazz ensembles and junior conservatoire jazz bands, but has no minimum standard and is open to all college students who play wind and brass instruments, piano, kit and guitar.

Chamber Orchestra is the College’s premier orchestral ensemble, performing an eclectic and dynamic range of classical and popular repertoire from the Baroque through to the 20th century. Recent performances include Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’, Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’, Piazolla’s ‘Le Grande Tango’ and arrangements of classic film scores.

Comprising of around 50 musicians it boasts principal members of NYO, county youth orchestras and junior conservatoires, but has no minimum standard and is open to all college students who play string, wind, brass and percussion instruments and piano.

Chamber Choir is the College’s elite classical vocal ensemble, established to give more experienced vocalists the opportunity to perform challenging, smaller-scale vocal repertoire. It is open to all college students and admission is by audition.

Chamber Choir gives regular evensong performances at sacred venues across the country, including the cathedrals of Salisbury, Christ Church Oxford, Southwark, Salisbury and Winchester. It was also the first state-education vocal ensemble to give choral evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral. Chamber Choir tours regularly and has performed in some of Europe's finest venues, most recently singing Mass at the Basilico St Marco, Venice and a programme of Bach Cantatas at Leipzig's Thomaskirche and Nikolaikirche.

‘Time Out’ is the College’s elite small-scale jazz ensemble. Open to all college students, it was established to give more experienced jazz musicians the opportunity to perform challenging, intimate repertoire, from traditional jazz through bebop to more contemporary numbers.

‘Time Out’ performs regularly both within and outside of College, and recent tours include performances at the renowned Marciac Jazz Festival in France.

The College’s string ensemble provides an opportunity for string players of all abilities to get together and focus on repertoire for strings only.

Open to all college students and with no minimum standard, the string ensemble perform regularly within college and enjoy tackling exciting ensemble repertoire such as that by Dvorak, Sibelius, Elgar and Holst.

The College’s flute choir provides an opportunity for flautists of all abilities to get together and focus on repertoire for flutes only.

Open to all college students and with no minimum standard, the flute choir performs regularly within college and enjoy performing arrangements of musical works in a fun and informal context.

The College’s Opera Project is a bi-annual event that draws together students from across the college to perform in a musical production. Since its conception, the opera project has gained a reputation for fearless programming and an outstanding performance standard.

Recent performances include Mozart’s ‘Le nozze di Figaro’, Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’ and Puccini’s one act operas ‘Suor Angelica’ and ‘Gianni Schicchi’. Past projects have also included the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, and in 2016 students performed George Gerswhin’s comic masterpiece, ‘Crazy for You’. The opera project is open to all college students by audition.

Grade V Theory workshops provide an opportunity for all college students to receive tuition and examination entry for the ABRSM Grade V Theory qualification.

Workshops are held on a weekday lunchtime and students may enter for the examination following the successful completion of a mock sample paper.

Here at Farnborough we offer a Music Scholars programme, this is designed for students who are strongly considering a career in music or the music industry.  Applications are welcome both from those students who study one of the music courses and from those who choose to take music as an enrichment option.

What is the benefit of being selected as a Music Scholar?

  • Study support for 1st instrument/voice: In addition to weekly free 30 minute lessons (for all A level students), scholars receive ongoing support to develop stage presence and artistic expression. They will also receive regular lessons on musical appreciation and music listening and benefit from visits from Alexander Technique teachers and other guest speakers. 
  • Performance: Opportunities to perform chamber music with fellow scholars and as a soloist include three high-profile (ticketed) Scholars’ Concerts, as well as events in the local community. Planning Summer Tour 2022 (restrictions permitting).
  • Collaboration: Masterclass with leading musicians and workshop opportunities with students from the RAM. 
  • Leadership: Scholars have the chance to lead sectionals and occasionally conduct rehearsals for the College orchestra and big band, as well as choirs and other ensembles. They are also ambassadors for the music department at college events and throughout the faculty.
  • Community: Involvement in community-based events, for example performing and organising performances and workshops for vulnerable members of the local community. The College’s outreach programme, in collaboration with our Partner Schools, enables scholars to gain valuable teaching experience whilst working with younger students in scholar-led workshops. 
  • Leading Music Conservatoires/Universities: The College has well-established partnerships with leading conservatoires and universities with specialised performance programmes. These connections offer music scholars the chance to participate in workshops and joint concerts and gain networking contacts for consultation lessons.

What skills do I need to be selected as a Music Scholar?

Music Scholars are selected in their first year and will be part of the small team of Scholars throughout their two years of study here. There are a limited number of Scholars places available, we are looking for students who are passionate about music and music performance.  Selections will be made not only on musical ability, Scholars will be well rounded and display:

  • Leadership qualities and organisational skills
  • Dedication
  • Artistic dynamism and versatility
  • Openness to learning new styles and skills and an appreciation of a diverse range of musical styles
  • Either assured performance, composition or arrangement skills 
  • Teamwork skills and willingness to collaborate both within the College and wider community.

How do I apply?

In order to apply, you must have received confirmation of your offer of a place at the College to start in September 2021. 

Due to Government guidelines it is not possible to run face to face auditions, students wishing to apply for a scholarship should therefore submit an audition video and and complete a questionnaire.  Further details about how to do this will be emailed to all students who have applied to study music A level.  Audition videos must be received by Friday 7 May 2021.  We will notify everyone with the outcome of their audition by email in the week commencing 24 May 2021.

Further information is available from