Music as an academic subject is taken by all boys in Junior Part (Year 9). The course provides boys with an overview of music in society, as well as offering preparation for the IGCSE course for those planning to continue with the subject. Boys are encouraged to attend performances and become involved in the musical life of the school.
Music IGCSE is available to all boys, and is taken in V Book (Year 11). The syllabus covers a wide range of music, including jazz, world music, and the study of some Set Works from the mainstream classical repertoire. Boys will acquire a broad knowledge of music and its history, as well the opportunity to compose and perform. Usually around 25 boys opt for IGCSE Music each year, and in 2015, 100% of candidates were awarded an A* or A grade.
Music is also available at Pre-U, and set sizes usually number 6-8. Recent results have been excellent (in 2015, all candidates achieved a D3 or higher), and boys regularly go on to read Music at universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, often with choral or organ scholarships. The course is challenging but rewarding, providing an in-depth study of three periods of music history alongside listening, performing and composition. Boys also have an opportunity to explore music that interests them.
The department offers tuition in Theory of Music (Grades V and VIII) and in Aural training Grades VI, VII and VIII). Academic music is taught throughout the school by an experienced staff of six full-time teachers, who are also fully involved in extra-curricular music.
Instrumental lessons are provided by a staff of over 50 visiting teachers, and around two-thirds of boys receive individual music lessons each week. These are timetabled to avoid any academic lessons, and are thus fully compatible with Winchester's demanding but exciting academic programme. Lessons are available on all orchestral instruments (including harp), saxophone, piano, singing, guitar, electric guitar, organ, drums/percussion, bagpipes, composition and music technology.