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“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” - Confucius

The Music Department at Malvern St James delivers instrumental and vocal lessons to nearly 50% of the Senior School every week.  Our 22 Visiting Music Teachers and 3 full time staff provide lessons on the entire range of orchestral and band instruments, together with contemporary rhythm section instruments and voice.  

Girls have the opportunity to enter graded music exams each term (normally ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall or Rock school).  Individuals have had successes with choral scholarships, diploma exams and competitions, including the Cheltenham and Worcester Music Festivals, and a number of current girls are members of county ensembles run by Worcestershire Youth Music and some are members of the National Children’s Orchestra.

There are a wealth of opportunities in the Music Department for all pupils to have lessons on any orchestral or band instrument. Tuition is also available in piano, organ, singing, guitar, bass guitar, drum kit and orchestral percussion. Other instruments can also be catered for by request (eg guzheng, erhu).

It is normal practice for singers to participate in at least one of the choirs and instrumentalists to play in the Prep instrumental Ensemble, Orchestra or Jazz Band.

Currently the following groups are offered:

  • Prep Recorders: Years 3 - 6
  • Prep Instrumental Ensemble: Years 4 - 6
  • Prep Choir: Years R - 6
  • MSJ Chorus: Year 7 and above, all welcome
  • MSJ Singers: Year 9 and above, by invitation / audition
  • Senior Vocal Ensemble: Year 10 and above, by invitation / audition
  • Gospel Choir: Year 7 and above by invitation
  • Orchestra: Year 7 and above
  • Jazz Band: Year 7 and above
  • Intermediate String Ensemble: Years 7 - 9
  • Chamber Ensembles: this varies each year but may typically include string quartet, flute ensemble and brass ensemble

Within the framework of individual music lessons, pupils are encouraged to take graded exams when appropriate (ABRSM, Trinity College, London College of Music). This includes Music Theatre and Jazz as well as the usual range of instrumental and vocal subjects. Music Theory classes are available as a weekly activity.

There is a programme of regular lunchtime concerts (‘Young Performers’ Platform’) where individuals are encouraged to perform as soloists (with or without accompaniment) and termly concerts feature the larger ensembles and chamber groups. Musical theatre productions are regularly undertaken by both Prep and Senior Schools.

A busy timetable of weekly activities operates throughout the week:


MSJ Chorus,

Year 7-9 String Ensemble

Senior Chamber Music Ensembles


Jazz Band

Theory Drop-In Sessions


Prep Choir

Symphony Orchestra

CASE (Clarinet and Saxophone Ensemble)

Brass Ensemble

ThursdayPIE (Prep Instrumental Ensemble)

Senior Vocal Ensemble

YPP (Young Performers Platforms- twice termly)

“Music is an outburst of the soul” – Delius


Singing is at the heart of school life at MSJ, with hymn practice and whole-school singing in morning services. We are proud of our choral tradition and numerous students have gone on to win choral awards at Oxbridge.  As well as the many Choral Evensongs and concerts, MSJ host an annual Prep School Choir Competition where local and feeder Prep and Primary Schools are invited to take part in a fun day of choral singing.

  • The MSJ Singers is a chamber choir and represent the school at all major internal and external engagements including Evensong services in Cathedrals, Commemoration, Carol Services, community concerts and festivals.  Recent tours abroad have included Rome, Vienna and Paris and they have collaborated with the ESO, Elgar Chorale and other schools in the area, raising substantial sums for local charities and church appeals.
  • The MSJ Chorus is a large choir that explores a varied repertoire including Negro Spirituals, Gospel, Folk, Pop and Music Theatre and Opera Choruses. 
  •  In the MSJ Senior Vocal Ensemble, girls who have achieved Grades 6 upwards are invited to explore madrigals, opera, art songs, popular music and modern works.  They are frequently requested to perform at weddings and other high profile events within the local community.
  • In the MSJ Prep Choir girls in the Prep Department sing and develop their voices.  They enjoy performing songs with movement for all major engagements during the school year.


The Music Department at MSJ is a bustling and exciting environment and our termly calendars are packed with formal and informal lunchtime and evening concerts, master classes and workshops, Evensong, and evening trips to local and regional concert halls.

In addition, our musicians provide music for school functions (such as Open Days and OGA events) and church and school services.  The Jazz Band gives regular concerts in conjunction with other groups and soloists at MSJ and often collaborates with neighbouring schools for large-scale events.