Music at John Lyon has long held a strong reputation, thanks to its pursuit of excellence alongside a culture of participation and enjoyment.

Our Music School houses a 120-seater recital hall equipped with two Steinway concert grand pianos, a state-of-the-art recording studio and eight individual practice studios. Concerts also take place in the larger Boyd Campbell Hall.

There are no fewer than 17 groups and ensembles at John Lyon, including String Ensemble, Flute Choir, Rock Band and The Pride of Lyon’s Chamber Choir. These groups, as well as soloists, get to perform at numerous concerts each term, and these performance skills translate into examination achievement, with many of our musicians gaining their Grade 8 at an early age.

The Music Department maintains strong links with the Royal Academy of Music and the London Chamber Orchestra, the latter of which allows our pupils to act as mentors to young schoolchildren from around London.


Music Facilities

  • Music School with performance hall, which houses a Steinway Model D concert grand piano
  • Eight teaching/practice rooms
  • Music Technology Studio
  • Modern recording studio
  • Classroom equipped with latest iMacs and a Yamaha grand piano
  • Boyd Campbell Hall with a Steinway Model B concert grand piano

Performance Opportunities

  • Chamber recitals; pupils can try out their examination pieces in our solos concerts
  • Piano and vocal recitals at outside venues
  • House Singing
  • House Music Competition
  • Commemoration Concert; which combines musicians of John Lyon;
  • Christmas Concert
  • Workshops and masterclasses
  • Junior Music Day; which includes children taking part from local schools
  • Annual musical
  • Cathedral choral visit and Evensong
  • Ensembles Concerts


Year 7 and Year 8 | core subject

In the first two years, pupils study a broad curriculum including Folk Music, Medieval Music, World Music, Blues and Jazz Improvisation – as well as many aspects of classical music, in addition to music theory and notation. There are almost weekly opportunities to perform as part of these lessons.

Year 9 | option subject

By the third year Music becomes an option subject, giving pupils a further year of studying Music before making a decision about GCSE choices. In this year pupils broaden their knowledge further through study of Pop Music and Film Music, whilst also part-studying at least two GCSE set works to give them a flavour of the subject in Years 10 and 11.

Year 10 and 11, GCSE | option subject

GCSE Music develops skills in performing, composing, listening to and analysing music. It covers the study of a wide variety of musical styles including classical music, world music and popular music.

Pupils will learn to use technology in both the arranging and composition of music alongside editing recorded music. GCSE Music is a good preparation for further musical study and a solid foundation for the A-Levels in Music and Music Technology. Many pupils may study GCSE Music purely out of enjoyment for the subject.

Sixth Form, A-Level | option subject

This course offers the opportunity to develop musical skills and understanding. Through performing, composing and analysing music, knowledge and appreciation of the subject will deepen. We will study instrumental music (Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven); popular song (blues, jazz, swing and big band); instrumental jazz from 1910 to the present day; religious music of the Baroque period; programme music (1820-1910); and innovations in music from 1900 to the present day.




Our musical history

Orchestras, choirs and other groups have a long history at John Lyon and a number of pupils have gone on to have musical success. These include Andrew Carwood, director of music at St Paul’s Cathedral and Michael McCarthy, musical director at Washington National Cathedral.