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Extra-Curricular Music

The Music Place aptitude test for September 2019 entry will be held at William Ellis School at 4:30pm on Monday 15th October 2018.  The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Friday 12th October 2018. The application form can be downloaded from the bottom of this page.

Our Vision:

To give all students access to high quality, authentic musical experiences which excite them and broaden their horizons. 

In 2016...outcomes in Music...were outstanding (Ofsted, 2017).

Welcome to the William Ellis Music Department. There is a strong tradition of Music at William Ellis, where 20% of students learn an instrument and are immersed in a range of styles and genres.

For enquiries, please email the Head of Music Mr Forbat at

Results and accomplishments 

In February 2017, Mark Philips (Senior Ofsted Inspector and ex-national Ofsted advisor for Music) led an inspection of William Ellis School. The report highlighted the importance of music in the school, commenting on the 'good range of extra-curricular activities' and 'outstanding' outcomes in music.  We push students to achieve their full potential and achieve excellent examination results. This includes:

  • 68% 8-9 in Music GCSE 2018
  • 100% A*-C in Music GCSE 2017, with 55% A* - A
  • 100% A*-C in Music Technology A Level 2017, with 55% A*-B at AS

ISM Bronze Award 2017

The Music Department was awarded a bronze award by the Incorporated Society of Musicians in 2017 for excellence in results and uptake in GCSE Music.


Music Tech GURU

William Ellis Music Department works in collaboration with to provide high quality and engaging resources for music technology students studying Music Technology A Level, GCSE Music and Music Production.

Extra-curricular ensembles

At William Ellis we encourage all students to participate in extra-curricular music to supplement curriculum lessons. Below is the list of activities currently on offer:

Each week, the school collaborates with the Music Departments of La Sainte Union, Parliament Hill and Acland Burghley Schools to provide students with an opportunity to partake in high-quality large-ensemble music-making as part of the LaSWAP Orchestra. Students of any standard are encouraged to participate in Concert Orchestra, and students who can perform and read music confidently at grade 5 attend Chamber Orchestra.

Instrumental lessons 

Our most important assets are the large number of visiting specialist instrumental teachers who provide both one-to-one tuition and lead our wide range of ensembles. These professional musicians teach throughout the school week in our well-equipped practice rooms, which students are encouraged to use for personal practice during lunchtimes.  For more information regarding instrumental lessons, click here.

Click here to find your son’s instrumental lesson time.

Click here to sign up for instrumental lessons.


At William Ellis, we pride ourselves on going above and beyond the expectations of most secondary schools and have a range of facilities available. One of these is the use of a world-class Steinway Model D concert grand piano in the main hall, which is available for the boys to use for both practice and performances.

Internationally acclaimed concert pianist Jayson Gillham performing in 2015

In addition, we also have state of the art Music Technology facilities for delivering A Level Music Technology, including 27 iMac desktop computers, each equipped with Logic Pro X , Sibelius 8 and a dedicated 24-track recording studio. We also own a 30-piece Samba kit and 3 practice rooms fully-equipped with band instruments for students’ use.  In October 2018 we will be expanding into new, purpose-built  facilities which will include a new recording studio, mac suite and practice rooms.

concert series

We have a well-established concert series which provides students of all standards and ages opportunities to perform both in and out of school.

  • LaSWAP Ensembles Concerts take place twice a year, in collaboration with the Music Departments of La Sainte Union, Parliament Hill and Acland Burghley to showcase all four schools’ ensembles. This also provides an opportunity for the LaSWAP Concert Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra to perform.
  • In order to build students’ confidence in solo and small ensemble performing, each term the Music Department organises Performance Platform concerts for students who learn an instrument either in or out of school.  These informal concerts give students of all abilities, from absolute beginner to grade 8, the opportunity to perform in front of their friends and peers. If you would like your son to perform at the next Performance Platform concert, please contact the Head of Music Mr Forbat at

  • The Department also organises an Open Mic gig during Friday lunchtimes each term in the Learning Resource Centre  as a chance to showcase the best of up-and-coming talent in William Ellis and LaSWAP.
  • A highlight of the musical calendar is the annual Spring Shindig organised in collaboration with our parents' association, WESPA. This family-friendly event showcases the popular music and jazz performance opportunities on offer at William Ellis and is used as a chance for students to collaborate with professionals and to raise funds for new equipment in the department. In recent years, the school has raised money for a new piano and new drum kit for the department.

William Ellis Concert Series 2018-19

Concert Date Venue & Time
Autumn Performance Platform 
Tuesday 30th October 2018
  • William Ellis School Hall
  • 16:00-17:00
  • No tickets Required

LaSWAP Autumn Ensembles Concert

Tuesday 20th November 2018
  • St Martin's Church, Gospel Oak
  • 18:30 - 20:00
  • Tickets £3 (cash only)

Winter Entertainment Event

Tuesday 18th  December 2018
  • William Ellis School Hall
  • 18:00 - 19:30
  • No Tickets required

Spring Performance Platform 

Tuesday 12th 

February 2019

  • William Ellis School Hall
  • 16:00-17:00
  • No tickets Required

Spring Shindig

Friday 22nd 

March 2019

  • William Ellis School Hall
  • 19:30 - 21:30

Summer Performance Platform 


Tuesday 14th 

May 2019 

  • William Ellis School Hall
  • 16:00-17:00
  • No tickets Required

LaSWAP Summer Concert

Tuesday 18th

June 2019

  • St Martin's Church, Gospel Oak
  • 18:30 - 20:00
  • Tickets £3 (cash only)


Lauderdale House Summer Chamber Concert


Tuesday 18th 

July 2019

  • Lauderdale House
  • 19:00 - 18:00
  • Tickets £3


We make full use of all London has to offer as a global cultural hub. The Music Department regularly takes part in workshops and masterclasses with professionals and takes students out of school to attend concerts. In the last few years we have collaborated with the following artists and organisations: Jamie Cullum & The Roundhouse, The Royal Opera House, Michael Bochmann MBE, The Tower of London, The Leeds International Piano Competition, Bigga Fish & Lady Leshurr, National Orchestra For All, Beat Goes On, Canterbury Christ Church University, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The London Sinfonietta, The Royal Academy of Music and Teach First.

Below is an example of how we integrate these collaborations into the school curriculum to help students reach their full potential.  This video is of a Year 10 GCSE compostion, recorded in collaboration with Schools Ground Sounds:



Below is a video of student-led project, Sound Aware. In 2015, BTEC Music students secured a £9k grant from the Big Lottery Fund to raise awareness for homelessness in Camden.  The project, run in collaboration with charity Bigga Fish, cullminated in a live performance head-lined by Grime artist Lady Leshurr.




music places 

Each year the school’s admission policy allows a small number of places to be made available on the basis of musical aptitude. This provision allows boys to study at William Ellis and in particular make full use of the musical opportunities we have to offer. The selection is based on an assessment that takes place in October each year. The assessment is designed to measure musical potential, not current attainment and assesses students in four areas:

  • Pitch: the ability to hear the difference between pitches
  • Melody: the ability to hear if melodies are the same or different
  • Rhythm: the ability to hear if rhythms are the same or different
  • Texture: the ability to hear how many notes are in a chord.

The aural test is multiple choice and takes approximately 35 minutes.

For questions regarding Music Places, please direct questions to Fiona McWilliam at ‪

The Music Place aptitude test for entry for September 2019 will be held at William Ellis School at 4:30pm on Monday 15th October 2018.  The deadline for applications is 5:00pm on Friday 12th October 2018. The application is located at the bottom of this page.

Other Opportunities in camden 

 William Ellis works in close partnership with Camden Music who help organise instrumental and vocal tuition in most Camden schools as well as offering a range of musical opportunities for students at William Ellis including:

  • 35 borough ensembles and choirs plus 2 Saturday music centres
  • offering instrument hire and a scheme for parents to purchase new musical instruments without having to pay VAT
  • preparing and entering children for grade exams and Arts awards
  • providing musical advice to parents and support to teachers and schools
  • signposting the musical opportunities on offer from the wide range of partners within the Camden Music Education Hub

Below is a video of the Camden Youth Jazz Band performing at LSO St Luke's in April 2017.