5 reasons why you should board at a specialist music school

The benefits of boarding have been written about plenty of times – there’s no commute or effort required to go home and do homework, exercise, or eat meals. All the facilities are on-site and available to students, and they receive outstanding care from dedicated and highly trained house teams, medical staff, and tutors. But what’s distinct about boarding at a specialist music school?


The true wonder of music is that it can have a profound effect on quality of life. Singing, playing, or listening to music is shown to improve wellbeing and it goes without saying that there’s an abundance of this within music schools. Walk through the grounds at any time of the day and you might hear one of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas coming from a practise room or choristers rehearsing harmonies in the garden after classes. It’s a wonderful and unique environment to learn and live in.


The community at Chetham’s School of Music consists of 330 students aged 8-18 who are bonded by a passion for music. It’s easy and natural for students at specialist schools to meet and form friendships and everyone has a shared sense of purpose and belonging. This helps to create a home away from home where students can be themselves and thrive. Find out what our current sixth formers love about school life.

A typical school-day at Chetham’s includes around three scheduled hours of music alongside academic learning. There are individual lessons on study instruments, performance classes and ensemble rehearsals as well as aural training, choral work, academic music, community arts programmes, supported practice, composition, and music technology. A series of ‘masterclasses’ provide rare behind-the-scenes insights into the craft of professional musicians and emerging artists, which is hugely inspirational. There are also opportunities to discover and explore new musical avenues, from jazz to composition. The students’ journeys develop as their tastes and interests do – one of our students joined as a chorister and is leaving as an up-and-coming recorder player. The path is not rigid within music schools.


Emphasis is also placed on academic excellence at Chetham’s and every year students go on to study a variety of subjects at top universities. It’s fantastic to see previous students thrive across the musical world and beyond; our alumni community includes neuroscientists, journalists, politicians and more. Academic learning also gives musicians the practical skills to succeed as performers and influencers, and a deeper understanding of the world in which they play, helping them to interpret and explore society through their art.


Music schools typically host hundreds of performances throughout each school year to make sure that every student begins playing to an audience early in their journey, learning to present their music, listen back, review and improve. Performance is an important skill to have in many different careers and there’s no better place to hone this than at a music school. By the time they leave, students are extremely well versed in getting on stage and building a rapport with peers and audiences alike.

Talent shouldn’t be confined to the school walls and music schools will also facilitate students in sharing their gift, for example, there are opportunities to give back to the local community by performing in care homes, other schools, and public spaces. At Chetham’s, we’re also opening up our world-class facilities and inviting new audiences in to see student performances and take part in workshops. The mission is to bring people together and ensure as many people as possible have access to music and the wellbeing benefits it brings. The students are at the heart of this civic mission, which is important as they’re developing into well-rounded individuals.

Although music unites everyone at Chetham’s, students come from diverse backgrounds making the campus a melting pot of different perspectives and ideas. Entry to the School is based solely on musical ability and potential, never on background or ability to pay, thanks to generous bursaries through the Government’s Music and Dance Scheme. Minds are constantly expanding and students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in debate, helping to prepare them for the next stage in their lives.

Find out more about school life and how to apply.


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