The music department

"Music at St Aidan's is simply staggering" Esther Jones, National Youth Choir of Great Britain and Choral Conductor

Chamber Choir Musicians Jazz Band


Mr M Pallant Director of Music/Community Cohesion
Mrs J Leonard Assistant Director of Music
Mrs V Elliott Vocal & Instrumental Studies Manager
Mrs L Collett  

Music in the Curriculum

St. Aidan's has enjoyed a national reputation for the excellence of its rich musical life for many years. We estimate that over 400 students are involved in some kind of musical activity within school. Key stage 3 students are taught to listen critically to a variety of music and composers. Practical music-making - using students' vocal talents and a wide range of instruments - is an essential part of the curriculum. Seventeen peripatetic staff teach voice, keyboard, woodwind, string, brass and percussion instruments. GCSE and A level Music and Music Technology cover a variety of musical styles and develop students' skills in composition, performance and listening. The department is well equipped with 4 teaching rooms, two of them fully equipped with digital audio workstations, and a suite of practice rooms.  Throughout their learning, students are given the opportunity to make the most of the excellent facilities available in the department.  A visiting team of 19 peripatetic music teachers allow students to learn a wide range of instruments, as well as voice.

Extra-Curricular Music

We have around 20 musical ensembles that practise and play together weekly, including six bands, five choirs, two orchestras and a range of smaller ensembles. Students regularly gain places in regional and national ensembles, including the National Youth Orchestra, the National Children’s Wind Orchestra and the National Youth Brass Band. Aidan’s Flame, our student worship band, greatly enhances our worship in school and in the wider church community.

The school is known for the scale and quality of its musical productions and shows, with notable recent  stagings of Les Misérables, Fame and We Will Rock You. Students in the lower years have their own exciting performing arts showcase in the annual "Spotlight" performances allowing large numbers of students to show their skills in dance, music and drama.

Ensemble Highlights

A number of our senior ensembles achieve great success at local and national level. Our students regularly feature in the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth in Birmingham and in recent years the school’s Swing Band, Chamber Choir, Symphonic Wind Band and Symphony Orchestra  have been highly acclaimed at this prestigious festival.   In July 2011 the Chamber Choir attained a 'Special Award' at the National Festival and was subsequently invited to appear at the Schools' Prom in the Royal Albert Hall, London last November. The same year they sang in Westminster Abbey at a service celebrating the bicentenary of the founding of Church Schools.

The Chamber Choir won the 'Senior School Choir of the Year' competition on BBC1's Songs of Praise programme in 2006 and has appeared in the finals most years. When the Royal Hall reopened in Harrogate after extensive refurbishment, the Chamber Choir had the honour of performing for HRH the Prince of Wales.  In 2010 the Swing Band was the winning band in the inaugural 'V Factor' competition for jazz bands organised by the Variety Club of Great Britain and in 2012 the Swing Band was the winning band of the school section of the Great North Big Band Festival at Sunderland, a number of soloists gaining individual recognition. In July 2013 the Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra gained Special Awards at the National Festival of Music for Youth.  The Symphonic Wind Band has been invited to perform at the Music for Youth Primary Schools' Prom at St George's Hall, Bradford, in October 2013.

St. Aidan's Music At Home

All of our ensembles can be heard on a regular basis in school and outside its walls in the local community, examples being:
Chamber Choir at All Saints Church, Ripley Symphonic Wind Band and Concert Band at Harrogate Flower Show, Brass Band and World Music Group at St Aidan's PTA Summer Fair, Junior Band and String Orchestra at annual Junior Music Residential in York, Symphony Orchestra at Ripon Cathedral for the Harrogate International Youth Music Festival, Girls' Choir at Holy Trinity Church, Ripon and St. Michael’s Hospice 'Star Walk' and Junior Choir singing carols at Granby Court Residential Home.

St. Aidan's Music Away

Our senior ensembles travel extensively to perform. In recent years this has included:

Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra tour to Paris, Chamber Choir tours to Tuscany, performing in Florence, Montecatini and San Gimignano, Symphonic Wind Band and Swing Band tour to Salzburg, in 2011 65 students travelled to China on a music tour, including a performance at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing, in July 2013 the Swing Band was invited to play at the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland,  the Chamber Choir will be undertaking a performance tour to Europe in the summer of 2014.

Music Links

Click on the other links below for more information:

Curriculum Extended Curriculum Programme St Aidan's Music Association Ensemble Uniform Order Form

Students and parents please note that although we encourage you to bring your own instruments into school for lessons and ensembles they will not be covered by school insurance whilst on the premises. The instrument store is protected by a key code and a security camera, but in the unlikely event of damage please ensure you have adequate insurance in place.

If you have any questions, speak to your music teacher or