Music enriches all our lives, and we want our pupils to develop the confidence and skills to unlock their musicality and have an open-minded and well-informed approach to music, whether they participate simply for fun or want to be part of the next generation of professional musicians. 

With regular music in Chapel, at assemblies, in pop-concerts and recitals, and at our large-scale concerts, musicals, competitions, and student-led events such as Battle of the Bands and Live Lounge, there is a huge amount of opportunity for music-making at Forest.

There is an abundance of co-curricular music, and we want as many pupils as possible to be involved, to develop their creativity and expression through music, and to experience the joy of communal music making. With 38 Visiting Staff teaching instrumental and vocal lessons and 4 full-time academic staff, we can run a plentiful array of choirs and ensembles: in fact, there is something on every morning, lunchtime and after school. Pupils can learn any orchestral instrument, classical or rock/pop vocals, piano and jazz piano, electric guitar, bass guitar, drum-kit, and organ. Learning an instrument requires dedication, practice, and self-discipline but the rewards are an unlocking of a world of culture, self-expression, and self-esteem.

"Music at Forest is an amazing experience, the school puts lots of effort into the music facilities and events and I like that the music block is open with free rooms that I can practise in whenever I have time, such as at lunch and Quarter. As a Music Scholar I would not have been able to come to Forest had it not been for the opportunities music has given me."

Roman (Year 11)

Music Technology is offered to all year groups via the timetabled activities programme. Pupils use our suites of Mac computers running Garageband and Logic Pro X to learn the fundamentals of recording, sequencing, audio editing, synthesis, and mixing in an open-ended course that focuses on skills applicable to any genre from gaming to grunge, hip-hop to hyperpop.

Musical Theatre is offered as an activity to all year groups, with pupils coached by expert teachers to develop their vocal skills and acting through song, staging numbers from musicals, and preparing material for an annual showcase.

Music Trips

There are trips to concerts and shows in London. The Big Band and Chamber Orchestra perform annual lunchtime concerts at Chelmsford cathedral, and the Chapel Choir regularly sing evensong at external venues such as Rochester cathedral, Southwark cathedral, St. Paul’s cathedral, various Oxbridge colleges. School concerts have been held at St. James’ Piccadilly and St. John’s Smith Square, and the House Music Final has been held at Hackney Empire. Recent tours have seen the orchestra and choir travel to Poland and Italy.

"Being a musician at Forest honestly changed my life!..It is one of my main sources of happiness; my favourite musical experience, was when, in my lessons, I was told to get the book with all the Bach unaccompanied suites for cello. It was amazing, as all my idols play beautiful pieces in that book, that I can now play!"

Thomas (Year 8)

Many pupils are members of junior departments at London conservatoires such as the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Many also win places in regional and national ensembles such as London School’s Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Wind Ensemble, National Children’s Choir, and National Youth Training Choir. 

Forest’s Visiting Composer

Our Visiting Composer provides free one-to-one composition tuition for several pupils and every year these young composers write works for the Ossian Ensemble, a new-music group renowned for conceptualised events and virtuoso performances of contemporary music, combining physical, visual, and dramatic dimensions with uncompromising musical ideals. The Ossian Ensemble visit Forest to provide workshops which are an incredible chance for the pupils to adapt and develop their compositional thinking and understanding of instrumental potential. This culminates in a concert giving the world premieres of the pupil works alongside works by established composers from the contemporary music world.