The Music Department plays an important part in the life of all children at Cumnor and is dedicated to engaging and inspiring pupils, building on their natural enthusiasm for music.

Through weekly music lessons, all children learn an awareness of a wide range of musical styles and eras as well as the technical and theoretical knowledge to support their performing and composing skills. We help children to express their ideas and opinions about music, developing a musical vocabulary, listening skills and sensitivity to sound. Excellence in our Music Department is evident to see with some of our children going on to secure Music Scholarships at the likes of Eton and Brighton College.

With over 65% of children in the Prep school learning a musical instrument, we are incredibly fortunate to be joined by over 20 visiting music teachers (VMTs) each week who deliver music lessons on a wide variety of orchestral instruments as well as the saxophone, drums, singing, piano and jazz piano. All children in Year 3 are offered the opportunity to try a string instrument for a term and all children in Year 2, 3 and 4 are taught the recorder and how to read music.

The Music Department also supports a huge variety of extra-curricular activities and ensembles including a Wind Band, Strings Group, Jazz Band, Concert Orchestra and a variety of choirs. We pride ourselves on our musical reputation and each term features a jam-packed calendar including our informal ‘coffee concerts’ where children can perform in a relaxed atmosphere, instrument specific concerts, fully staged musicals, the Carol Concert and Summer Serenade.

Exciting news! We are delighted to launch a large-scale performance of Britten’s hugely popular community opera Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood) taking place on Saturday 4th March 2023 at the majestic Arundel Cathedral. 

Presented by our new Director of Music, Matt Jelf, the school will be bringing together professional and amateur musicians, children, and adults from across the country for an intensive one-day community music event. We have professional soloists, including girl choristers of Arundel Cathedral participating. The work features choir, chamber orchestra, recorder ensemble, Bb bugle band, organ, piano, and orchestral percussion. Even the audience have a part to play as congregational singers!

Completed in 1957 and based on the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, Noye’s Fludde is Britten’s most extended and elaborate work for children, and tailored to both amateur and professional performers. We are thrilled that three professional opera singers will be joining us to lead our performance – baritone Alex Ashworth as Noye, mezzo-soprano Jessica Gillingwater as Noye’s wife, and internationally renowned bass Sir John Tomlinson CBE as the Voice of God

The project is open to all who wish to play or sing along and audience tickets will be free. We are currently recruiting SATB voices and orchestral musicians from current pupils, Cumnor alumni, and the wider Sussex community. To register your interest please contact Cumnor’s Director of Music, Matt Jelf, with your instrument or voice type and contact details.

Matthew Jelf

Director of Music