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Music at Camp Hill 2020-21

CHB performing at Symphony Hall

Music is an important part of life at Camp Hill. Boys are encouraged to make the most of their musical talents.







  • Simon Palmer,  Head of Department
  • Lorne Pearcey,  Music Teacher

A team of seventeen well-qualified and experienced specialist instrumental teachers supports them.

Excellent facilities for music

An attractive purpose built Music Block houses the following

  • A large very well-equipped Music Room 
  • Music Studio
  • Large Ensemble Room
  • Four Practice Rooms
  • Large secure Instrument Store
  • Music Office
  • A wide variety of instruments in excellent condition
  • New Yamaha PSR-E463 keyboards
  • Computers running SibeliusMuseScore 3Audacity and other music programs

Music is taught at every level

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 music is taught to all boys.

  • In Year 7, 8 & 9 boys have a one-hour lesson each week.

There is a strong emphasis on practical work, with much use of instruments and the voice.  Topics studied include:


Year 7

The Dimensions of music, Instruments of the Orchestra, Programme Music, A Good Tune, Staff Notation and Gamelan (music of Indonesia)

Year 8

The Blues, Variations, Music for Dance Music, Music for Movie Characters, and Film Music

Year 9

Rock’n’roll, Music for Adverts, Music of past - The Concerto, Musicals and Pop Ballads.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

GCSE Music is a popular option, and we use the OCR specification.  Pupils are required to perform two pieces and compose two pieces, as well as write about their work.  They complete a Listening Test under examination conditions.

GCSE A* A B C D   Total
2009 10 5 5 1     21
2010 10 7 5       22
2011 8 5 4 3 1   21
2012 9 7 3 1     20
2013 3 10 6 3     22
2014 5 9 6 5     25
2015 8 9 4 4     25
2016 1 6 3 1     11
2017 5 8 4       17
New Grades 9 8 7 6 5 4  
2018 6 4 2 1   1 14
2019 7 4 3 4     18
2020 8 6 5       19
2021 7 3 3       13

Key Stage 5 (A level)

A-level Music is taught jointly with Camp Hill Girls’ School.  Boys and girls study for the OCR examinations, which include Performance, Composition and a Listening/History paper.  Results are very good.

AS   A B C D   A2   A* A B C D
2009   8 1 0 1         5 1 1 1
2010   6 0 1         3 5 1    
2011   4 6 1         1 2 1    
2012   9 1             3 1 2  
2013   2 1 2           2 2    
2014   3 1           1 1 1   1
2015   2 1 1         1 1 1    
2016   5             1 1   1  
2017   2 1           2 2 1    
2018                     3    
2019                 1 1      
2020                 1 2      
2021                 1   1    

Many talented pupils go on to study music at Conservatoire or University:

2007 Ross Garrod Royal Northern College of Music (Percussion)
  Daniel Jackman Durham University
2008 Joe Snape Cambridge University
2009 Jamie Phillips Scholarship Royal Northern College of Music/Manchester University (Trumpet)
2010 David Todd Organ Scholarship, University College, Oxford
  Joss Brookes Royal Northern College of Music (Cello)
2011 Rupert Cole Bristol University
  Robert Smith Organ Scholarship, Somerville College, Oxford
2012 David Warren Sheffield University
  Jacob Werrin Choral Scholarship, St David’s Cathedral, Wales
2013 Ben Palmer Leeds University
  Oliver Palmer Choral Scholarship, St John’s College, Oxford
2014 Edward Lawrence Choral Scholarship, St Mary’s Church, Nottingham
2015 Richard English St Anne’s College, Oxford
2017 Harry Atkinson Royal Academy of Music, London
  Ludo De Ventura Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester
  Thomas Keast  Royal Holloway College, London University
2019 Eddie Wang Royal Academy of Music (Piano)
  Matthew Perrett Scholarship Royal Academy of Music (Composition)
2020 Godfrey Leung University of Birmingham (Violin, Organ & Piano)
  Cian O’Dwyer University of Birmingham (Organ & Piano)
2021 Sam Gray Choral Scholarship, Trinity College, Cambridge
  Evan Petrie University of Glasgow


Of special note is Jamie Phillips, appointed Assistant Conductor of the famous Hallé Orchestra in Manchester in 2012 at the age of just 23.  Jamie studied music A level at King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Boys in King’s Heath, and was a leading member of all music ensembles. His conducting debut was with the school Concert Orchestra in Birmingham Town Hall in December 2008, and he went on to form a Chamber Orchestra drawn from players in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

Instrumental Music Tuition

Instrumental lessons are available in school, and parents pay £90 per term.  Boys who take GCSE or A level or who are Pupil Premium receive free lessons. Our team of well-qualified and experienced instrumental teachers give one lesson each week during school time on a rota basis.  Lessons are usually individual and last either 20 or 30 minutes. We have some school instruments which are available to loan to pupils. Boys may buy a new instrument through the school and not have to pay VAT using the Assisted Instrument Purchase Scheme.  The following instruments are offered:

Flute Mr S Hay
Oboe Miss R Dawkins
Clarinet Mr J Meadows
Saxophone Mr E Drew
Bassoon Mr P Brookes
French Horn / Tenor Horn Mrs C Butler
Trumpet / Cornet Mrs C Butler
Trombone / Euphonium / Tuba Mr C Hickman
Percussion Miss L Pearcey
Tabla Mr H Matharu
Guitars Mr A Rose
Guitars Miss D Palmer
Bass Guitar Mr J Griffiths
Violin / Viola Miss E Goble
Violin / Viola Mr Z Georgiev
Cello Ms E Newton
Double Bass Mr J Walters
Voice Miss L Markgren














Piano and keyboard lessons are not available in school, but we have many excellent pianists in the school who take lessons privately, at home.

Many boys take ‘grade’ examinations of the Associated Board or Trinity, and excellent results are obtained.  Over 90 boys took ‘grade’ music exams in school last academic year, and many obtained a ‘merit’ or ‘distinction’. 

Of special note is the achievement of Harry Atkinson.  In his grade 8 Double Bass he not only achieved a Distinction, but gained 146 out of a possible 150 marks.  He then went on to gain a ‘distinction’ in his Diploma.


A wide variety of Enrichment Activities

We work closely with Camp Hill Girls’ School next door, and our large Orchestras, Bands and Ensembles are organised jointly with them.  The main Orchestras and Bands are directed by the Heads of Music and Training Groups are conducted by Instrumental Teachers. Our Instrumental Teachers are expert in directing a wide variety of smaller ensembles.

Three orchestras and three bands rehearse each week, as well as many choirs and other chamber ensembles.  The repertoire performed ranges from music by great composers to arrangements of popular tunes. These are some of the groups meeting this academic year:

Ensemble Standard Entry
Orchestras Concert Orchestra Grade 6 + Open to all
  Intermediate Orchestra Grades 4 – 6 Open to all
  String Orchestra Grades 1 – 4 Open to all
Bands Concert Band Grade 6 + Open to all
  Wind Band Grades 4 – 6 Open to all
  Training Wind Band Grades 1 – 4 Open to all
Ensembles Swing Band   Invitation
  Junior Jazz Group   Invitation
  Brass Ensemble   Invitation
  Clarinet Ensemble   Invitation
  Flute Choir   Invitation
  Percussion Ensemble   Invitation
  Cello/Bass Ensemble   Invitation
  Horn Ensemble   Invitation
  Saxophone Ensemble   Invitation
  Tabla Ensemble   Invitation
  Guitar Ensembles   Invitation
  Double Reed Ensemble   Invitation
  Brass Ensemble   Invitation
Chamber Music String Quartets   Invitation
Choirs School Choir   Audition
  Barbershop Group   Invitation
Theory     Invitation
Aural Training     Invitation

Enrichment activities outside school

Many boys also take part in music at a high level outside school, and this is encouraged and celebrated.  We have pupils in the following groups:

  • The National Youth Orchestra
  • The National Youth Choir
  • Birmingham Music Service Orchestras, Bands and Choir
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Youth Orchestra
  • City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Choirs
  • City of Birmingham Choir
  • Birmingham Cathedral Choir
  • Solihull Parish Church Choir
  • Solihull Music Service: Orchestras, Bands and Choir
  • Redditch Music Service: Orchestras & Bands.
  • Sandwell Music Service: Orchestras & Bands

Camp Hill has a busy concert schedule

Concerts and musical events are held both in and out of school.  Here is a list of some of the events that took place in the last few years:

  • Chamber Concert in the School Hall
  • Christmas Concert (School Hall)
  • School Carol Service in All Saint’s Parish Church, King’s Heath
  • Carol Service for local Old Folks’ Party at Hazelwell Hub
  • School Choir sings with The Midlands Hospital Choir (charity event)
  • School Choir sings carols at the QE Hospital
  • The whole of Year 7 attend a concert by the CBSO in Symphony Hall
  • Concert Orchestra performs in Birmingham Cathedral
  • Teatime Concert (Junior Ensembles and soloists)
  • Musical All the King’s Men (Richard Rodney Bennett) with Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo (3 nights)
  • Senior Concert (featuring our Year 13 leavers)
  • Summer Soiree (Junior and Intermediate Ensembles)
  • Solo and Chamber performances in assemblies
  • Performances at the GCSE Presentation Evenings
  • Solo and ensemble performances at Prizegiving
  • CHAOS (Camp Hill Amateur Operatic Society) Staff Performances

Camp Hill has an excellent reputation for the quality of its drama, and every two years presents a musical for an afternoon matinée and four evening performances.  Productions have included West Side Story, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Bugsy Malone, The Boyfriend, Oliver, Oklahoma, Les Misérables, Sweeney Todd, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Me and My Girl, The Hollow Crown and Oh, what a lovely war!


If you would like further details of Music at Camp Hill, please contact the Head of Music:

Simon Palmer

Music Careers

MUSIC careers infographic