Music plays a central part in the life of the school and boys of all ages perform regularly. From the Nursery upwards, they are taught in our well-equipped department and many learn to play a variety of musical instruments. All boys start learning the recorder in Year 2 and every boy leaves St John’s able to read music.

Boys perfoming to parents at one of our evening concerts


In recent years our musicians have enjoyed great success in local music festivals and outstanding individuals have won music scholarships to senior independent schools.

St John's has a wide range of extra-curricular musical activities which enhance and extend the individual abilities of the boys. Details of concerts are available on the calendar and in the weekly newsletter, The Lamb.

A large number of pupils take advantage of the opportunity for individual tuition on a musical instrument. There are currently nine visiting peripatetic staff and individual instrumental lessons are given on the following instruments: violin, viola, cello, double bass, trumpet, trombone, French horn, Eb horn, euphonium clarinet, flute, guitar, drum kit and recorder.

Groups meet weekly and are given many opportunities to perform. Each year many boys join with Merchant Taylors' and St Helen's for concerts at Merchant Taylors’ School and at the Merchant Taylors' Hall in the City of London. Boys join other Prep Schools for an orchestral afternoon and concert led by the Director of Music and staff at Merchant Taylors’. This gives them a taste of musical life at senior school.

Many individuals take part in the annual Watford Music Festival with competitions in many instruments and classes enjoying regular success. Boys perform regularly in the local community at a variety of residential homes including Erskine Hall and Denville Hall. They also visit Sunshine House RNIB school in Northwood where they meet and play to the children. In late November the Brass Band and Senior Choir lead the community singing at the switching on of the Christmas Lights at Northwood Hills.

The Orchestra is the largest group playing challenging repertoire on each of the four families of orchestral instruments. There is also a String Group, Brass Band, Wind Band, Drumming Group and beginner and advanced smaller wind ensembles including Recorder Groups. Other smaller chamber ensembles include the String Quartet, Cello Group, Pop Groups and Guitar Group.

There are three choirs at St John’s; Senior, Chamber and Junior choirs. All three groups perform regularly both in and out of school and the Chamber Choir has recently sung at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool.