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Music plays a vital role in students’ lives at Habs. From the moment they arrive they are encouraged to take part in all types of music, regardless of their previous musical experience. For the most enthusiastic, we provide music-making at all levels, and for the most talented, we provide ensembles which stretch and prepare them for the professional world.

When students join us in Year 3, they have free lessons on an orchestral instrument for their first year, with the support of many ensembles subsequently. Our Year 7 intake all sing in the first concert of the year before the Autumn Half Term, and all participate in a weekly mass samba band rehearsal.

Our large and expert team of visiting instrumental staff give close to 500 instrumental lessons weekly, and coach approximately 50 chamber ensembles. Our large ensembles have huge range, and we aim to cater for all players of whatever level. Our guitar orchestra numbers close to 100 players, and our best ensembles rival equivalent university groups: Habs Big Band regularly play arrangements by Bob Curnow, while Habs Symphony Orchestra regularly play full Romantic-period symphonies. We frequently perform outside the school gates, with an annual visit to St Albans Cathedral for our school carol service, regular concerts at the Barbican, and music tours abroad.

The particular strength of our Jazz Department is showcased in the weekly jazz podcast, as well as exceptional contributions to our many school concerts. Their most recent success story was in 2020 when the youngest of the four finalists of the BBC Young Jazz Musician of the Year was a very recent leaver.

Outside of term we offer a number of musical activities, including two jazz summer schools which welcome in students from many other schools, and a weekend of massed strings from Year 5 to 13 for the combined Habs Boys’ and Girls’ Schools.

Regardless of your level of ambition, the music department will cater for you and ensure you leave Habs with a lasting love for music as a performer and listener.