The creative arts have always been an important part of a Cokethorpe education, and in recent years, the Music Department has become a leading light in West Oxfordshire, with jazz a particular strength of the School.

Previous Cokethorpe musicians have gone on to perform in film, television, and on stage. The annual St Cecilia Concert showcases some of the best classical talent, while the termly Gig Night offers pupils an opportunity to play contemporary classics and pop to a full house. Other aspects of music at the School include choirs, orchestras, ensembles and bands.


Cokethorpe School is well equipped to provide an exemplary musical education. A modern Mac suite is equipped with Sibelius and GarageBand, enabling all pupils to learn digital composition and music editing. Students have the opportunity to use the suite on a regular basis to create music during both their timetabled lessons and extra-curricular activities. The 200-seater auditorium, known affectionately as The Shed is equipped with the latest projection technology, high quality lighting rigs and a cavernous stage, which can be sectioned off for live performances. The Shed provides an excellent venue for larger events, while the beautiful, wood-panelled Corinthian Room is a more intimate space, used for regular individual recitals.

The Music Department is going from strength to strength, with increasing numbers of GCSE and A Level Music pupils, inspired by a talented ensemble of enthusiastic music teachers. The Arts Academy, which runs every Saturday during term time is just one aspect of the many opportunities pupils have to build their musical talents outside of regular school hours. The extended lunchtimes at Cokethorpe are used to offer rehearsal time for music ensembles as well as regular lunchtime recitals. The School also plays host to over a dozen peripatetic instrumental teachers who provide individual music tuition to enable pupils to work towards recognised qualifications.

Music is strongly woven into the curriculum, with collaborations between departments integral to the School calendar. The most able musicians accompany Drama performances in both Junior and Senior School, building their confidence and strengthening cross-curricular links. The Inter-House Music and Drama competition in Michaelmas Term has a frisson of excitement, with pupils of all ages stepping up to perform in front of hundreds of their peers, and a panel of expert judges. The categories for entries range from solo recitals through small ensembles to whole House performances, with pupils taking the lead in selecting pieces, rehearsals and conducting. The Cokethorpe Young Musician of the Year competition is similarly exciting, with an emphasis on individual performances in daily heats, and the winner selected at an annual concert.


Beyond the School grounds, Cokethorpe pupils perform at a variety of different events, including the prestigious World Cancer Day Concert in the historic Holywell Music Room, Oxford. The jazz band regularly performs at concerts across Oxfordshire, winning regional competitions and playing at private events, due to its enduring strong reputation. Choral Evensong in the School Chapel, the annual Choral Society Concert and Advent Services in St Mary’s Church, Witney provide opportunities for singers at Cokethorpe to shine in a wide range of settings.

Many pupils study an instrument and there are numerous opportunities for all to get involved in a wide range of activities. Pupils love to demonstrate their creative talents and the School aims to provide every opportunity for this. There are many musical events held throughout the year in which pupils are able to take part in including the annual Inter-House Music Competition, termly Gig Nights and Choral Evensong as well as regular Lunchtime Recitals.

Pupils have the opportunity to join a variety of ensembles, including the following:

  • Choir
  • String Orchestra
  • Concert Band
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Senior Brass Ensemble
  • Intermediate Brass Ensemble
  • Jazz Band
  • Blues Band
  • Senior Boys Choir
  • First Form Choir


A number of pupils are also part of their own bands outside of School. Milestones in self-confidence are often attained through a wider acknowledgement of personal effort in School concerts and Lunchtime Recitals.

Cokethorpe pupils can benefit from grants awarded annually to Music Award Holders, with assessments held in First and Third Form. The title and associated grant often continue over multiple years, with an annual review. Music Award Holders are expected to take a leading role in Music and act as ambassadors for Cokethorpe; they can also expect extra support from the Music Department as they move up through the Senior School. For more information, please contact Shan Copeland in Admissions (

The full calendar of our Performing Arts activities and performances can be found in our programme of events publication The Shedule.

The Shedule Programme of Events 2015 – 2016 (PDF 6,632KB)