Instrumental Lessons

We encourage as many pupils as possible to learn an instrument on a one-to-one basis with a qualified specialist. A large team of well-qualified peripatetic teachers give lessons on a wide range of instruments. Before such lessons can begin, the child’s form teacher is also consulted to assess the suitability of the child for receiving such tuition. Sometimes, especially if a child is very young, or receives Learning Support, special arrangements are made so that as few academic lessons as possible are missed. Instrumental lessons in school are administered by the Head of Instrumental Studies, Dr Pitfield.

Instrumental tuition commences in Clarke House’s fully renovated music practice suite, which comprises of five dedicated music practice rooms each with a piano and good quality stereo. Many rooms also have drum kits and other resources.

A commitment to regular daily practice is expected and the school has a number of instruments available for hire at inexpensive rates to encourage beginners.


There is a full and varied programme of Ensembles and Music Activities which run on a weekly basis. Ensembles are based on instrument types and we encourage all instrumentalists to join these activities as soon as they can play fluently enough. Beginners’ ‘taster’ groups are sometimes offered on various instruments from time to time.

The school aims to have a balanced programme of music ensembles – some of which are ‘invitation only’ and cater for our more advanced instrumentalists, while others are open to the whole school community with the aim of sparking every boy’s musical interest.

The current ensemble opportunities which are run by the music department are listed below:


* Please Note: A sizeable number of Birkdale students are also Sheffield Cathedral Choristers.

Performing Opportunities

Birkdale School has a varied and interesting concert programme aimed to give all our students and ensembles the opportunity to perform in public. Once a year the school mounts a Festival of Music and Performing Arts, which has been a great success in recent years – all boys have the opportunity to perform to their classmates and the potential to participate in the following high scorers concert. The school also invite other local schools to come and join us for our annual Orchestral Day – this is a great event where students work with instrumental specialists for the whole day and perform a concert to parents at the end.

Of course, pupils like to perform frequently in class lessons, but many other opportunities exist. These include morning prayers, Christmas, Easter and Harvest Festival services and festivities, the school Charities Fayre and Summer concerts. We are also active participants in the Broomhill Festival which is an annual event involving musicians from several local schools who perform to a particularly high standard. All our musical performances take place in an informal non-competitive atmosphere.

We believe that children should look forward to and enjoy their performing, and be as relaxed as possible. Every performance is valued and rewarded, whether given by a beginner or an experienced singer or player.

Music Department Staff List

Director of Music: Gregory Bish
Specialist Pre-Prep Music Teacher: Helen Fletcher
Instrumental Studies Coordinator : Sam Cooke

Peripatetic Visiting Teachers

Violin Bianca Blezard
‘Cello Tom Collingwood
Saxophone Laura Beavers
Guitar Samuel Dunn
Ian Griffiths
Bass Guitar Chris Mayall
Flute & Recorder John Hackett
Oboe Jan D’Roza
Piano Val Leppard
Zinaida Collingwood
Valerie Leppard
Trumpet Anthony Thompson
Matthew Redfearn
Trombone Jonathan Beatty
Percussion Dominic Ridler
Drums Toni Cannelli
 Voice Chloe Saywell

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