Eton is the largest all boys’ boarding school in the UK. With a history dating back to 1440 it has a long list of distinguished former pupils.  Eton is home to 1300 boys, around 10% of whom hold a music award, and is renowned for academic excellence, first class facilities, and rich cultural environment.

The Music Department at Eton College is the largest department in the school with a team of six full time Music Masters under the direction of Precentor and Director of Music.  75 visiting teachers, all of whom balance teaching with successful performing careers in the music industry, teach over 1300 individual instrument lessons a week within the department.  Boys achieve outstanding results in their academic music studies, and have a plethora of options for music-making outside the classroom.

The Music Schools at Eton house a modern concert hall, orchestral rehearsal hall, recording studio, rock studio, numerous teaching and practice rooms, and a music library.  The school is home to no fewer than 8 pipe organs, and all the performance halls in the school have Steinway pianos. There are two chapel choirs, a concert choir, a choral society, three orchestras, two concert bands, two big bands and a large number of smaller ensembles. Senior boys regularly put on their own concerts – a tradition initiated by Hubert Parry during his time as a boy at Eton. 

Beyond Eton, boys with music career ambitions often secure the most prestigious of choral and organ scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge, and increasingly Eton musicians win scholarships to music conservatoires in the UK and overseas.

The prospectus provides information for music award candidates and their parents. If you have any queries about the music award process please contact Angela Pearce, PA to the Precentor and the Director of Music on 01753 370458 or

MUSIC AWARDS:  The standard generally expected of candidates will be Grade VI to VIII on their principal instrument. Although high marks in Associated Board examinations are often good indications of musicianship, we shall also be looking for a thorough grounding in technique and for musical potential.  If Associated Board examinations have been taken we shall look more for high marks than high grades.

The Precentor and Director of Music is always available to offer advice should parents or schools wish to get in touch. An informal preliminary visit can be very helpful, and can help establish whether a boy is of a sufficient standard to compete for an award. In the case of overseas candidates, they are welcome to email a video instead to

MUSIC SCHOLARSHIPS: Up to eight music scholarships are awarded each year.   An application for a music scholarship can be made whether or not the candidate already has a conditional place at Eton. Each automatically entitles the holder to a fee reduction of 10% of the school fee each year and up to 135 minutes of music lessons per week. The award can be supplemented up to 100% of the full fee in cases of financial need. Where fee assistance is required, a Bursary Application Form will need to be submitted, by the deadline of 31st October 2018, for consideration as part of the Bursary awards process (which involves a home visit assessment). 

MUSIC EXHIBITIONS: Up to six music exhibitions will be offered.  These pay for up to 135 minutes of music lessons per week but do not provide any form of fee reduction in themselves.  Five exhibitions are awarded to candidates who already have conditional places in the school. One exhibition is awarded to a boy who does not already have a conditional place in the school. 

HONORARY AWARDS: Honorary music scholarships and exhibitions are also awarded.  Honorary music scholarships carry the prestige of a music scholarship and entitle the holder to up to 135 minutes of music lessons per week but do not provide any form of fee reduction in themselves. Honorary exhibitions do not provide any form of financial assistance at all. 



Music Scholarship

Honorary Music Scholarship

Music Exhibition

Music Exhibition with a place

Honorary Music Exhibition


Number available





Up to 2




Up to 1


Up to 10


Available to boys without a conditional place in school













School fee reduction













Up to 135 minutes of instrument lessons per week awarded















Additional means tested financial assistance may be awarded













EXTRA MEANS TESTED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: Applications for extra means tested financial assistance can be made by completing and returning a Bursary Application Form by the deadline of 31st October 2018. Parents will be informed whether they are likely to be awarded a bursary in the event of their son being awarded a Music Scholarship before the deadline for submission of the Music Awards Application Form.


By 31st October 2018

Deadline for parents to submit a Bursary Application Form

By 30th November 2018

Deadline for current school to submit a Music Award Application form

28th – 31st January 2019


The auditions will be held from 28th – 31st January 2019. Candidates will be required on only one of these days.  Letters confirming the date and time of the audition will be sent to parents and current school by mid-January.  It is most helpful to be informed in advance of any days or times when a boy will not be available for audition. Candidates entering for both Eton and Winchester Awards may go for interview at Winchester on 28th January and at Eton on 29th – 31st January

THE AUDITION: Each candidate will be auditioned and awards are offered on merit alone. The audition will take between 30-40 minutes and no more than 20 minutes of music should be offered (no more than 8 minutes on one instrument). Candidates will be required to play two contrasting pieces on their principal instrument and one piece on their second instrument (if applicable) and to sing one piece if singing is offered; to read at sight; and to do ear tests as appropriate to their technical standard.  Accompanists will be provided by Eton College, and a 30 minute rehearsal will be offered. Candidates may bring their own accompanist but the Precentor and Director of Music must be informed soon after the audition times are sent out.  It is strongly recommended that Eton accompanists are used. As well as being first rate accompanists, their knowledge of the process allows them to calmly steer the candidate through the audition.

CONDITIONAL PLACES:  A Music Scholarship and the Music Exhibition with a place entitle the award winner to a conditional place in the school.  Candidates must still pass the Common Entrance Examination for Public Schools (or do at least reasonably well in our King's Scholarship examination) before any music award can be confirmed. Boys at a state school do not take Common Entrance but must pass the Eton Entrance Exam based on the National Curriculum. If a boy should win a place at Eton College through the Music award process, a house will be allocated to him after discussion between the Director of Admissions and the Director of Music.

In the case of boys who did not gain a Conditional or Waiting List place in the Eton Assessment, a computerized test and interview will be offered on the same day as the music auditions take place.

Boys normally come to Eton in the September after their 13th birthday.  There is some flexibility for boys with an August or September birthday to come to Eton when they have just turned 14. 

CONDITIONS: As a condition of their awards, Music Scholars and Exhibitioners agree that:

  • they will participate fully in musical activities appropriate to their talents and to meet the high standards of musicianship expected by Eton;
  • they will take music GCSE or IGCSE. They usually opt out of a subject to make extra time available for practice. Such arrangements will be made at the discretion of the Precentor and Director of Music and the House Master, after discussion with parents; 
  • they will have instrumental lessons from Eton teachers;
  • they will have instrumental lessons on the instruments offered at audition during their time at Eton unless prior permission has been given by the Precentor and Director of Music.
  • instrument lesson lengths needed each week by Music Award Holders are determined by the Heads   of Section each term; where fewer than 135 minutes per week are used, the remainder are not accumulated or carried forward;

The acceptance by parents or guardians of any award offered after the auditions constitutes their agreement to these conditions. Failure to meet these conditions could lead to an award being withdrawn.

Charging for Music Lessons for Music Scholars and Exhibitioners

Should any boy miss a lesson for unknown or unsatisfactory reasons his house master is informed.   In cases where lessons are paid for by the school, if the house master and Precentor and Director of Music decide this is the boy’s fault, the missed lesson will be charged to the parents/guardian.  This includes Music Scholars and Music Exhibitioners.

Where Heads of Section advise Music Award Holders that more than 135 minutes tuition per week is required, and the Award Holder’s parents agree, the additional cost will be charged to parents.

Parents of musical boys may also be interested in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Music Scholarship for Sixth Form entry

The Music prospectus and application forms will be available to download until the application deadline