Music Awards

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 1,300 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 eight 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. 

If you have any queries about the music award process please contact Angela Pearce, PA to the Precentor and 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 look favourably on high marks than the attainment of 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 likely to have a reasonable chance of success.

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 Statement of Financial Circumstances (SFC) form will need to be submitted, by the deadline of 31st October each year, 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 8 Up to 2 5 Up to 1 Up to 10
Available to boys 
without a conditional 
place in school 
Yes No No Yes No
School fee 
10% No No No No
135 minutes of 
instrument lessons 
per week awarded
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Additional means 
tested financial 
assistance may 
be awarded
Yes No No No No

EXTRA MEANS TESTED FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: Applications for extra means tested financial assistance can be made by completing and returning a Statement of Financial Circumstances form (SFC) by the deadline of 31st October each year. 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 2017 Parents submit Statement of Financial Circumstances form
By 24th November 2017 Current school submits Music Award Application form
29th January - 1 February 2017 Auditions


The auditions will be held from 29 January - 1 February 2018. 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 in 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 29 January and at Eton on 30 January - 1 February 2018.

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. Candidates will be required to play two contrasting pieces on their principal instrument (or a solo song and one instrumental piece) and one piece on their second instrument; to read at sight; and to do ear tests as appropriate to their technical standard.  Accompanists will be provided by Eton College. Candidates may bring their own accompanist but the Precentor and Director of Music must be informed when the audition times are sent out, so that no Eton accompanist is timetabled.

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. 

In the case of boys who did not gain a Conditional or Waiting List place in the Eton Assessment at 10.5 years, evidence of appropriate academic ability will be required before the music award auditions.  If there is any doubt about a boy's academic prospects, his present Head should discuss it at the earliest possible opportunity with the Tutor for Admissions.

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 are required to:

  • participate fully in musical activities appropriate to their talents and to meet the high standards of musicianship expected by Eton;
  • 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.
  • have instrumental lessons from Eton teachers. 

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.

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