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Frequently Asked Questions

What Grade do I need to be to?
Am I good enough?
What are you looking for in the audition?
If I audition when will I know if I have been successful?
Do I have to study two instruments?
Can I study three or more instruments?
Can I join the school in Year 11?
Are singers only accepted in the 6th Form?
What solo opportunities are there?
Does everyone get to play in chamber groups?
What if I decide I do not want to continue to study music after 6th form?
How can I afford the fees?
I am paying University fees and living expenses for another of my children. Can these costs be taken into account?
I have accepted a place at Chetham’s for my child but we have changed our minds and he/she won’t be coming. What do I need to do?
Is the Baronial Hall really haunted!?

What Grade do I need to be to?

Whilst Grades are a useful indicator of your ability, they are not vital to you being accepted for a place at the School. However, for entry into the 6th Form, Associated Board Grade 5 Theory is desirable.

Am I good enough?

Without hearing you play, we can't answer that for you. The only way to find out is to come and play for us.

If you wish to have advice on whether or not you should apply, we can arrange for you to have a Consultation Lesson with one of our instrumental tutors who can advise you on whether or not to apply at the current time and what you should work on with your playing to help get you through an audition.

What are you looking for in the audition?

The audition panel will be looking not only at your current ability on your chosen instruments, but your understanding of the music you play, musical creativity and the potential to improve and mature as a musician.

 If I audition when will I know if I have been successful?

You will receive a letter within 3 weeks of your audition.  Please see our Admissions Policy for further details on the application process.

Do I have to study two instruments?

Although it isn't a requirement to audition on two instruments, we would encourage you to take up a second instrument if offered a place.

Can I study three or more instruments?

As a general rule, most students here only study two instruments. This is because studying a third instrument would take away from the time that is available for the practice of their two main studies. However, if your Head of Department and the Director of Music were to agree that a Third Study instrument was acceptable, the lessons for the third instrument would have to be paid for as an extra.

Saying this, many students here do play other instruments besides their main studies but do not necessarily get lessons. They just play for their own enjoyment.

Can I join the school in Year 11?

As a general rule we don't accept students into Year 11 as this is half-way through your GCSEs. However, in exceptional circumstances we may consider it as an option.

Are singers only accepted in the 6th Form?

Voice is only accepted as a First Study in the 6th form. This is because the voice goes through many changes when you are younger. By waiting a little while, we make sure not to damage the vocal chords (which are very delicate during your younger years) with the constant use that they will get as a First Study instrument.


It may be possible to have voice as a Second Study during the Middle School if you have a strong instrument for your First Study as well. In this case, you may be able to change to voice as a First Study in the 6th Form (with approval from your Heads of Department).
However, every student at Chet's will have to do some singing in one of the numerous choirs.

What solo opportunities are there?

There are Lunchtime Concerts most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday during term-time, where students can hone their solo recital skills in front of an audience. Their instrumental teacher will encourage them to put themselves forward for slots in these concerts on a fairly regular basis. In addition, there are opportunities to perform as a soloist with our larger ensembles (Symphony Orchestra, Wind Band, Big Band) and with a number of external ensembles.

Does everyone get to play in chamber groups?

Chamber music is a large part of the music training at Chetham's and as such you will be placed in, at the very least, one chamber group and often more depending on your instrument.

What if I decide I do not want to continue to study music after 6th form?

Although students come to Chets to study music, some realise that perhaps they wish to study a different subject at University. We provide an excellent all-round education here at Chets and because of this we see a number of our students go on to University to study subjects such as Law, Medicine, Archeology, German, Engineering and Mathematics.

How can I afford the fees?

Chetham's is part of the government's Music and Dance Scheme. This is a means tested funding scheme run by the government which helps to pay for UK resident students to attend music and dance schools. This means that if you are offered a place at Chetham's your parents will be asked to provide their income details to the Bursar who will then calculate what their annual contribution to the fees will be. As a rough guide, if your parents earn less than £12,000 per year you will have your full fees paid by the government and your parents won't have to pay anything. If your parents earn over £170,000 a year then they will be asked to pay full fees. Everyone in between has to contribute on a sliding scale (N.B. this scheme does not apply to Choristers or Overseas students). More details on Fees and Financial Assistance available can be found here.

I am paying University fees and living expenses for another of my children. Can these costs be taken into account?

Unless the student is not entitled to a tuition or maintenance loan/grant from Student Finance then payments made by parents to support children at University cannot be taken into account. 

I have accepted a place at Chetham’s for my child but we have changed our minds and he/she won’t be coming.  What do I need to do?

Once you have accepted the place for your child, you are contractually obliged to give at least one full term’s notice if you wish to withdraw your acceptance.  This means for a September start, you would need to withdraw your acceptance by Easter.  If you do not give a term’s notice then you will be liable for a full term’s fee in lieu of notice (£10,329 for a boarder, £7,996 for a day student). 

Is the Baronial Hall really haunted!?

According to the history books if you ring the cloister bell on the stroke of midnight the Grey Lady will appear... you'd be surprised at how many younger students think the old 15th century buildings look like Hogwarts!