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Distinctions in Music Examinations for Canfordians



At the end of the busy Easter Term, where the musicians had given many superb concerts including a major performance at ‘Lighthouse’, Poole, nearly 50 pupils also managed to find the time to prepare for and complete an external music exam.  Among the many successes were distinctions for all three Upper Sixth pupils who took the challenging ABRSM diploma.

With only about 200 people in the country entering this demanding performance qualification, this exceptional level of achievement is a reflection of much hard work that these pupils put into the preparations for their exams, as well as of their considerable talents. Grace Gammell and Honor Hornsby took their diplomas as singers, and Emilia Davies on the clarinet. All three are music scholars at Canford, and two of them will be going on to read Music at University.

An additional success came to Honor, who also learnt over the Easter holiday that she has been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Music Scholarship at Durham University. This prestigious award recognises her achievements to date and the important contribution she will go on to make at university next year. If this weren’t enough, both Honor and Grace will be entering a second diploma examination in June, Honor on the trumpet and Grace on the clarinet.

1 in 3 of all graded music exams were passed at distinction level, including an exceptionally high mark of 142/150 for Fifth Form ‘cellist, Ben Evans, who added this to the Grade 8 distinction he has already gained on the saxophone. Another 25% of results were at merit level. The future for our highest level achievement looks very encouraging too, with 13 exams taken at Grade 7 and 10 at Grade 6 level.

In concert performances, we were delighted to hear the National Youth Orchestra’s broadcast performance on Radio 3 over Easter, with Canfordian Samuel Hopkins playing in their double bass section.  Concerts at Canford are open to all and there is a chance to hear all three diploma successes alongside many other talented musicians performing in the summer concerts at the end of term.  Details can be found on the school website at

Christopher Sparkhall, Director of Music, commented:

“Music at Canford is truly thriving.  There is such a depth and spread of talent in the school at the moment, from Shells through to Sixth Form, and a real sense of excitement and challenge within our orchestras, smaller music groups and choirs.  I congratulate all those who successfully passed external music exams last term, and look forward to hearing them perform at various concerts in the coming weeks.”

Music scholarships are offered at both 13+ and 16+ entry.  For more information about Music at Canford please visit