We are accepting applications for boarding and day places for Autumn 2020 entry. 

If you would like to find out more, including information about the Aided Places Scheme, please email admissions@st-marys-music-school.co.uk





Under the guidance of resident composer Tom David Wilson, the writing of new music is an exciting and thriving element of life at St Mary’s Music School. Our Vice-President, composer Sir James MacMillan is a regular visitor to the school, giving talks and workshops on various aspects of composition. 

Instrumental Learning 

Students of composition will take lessons in another, second subject, and occasionally learn three instruments. Every instrumentalist learns to play the piano. Dalcroze and Kodály are also explored as part of the Aural Programme. 


Students of Compositionare expected to rehearse and conduct their work as well as record and present it online. We promote the Isobel Dunlop Composition Award which draws distinguished supporters and judges including most recently Stuart MacRae alongside author Alexander McCall Smith, Sebastian Forbes and Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir. 

The School has commissioned and performed works from composers based in Scotland and beyond, and the Cathedral Choir has long been at the forefront of commissioning and recording works from leading composers. 


Pupils are formally assessed throughout their time at St Mary’s Music School, except in their final year when the focus shifts to conservatoire/university auditions and public performance. 


Pupils participate in competitions, local, national and international. Our pupils have gained considerable success in high-profile contests such as the RSNO Chamber Music Competition.

The Seven Hills Project

This exciting initiative will run until 2024 and sees 8 composers with connections to the School commissioned to write a new work for our pupils. Each piece is recorded and premiered at one of the three major annual concerts. 


Established composers Helen Grime, David Horne, Lliam [sic] Paterson, John De Simone and Alasdair Spratt are alumni of the school. 

Find out about the music curriculum and instrumental learning

  Composing, the second in a series of four short films

 Pieces written for St Mary’s Music School

 Pieces written for St Mary’s Cathedral Choir


Tom David Wilson


Sir James MacMillan CBE

Sir James MacMillan CBE


Composition Staff


Instrumental Learning

Choir School

Saturday Music Classes


St Mary’s Music School is one of the nine specialist Music and Dance Schools the UK (and the only one in Scotland)  funded by the UK Government and providing the finest training in Britain. It is a co-educational, non-denominational specialist music school, offering a world class standard of music and academic education to musically gifted children aged 9-19 years. It is also the Choir School of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. It attracts day and boarding pupils from across Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Europe and internationally. 

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St Mary's Music School Trust Ltd, Registered No: 54504
St Mary's Music School Trust Limited is a charity No. SC014611
Registered Office: Coates Hall, 25 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 5EL.