Exceptional People: Paul Archibald, Shrewsbury's Head of Woodwind and Brass

Paul Archibald, now in his fourth year at Shrewsbury, brings a lifelong passion for music and a wealth of experience in performance and education. A seasoned musician, his journey began at the age of four when he joined his local Salvation Army's young people’s band, setting the stage for a lifelong commitment to his craft.


His musical education landed him at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he sharpened his skills and discovered a passion for sharing his musical knowledge as a student teacher at Dulwich College. His teaching career flourished at institutions like the Royal College of Music and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Impressively, he was named the Head of Wind, Brass and Percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. 

His first professional orchestral role was as co-principal trumpet with the Royal Opera House. Paul also spent numerous years playing with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble as the youngest-ever recruit, where he toured internationally and captivated audiences worldwide. Paul spent almost four years as Principal Trumpet with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. 

However, his heart was always in chamber music, so he joined the Fibonacci Sequence and became a member of the London Mozart Players - until he eventually ascended to the role of chairman for the orchestra. He also spent time as a part of the London Sinfonietta.

His journey intertwined with renowned figures in the music world, collaborating with conductors such as Carlos Kleiber and Sir Georg Solti and performing alongside iconic names such as Barbara Streisand and Sir Paul McCartney. His versatility extends beyond classical realms, contributing to film scores for blockbuster hits like Batman, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. 

While in the recording studio, he has collaborated with renowned film composers such as Hans Zimmer, Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith. His career has allowed him to meet many notable political figures, such as Denis Healey, Tony Benn, Margaret Thatcher and a few members of the Royal family. 

In 2019, Paul founded Harmony: Action Through the Arts, a charity that aims to benefit economically disadvantaged youth through musical projects. 

At Shrewsbury, Paul shares his expertise in playing the trumpet and tenor horn, teaching individual and group lessons, and guiding ensembles ranging from Y3 to 12. For Paul, teaching and mentoring are integral aspects of being a performer, and he wholeheartedly believes in the importance of passing on knowledge to young musicians to nurture their talents.


Having started his musicianship at a young age, Paul understands the significance of early musical training. As explained by Paul, the work in Pre-Prep and the Y3-Y4 Orchestral Programme is vital for the long-term development of students considering a music career. Once students reach Year 6, they will have developed a solid technical foundation to hone their creativity and musical personality. 

Rehearsal, performance and creative opportunities are necessary to produce successful young musicians and a strong support network from parents and teachers. Many of his former students are now professional musicians, and several hold high-profile positions within the industry - one of his proudest accomplishments is being a part of their development. 

1707979946332251.jpgPerforming alongside students is another gratifying aspect of his profession. Paul regularly plays alongside his students, including at assemblies and in ensembles, as well as at the Last Night of the Proms. 

When reflecting on his time at Shrewsbury, Paul thinks fondly of past performances he has done with his students, especially the Brass Thriller project, a collaborative event for Year 5 and Year 6 Shrewsbury students that involved partnerships with local Thai schools. 

On the other hand, the most challenging part of his position is helping students understand the discipline and motivation required to maintain a practice regimen, especially considering the additional pressures they face within their daily routines. According to Paul, the rigorousnature of musicianship can be challenging to instil in students, but the results are rewarding nonetheless. 

“The music industry can be a vibrant and exciting place and offer many opportunities for young people,” Paul said. “However, many of the positions in the industry are self-employed so developing self-belief, clear ideas with excellent communication skills and the empathy needed to work in a collaborative environment are a key part of setting up students for success in the music industry.”

Paul Archibald’s journey is more than just his musical talent, it is a legacy of inspiring future generations of musicians. His commitment to educating young musicians has greatly contributed to the success of Shrewsbury’s music programme. It exemplifies the transformative power of music in shaping lives, and here at Shrewsbury, shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Get in touch

+ 66 2 675 1888