Music, for performers and listeners alike, is central to daily life in all three Bedales Schools. A long and distinguished tradition of fostering ambitions through the development of supportive friendships between staff and pupils has created happy, challenging and co-operative environments in our music departments.

"Music, for performers and listeners alike, is central to daily life in all three Bedales Schools"


Elite musicans of all ages are given, where considered desirable, a bespoke timetable in which they can concentrate on honing their particular skills whilst also taking leading roles in the many instrumental and vocal ensembles which occupy protected space in the co-curriculum.

We offer a proven successful route into higher musical studies at University or Music College or simply the necessary grounding for a lifetime’s love of playing and singing with friends and colleagues.

Dunannie nurtures the initial passion every child has for music. In Dunhurst, students soon discover that the more they practise, the more exciting ensemble opportunities become readily available to them. Orchestras, choirs, rock bands and chamber ensembles perform regularly in concerts and theatre productions.

Bedales offers every musician even more challenging opportunities in which to study and take part in concerts, both at school and on tours abroad. Every student who is interested in the academic and practical study of music can be assured that these needs will be well looked after by members of staff who are themselves actively engaged in professional musical making.

The appreciation of artisric beauty informs all that we offer. It has been most elegantly summarized by Lady Marjory Allen, “The splendid sense of belongingwas at its most intense at evening Assemblies when we heard music that I love.”

Music at Dunannie

All Dunannie children participate in the making of music as composers, performers and listeners; creativity is regarded as a latent attribute of every child. Involvement with music and movement is considered crucial in a child's early years; there is a long tradition of music and movement at Bedales stretching back through the teaching of eurhythmics and work by the Dolmetsch family to an inspirational visit by Dr Maria Montessori in 1919.

Musical activities are co-ordinated to complement the topic-based work led by class teachers. There are also links with specialist areas such as dance, drama, poetry, art and modern languages.

There is a strong emphasis on singing for development of the inner ear and performance as a member of a class group, two choirs, orchestra and smaller ensembles for strings and recorder. Additional opportunities exist in local festivals and joint performances with musicians from Dunhurst. A programme of live music is provided by members of Dunhurst and Bedales, visiting music staff and other musicians from a breadth of musical cultures.

Dunannie children have regular experience of composing and of performing music.

Individual music tuition is available from Reception with lessons provided by 24 members of the Dunhurst visiting music staff. By Year 3 many children receive individual instrumental or vocal tuition.

There are also wind and string ensemble groups. Year 2 and Year 3 form an orchestra from January to July that includes all children, either playing their individual instruments or playing percussion instruments.

Fundamental to all these musical activities is the value placed upon heuristic learning – enabling children to discover things for themselves - and providing a breadth of experience through which Dunannie children can develop the skills to define the music of their future. Music is the heartbeat of Dunannie.

Read profile of Director of Music, Ben Harlan

Read about Music at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst