Glenalmond College Music Department

Latest Music Department News please click Music News Page


Glenalmond music resides in the Music School, a listed building designed by Basil Spence and situated at the heart of the College. It is home to a beautiful, wood-floored Recital Hall, the offices of the three full time music staff, the Music School Administrator and seven teaching/practice rooms. There are also two teaching classrooms, one laid out with desks, high definition blu-ray, large flat screen monitor and full surround sound, and the other a dedicated Music Technology teaching classroom, with an adjacent soundproofed live room.


All teaching/practice rooms are equipped with upright pianos. There is a Steinway concert grand piano in the stunning Recital Hall and the Chapel benefits from a II/26 mechanical action Harrison & Harrison organ, newly installed in 2007.

For more information regarding the many facets of Glenalmond music, please click a link above.


Dr Tim Ridley, Director of Music, e-mail to TimRidley


To see photos of our recent Prep Schools Choral Day please click here




To view the services and choral music for the term please click on the link below:


Chapel Service and Choral Music - Michaelmas 2014


Dr Ridley in concert!

Director of Music Tim Ridley accompanied internationally renowned solo viola player Philip Dukes in a viola and piano recital for the "Music in Blair Atholl" series of concerts. The concert took place at Lude House, Blair Atholl at 3.00pm on Sunday 25 November. The programme featured music by Telemann, Bruch, Schumann and Brahms. Philip Dukes visited the Glenalmond music department in the days immediately preceding the concert.



All instrumental and singing pupils are expected to be a member of an ensemble as a part of their studies. The following groups meet on a weekly basis:

Chapel Choir - Link to Choir page

Pipe Band A -  Link to Pipe Band page

String Orchestra

Concert Band

Choral Society

Jazz Band

Pipe Band B

Flute Group

Brass Quartet

Percussion Ensemble


In addition to the above groups there are many further small ensembles created on a termly basis to bring particular groups of musicians together. Recent such groups have included a duo preparing Bach's Double Violin Concerto in D minor, a String Quartet preparing Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8, a violin/viola duo preparing Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, a Wind Quintet, a Wind Trio, a further violin/viola duo preparing works by Martinu and Stamitz, and a violin/horn/piano group working on Brahms' Horn Trio. All these ensembles receive weekly specialist coaching from a member of the music team.



External and National Representation

Glenalmond music is constantly being taken out into the community. The annual Choral Society concert takes place in a large venue away from Glenalmond. Our instrumentalists and singers have performed over recent years in Carlisle Cathedral, Hexham Abbey, Oban Cathedral, St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Edinburgh, Dunblane Cathedral, St Ninian's Cathedral Perth and St Giles' Cathedral Edinburgh. In addition our musicians bring many prizes back from the annual Perform in Perth Festival, as well as performing at local prep schools and at charity events in the local community.


Our musicians are currently representing Glenalmond in the Perth Youth Orchestra, Aberdeen Youth Orchestra, Edinburgh Youth Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the National Children's Orchestra, the National Schools' Symphony Orchestra, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the Scottish Opera Connect programme and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.



Instrumental and Singing Lessons

Each week around 275 individual music lessons are delivered by a team of 24 visiting music staff and by the 3 full time members of department. Glenalmond is fortunate to have a loyal and supremely talented team of musicians, many of whom travel considerable distances each week from Glasgow and Edinburgh to ensure that our musicians benefit from the best possible musical instruction.


Members of the music team are drawn from the top professional orchestras in Scotland, with singers from the Scottish Opera; some also have responsibilities at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, and are in addition members of the coaching staff for some of the major national Youth Orchestras.


All instrumentalists are prepared in theory study alongside their practical work. This ensures that when Grade 5 is reached, the theoretical knowledge is a natural, properly learned level, rather than one which requires cramming to achieve the requisite pass.


Lessons are available in the following instrumental disciplines:

Strings: Violin, viola, cello, double bass

Woodwind: Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon

Brass: Trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba, euphonium

Percussion: Orchestral/tuned percussion, drum kit

Piano, Organ, Singing , Bagpipes/chanter

Pipe Band Drums: Snare drum, tenor drum

Guitar: Electric guitar, classical guitar, bass guitar

Clarsach/lever harp, Aural, Theory, Improvisation



Music Scholarships

Music Scholars at Glenalmond are afforded the opportunity to pursue their deep and committed love for music, alongside their regular academic studies. Music scholars are expected to be ambassadors for music both in and out of school. Their personalised programme of musical study is kept under regular review by the Director of Music and the individual instrumental/singing teachers. Although not always the case, there is an expectation that music scholars will study music at GCSE level. A level choice is left more open to allow for non-musical vocational study. The performance opportunities available at Glenalmond are second to none and scholars are nurtured musically, preparing them for the many occasions upon which they will be on the big stage representing both themselves and the school.


There are up to five music scholarships/exhibitions available annually, valued at between 10-25% of the fees, with free music tuition. Scholarships can be topped up to 100% of the fees through further means-tested bursaries. Although an approximate standard of around Grade 5 is a benchmark for Third Form entry, the Director of Music is always keen to hear from young musicians who may not have reached specific standards but are exhibiting potential and enthusiasm.


A bespoke Organ Scholarship is awarded annually: this can be awarded to a candidate in any year group, sometimes to a pianist who shows natural instinct to progress on to the organ. Given the daily chapel tradition at Glenalmond, we offer a very exciting opportunity for organists looking to progress towards Oxbridge Organ Scholarships, with virtually unlimited chances to play for services and to prepare and direct choirs. Last year's departing Organ Scholar has recently taken up post as Organ Scholar at Oriel College, Oxford.


For information with regard to general music or organ scholarships, please contact the Director of Music, TimRidley,  or 01738 842148. He is always keen to meet potential musicians at any stage in their musical development for an informal chat.


Piping bursaries are also available. For further information please contact   Mr Brian Elrick  or telephone  01738 842065.



Music Technology

Music Technology is taught using a suite of Apple iMacs, running Logic Studio 9 and Sibelius 7. There is a separate 32 channel mixer which routes via a MOTU interface into a dedicated iMac for audio recording. The department also owns several professional Kurzweil, Yamaha and Roland keyboards, together with a selection of good guitar, bass and keyboard amplification


There are many opportunities for bands to perform, with professional PA being brought in for concerts in the theatre to provide substantial sound reinforcement!

The music technology facilities are freely available to all interested pupils, subject to reaching a satisfactory level of skill. Music Technology is studied in small groups at AS and A2   with results leading recent pupils to continue their studies at university. One recently departed Glenalmond pupil achieved a rare A* grade and will shortly commence study on the Tonmeister Course at Surrey University.




The Teaching Rooms

All the individual teaching rooms at Glenalmond are named after famous Scottish musicians. Glenalmond is very proud to recognise the contribution of the following to music on a global scale:


ANDERSON Ian Anderson, MBE, lead singer with Jethro Tull

BANTOCK Sir Granville Bantock, composer

BENNETT Martyn Bennett, musician and composer

CAPERCAILLIE Scottish folk/contemporary fusion band

CUNNINGHAM Phil Cunningham, MBE, traditional instrumentalist and composer

GLENNIE Dame Evelyn Glennie, DBE, percussionist

MACMILLAN James MacMillan, CBE, composer

LENNOX Annie Lennox, OBE, solo artist and lead singer with the Eurythmics

MUSGRAVE Thea Musgrave, CBE, composer

WEIR Judith Weir, CBE, composer




Full time staff

Dr Tim Ridley Director of Music & College Organist

Mr Brian Elrick 
Senior Piping Instructor

Mrs Wendy Dunn 
Music School Administrator

Visiting Staff

Matthew Beetschen
Organ, piano

Gordon Brown
Pipe drums

Gordon Campbell

Vicky Campbell
Flute, bassoon

Alastair Collins
Clarinet, saxophone, piano

Dorothy Cyster
Piano, Theory and Aural

Kim Duncan

Davie Dunsmuir
Electric & classical guitar, bass guitar

Mr Alec Frank-Gemmill Horn 

Judith Gardner Jones

Andy James
Drums, percussion

Sian Mailer
Tenor drum

Peter Markham

Julie Martin 

Robert Melling

Elaine McPherson

Ailsa Mooney

Megan Read

Toni Russell

Anne Simpson

Chris Stearn

Catriona Steele

Jim Stout

Emily Walker