Rydal Penrhos School


Music is a core component of life at Rydal Penrhos School, where the ethos is one of inclusion, participation and high standards.

"...with an emphasis on practical music making."
The atmosphere is nurturing and supportive. We aim to foster a lifelong enjoyment of music for everyone. The Owain Arwel Hughes Music School supports universal participation and individual excellence. We aim to inspire students to push their musical potential as far as they can, supported by expert tuition from a variety of distinguished specialists.

Why study Music?

All pupils study Music in Years 7,8 and 9. It is an optional subject at GCSE and A/IB level.

At A-level and IB, Music builds on performing and technical skills from GCSE, and leads to higher level studies in Music, teaching, composing and performing. A significant level of performance (at least ABRSM Grade 5) is needed to start this course. This is a subject suited to pupils who wish to to develop creativity and imagination; develop a wide range of skills including performance, appreciation and composing; encourage development of musical awareness from a variety of styles; build on the skills already covered lower down the school and to provide spiritual, social and cultural enrichment.

The vision of the Music School

  • To be an inspirational, innovative, team-spirited music department with a world-class reputation.
  • Through challenge and responsibility, we aim to encourage all learners to be dedicated and self-motivated musicians.
  • We aim to nurture confidence, believing that all learners deserve an opportunity to achieve his/her best.
  • We believe and recognise that a strong musical education can act as a very important motivator for well-being; developing life skills, social values and international understanding.
  • We are committed to serving the community musically within and outside the school


Music is taught once a week to pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9, and three times a week for GCSE.

There are various groups and ensembles in which pupils can develop their skills, including the school jazz band, choir, orchestra, dramatic society, guitar group, various Rock Bands. Ensemble trips take place every year. There are many platforms of various types for soloists and small ensembles, from ‘reflections’ in Chapel in the morning, to major orchestral concerts, to external chamber events.

Career choices for students of Music include teaching, composition, performance, journalism, and sound engineering.

Spring term: classroom units of work

Key Stage 3
Year 7: Form and Structure: Musical structures; melody writing, question and answer phrases, binary, ternary, rondo, ostinato; classroom ensemble work, songs from Can Sing
Year 8: Variations: developing musical ideas, timbre, texture and dynamics, melody and harmony, varying textures, ground bass, classroom ensemble work, songs from Can Sing
Year 9: Minimalism: exploring motifs, polyrhythms, phrase structure, classroom ensemble work, songs from Can Sing


The Owain Arwel Hughes Music School is a hive of enthusiastic, daily musical activity where pupils and staff explore and challenge themselves. The School comprises a number of individual practice rooms with pianos, a recording studio and control room, a large teaching room and a number of smaller rooms for Upper School classes.

There is a large selection of orchestral and band instruments available, which learners are encouraged to explore and gain some skill on, enabling everyone to become a musician.

There is a selection of Internet enabled computers running Notion 4 software, which is utilised by learners from Years 7 – 13 as a tool to compose, arrange and explore musical possibilities.

The Rydal Penrhos Music School team:
  • Mr John Wright: Director of Music
  • Mr Peter Williams: Whole School Teacher of Music
  • Mr Nigel Shaw: vocal tutor and choral adviser
  • Mrs Cheryl Frost: piano, co-ordinator of ABRSM centre
  • Mrs Laura Cookson: piano
  • Mrs Lorna Todd: violin, music theory and Conwy County link
  • Mrs Sharn Merion: cello and piano
  • Mr Lewis Fox: clarinet and saxophone
  • Ms Rachel Gautrey: flute
  • Ms Helen Wyn Pari: harp
  • Mrs Sue Hughes: brass
  • Mr Ian Hayes: guitar
  • Mr Michael Clark: percussion

Class Instrumental lessons

Stage 1: In the Autumn term, we run class instrumental in Years 7 and 8 (mixed woodwind, strings and brass). The aim is for the pupils to gaining basic skills on these instrument and experiencing the joy and excitement of playing an instrument in a large group.

Stage 2: In order for pupils to progress and develop skills further, we offer ‘stage 2’, which enables pupils to work in group of 2 to 4 with one of our specialist teachers for a 40-minute lesson per week, out of the classroom. We are also offering a free loan of a violin, clarinet, trumpet, flute, clarinet, p’bone or euphonium for pupils to take home and practise, on a strictly ‘first come first served’ basis. This stage will last for a term. There will be awards for progress and many performance opportunities.

Director of Music
Mr J Wright MA (Cantab)
Email Mr Wright

Music teaching staff
Mr P Williams
Email Mr Williams

Site information

Rydal Penrhos School
Pwllycrochan Avenue
Colwyn Bay
LL29 7BT

Tel: +44 (0)1492 530 155 (Senior)
Tel: +44 (0)1492 530 381 (Prep)
Fax: +44 (0)1492 531 872

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