About us

For over 75 years, the Dorset Rural Music School has been bringing the joy of music to people in Dorset. Based in Blandford Forum, we offer affordable, high-quality tuition for learners of all ages, providing stimulating and friendly courses, running choirs and ensembles, creating innovative community projects, schools workshops, and exciting live performances. 

We are dedicated to helping people across the county (and beyond) to enjoy music in unique, memorable and inspiring ways. Our talented and experienced staff provide a welcoming, flexible and collaborative approach, giving people the space to take creative risks and grow through music.
Rooted in our local community, we take our inspiration from the people, landscape and heritage of Dorset. We are a registered charity, and we welcome donations to support our work and help to maintain our school for future generations.

Our supporters

We are extremely grateful to the Trusts and Foundations that support our work and enable us to reach more people across Dorset.

D’Oyly Carte Charitable Foundation
Dorset County Council
Nature Heals Seed Community Fund
Craft Union

Nature heals with young green shoot image
Dorset council with D shaped image
D and T linked


A most heartfelt thank you to all who donate to the Dorset Rural Music School, you really make a difference.

In particular we say a big 2023 Thank You to Purbeck Strings, who have generously donated their stunning instruments to DRMS for the benefit of our pupils.

Thank you

Thank you to our friends, Honeybuns, who provide us with delicious year-round goodies for our events.
tea in a mug marked 'honeybuns' with cakes to the side

Purpose and values

We exist for people of all generations, abilities and backgrounds to access excellent music tuition. We believe in the potential of music to be life-enhancing, increase life chances, and even be life-changing.

We explore new ways of doing things, we learn from each other, and we foster a strong sense of community, helping to build confidence, self-belief and aspiration.

We enable people to make sense of their experiences and the world around them through the medium of music.

Meet the team

Director of Music: Ellen Marsden

Ellen has been involved in music education for over thirty years, working in the UK and Spain.
A pupil of Chetham’s School of Music, and a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she is an Oboist who has performed and recorded extensively with the major London orchestras.
In the late 1980’s Ellen worked regularly in Spain as a performer, whilst also developing some significant initiatives with young musicians.
From 1991-1996, Ellen was Principle Oboe of the Royal Symphony Orchestra of Seville, she became the Woodwind coach for the Youth Orchestra of Andalucia and regularly gave masterclasses in Bilbao and Madrid, she was also a regular performer and tutor at the Dartington International Summer School, working with the Composer’s Ensemble and Jane Manning. Returning to London, Ellen studied Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies before taking up her post as Principle Cor Anglais with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, where she remained for nine years.
In 2009, Ellen was appointed Director of Music at Sherborne Preparatory School. Leaving this role in 2012, she has since worked as a Creative Project Manager producing numerous large scale educational and community projects.

In January 2022, Ellen was appointed Director of the Dorset Rural Music School, she is extremely happy to be in this post, working with staff and pupils to ensure that our school continues to thrive as a beacon of excellence.

Please do email, or phone to make an appointment if you would like to meet in person. 

Email and phone enquiries:  Monday – Friday :  9.30am – 8pm.    Saturday: 9.30 – 1.30, including holidays.

Librarian: Dr. Richard Hall

Formerly Director of DRMS, Dr. Richard Hall has curated and developed our extensive library for almost twenty years.
Please make all library enquiries via the DRMS office email, titling ‘Library’ and we will get back to you swiftly.

ABRSM Representative: Lucy Martin

Lucy is a member of our teaching staff and ABRSM representative. You can book ABRSM entries with Lucy and she will advise of examination dates and times.

Please email Lucy, titling ‘ABRSM.’

Our Governors

Mrs. Julie Newall           Chair of the Governors.

Dr. Richard Hall
Mrs. Anne Eccleston
Miss. Emily Rose Bray
Mr. Gareth Jones
Mr. John Goodman
Mr. Michael Warren

Our Volunteer

Our Volunteer, Robin Griffiths, is in the music office every Wednesday from 2pm – 6pm during term time.
If you would like to Volunteer, please contact Ellen by email.

If you would like to visit the office at other times, please email or phone to arrange an appointment.