In the immediate post-war period there was a nationwide drive to rekindle artistic and recreational pursuits which had been set aside in time of conflict.

The Gulbenkian Foundation made grants to a number of projects aimed at this regeneration, and the Rural Music Schools Association grew up. Each School was autonomous, Directors meeting at annual conferences at the headquarters in Hertfordshire. As Local Education Authorities became more focused on the arts and music education in particular, so Rural Music Schools began to be absorbed into their structures. The national headquarters closed later reforming itself into Benslow, the popular course centre and some Schools closed due to diminishing income.

But special circumstances prevailed in Dorset, and due to the generosity of local well-wishers our Rural Music School was established in its own purpose-designed accommodation in The Close, Blandford Forum. The founder, then County Music Organiser, Joan Brocklebank appointed Nancy Williams as first Director, under a Board of Governors chaired by Michael Matthews.

Nancy was succeeded by Derek Browning, Harvey Easton, Belinda Gooch , Nigel Carver, Richard Hall, and since January 2022, Ellen Marsden as Director. Chair-persons of the Board have been John Sanders, Derek Stanes, Michael Barnes, Ann Ridout, John Tory, and presently Julie Newall. 

In the early years, instrumental teaching was undertaken in the Countys maintained schools on behalf of the LEA, and at the same time the Schools staff were also welcomed into the areas many independent schools. Our links with both the independent sector and state schools continue to thrive.

At the Schools 50th Birthday Concert in 1997 the Chairman Ann Ridout announced the Jubilee Scholarship and Bursary scheme, under which a number of young musicians are helped financially through the kindness of those who contribute to the fund.

We are also very happy to mentor pupils ‘in kind’ as they embark upon their further studies in Music Colleges and Universities

In 2022 we celebrated our 75th Anniversary, we are proud to be the only Rural Music School remaining in the country and we say a most sincere Thank You to all our supporters.

                                          Music provides a powerful route to our wellbeing, now more than ever.