The oldest part of Music House was built as a family home in the mid 19th century. It is compact, neo-Gothic in style with many attractive and unique features, not least the elaborately worked doors to the main rooms. However, the House has been extended more than once and the Housemother, LucyAnn Curling, is in charge of a chain of buildings called Middle Block, two linked extensions which where purpose-built in the 1970s to provide additional boarding rooms, teaching studios for instrumental lessons and a recital room.
In Music House and Middle Block together, we have space for 31 students. The youngest boarding students, aged 9 to 13, boys as well as girls, all live in Music House. There are five young students at the moment. The rest of the residents are girls ranging in age up to 18. They get on really well together – usually! Most of the rooms are double rooms, but there are two 3-bed rooms and one single room. New students share with someone close in age to their own. We have a mentoring system so that new students are looked after by someone who knows the ropes and can show them round and help them till they feel settled.
Day students of the same age-ranges and gender as their boarding peers also belong to Music House. There are usually about twelve day students. There are two locker areas with big lockers and day students can use all the facilities in the Common Room and Kitchen according to the school rules for their age. Quite often day students need to stay late for rehearsals and they are welcome to join in all House activities.
Students in Music House are very lucky – they are the only group who don’t have to go outside to get to the dining room for breakfast! This is a big bonus in the winter when the skies are grey and the rain seems everlasting. Additionally, there is a lovely big Common Room in Middle Block and attached to that is a super kitchen where older students can cook if they get permission from duty staff.
The Housemother for Music House and Middle Block is LucyAnn Curling who lives in an apartment in the old building. She has many years of experience in the role having worked in four boarding schools with gifted young musicians and dancers. She read Music at university and has two children both of whom went to specialist music schools, so she knows the field as a parent and professional. Before she got into the boarding lark she taught Suzuki piano for 20 years.
LucyAnn really enjoys her job and she thinks the best bit is helping people to solve problems, big or small, whether it’s sewing up a concert dress strap, liaising between staff and students or sorting out unhappiness of any kind.