Music case study – Josh Grubb, 6.2

How old were you when you joined Bedales Schools?
I joined Bedales in Block 4 at the age of 14.

What was your previous school?
Hurstpierpoint College.

What are your preferred instrument(s)?
I’m very biased towards the instrument that I play, clarinet. I love its tone and the way that this changes from dark and woody, to pure and resonant, and then shrill and piercing as you ascend further up its range. It has the ability to produce a very quiet and loud sound and has a large range of almost four octaves. Although there isn’t a huge amount of repertoire for the clarinet, the small portion of it that I’ve played so far I have found to be really enjoyable. But despite my terrible bias, I enjoy listening to all instruments!

What do you consider to be your best musical achievements to date?
I began to learn clarinet at Bedales in Block 4 and received a Grade 8 distinction at the end of Block 5, which I was really happy with.

How has Bedales helped the development of your music?
Bedales is a hive of musical activity. I have been fortunate enough to participate in the Concert Band, Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Choir, Barber Shop Boys and Madrigal group. I was allowed to run a Wind Ensemble for two terms, which was hard work, but good fun and a really good learning experience. So in that sense, I have been able to play and sing as much as I could have possibly wanted! The music staff are fantastic and work so hard to ensure that every student is able to make the most of music at Bedales.

Who or what is your greatest musical inspiration?
My clarinet teacher, Keir Rowe, has been my main inspiration. He has always provided me with repertoire which has been suitably above my skill level at every stage, and lessons always seem to fly by. I could not ask for a better teacher, and I’ll be very sad when I leave Bedales to have to find a different clarinet teacher! I also draw inspiration from Martin Fröst and Michael Collins, who are two of the world’s most incredible clarinetists. I had the opportunity to page-turn for Michael Collins’ pianist at a concert this year, which was such an incredible experience: to hear Michael Collins first hand, and to also meet him.

Any musical interests outside of lessons (orchestras/ societies/ bands)?
As mentioned above, there are a huge number of opportunities available to exploit music further in the school. There are also opportunities in Petersfield such as the Petersfield Orchestra, who I played with at their recent concert this year.

What do you hope to achieve in your music over the next few years at Bedales and beyond?
I am currently preparing for the Cambridge Pre-U music recitals (Bedales’ A-level equivalent music qualification) and a clarinet diploma. I have also applied for the National Youth Wind Orchestra, who audition later this year, so I have quite a lot to be doing! I am going to try my hardest in all of those, and hopefully they’ll go well.

What do you like best about Music at Bedales?
The quality of music at Bedales is unbelievable. Considering how much of it we make every year, with music before every Jaw and assembly, and concerts every term and at various other events throughout the year, the quality that is maintained is even more astounding. I can’t really say what I like the most about music at Bedales, only that I’m so glad that I came here and really discovered it. I don’t think I would have nearly the same affiliation with it had I gone to any other school.

Josh Grubb


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.


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