Back to Preludes tutors

Penny Rawlings

Penny was brought up in Bristol where she played in many orchestras and ensembles at school and for the City of Bristol. She studied violin under Robert Jacoby at Aberystwyth University, spent a year living in Sweden and graduated in 1975. 

After working in special libraries for several years, she started a group called Hum and Drum which brought music to pre-school children. Children came to her music sessions as babies and carried on until they left school at 18! Hum and Drum was about bringing real music to children, hands on interaction with instruments and experiencing a huge range of musical genres. When children started school there were Saturday morning classes and after school instrument groups. Hum and Drum taught piano, recorder and violin/viola.

In 2009 Penny was asked to take her musical expertise into two schools in deprived areas of Bristol which were in serious difficulties. This project was named Preludes Music. From the beginning, Penny designed Preludes Music to progress slowly through a school, starting with reception and adding a new year group each year. In time, the whole school was receiving weekly class music lessons, small group instrumental lessons for EVERY child, after school clubs, holiday clubs and enriching experiences performing concerts in school and our beautiful Bristol concert venues. Penny created a special Preludes Music curriculum which covers all aspects of the National Music Curriculum and more. The Preludes Music curriculum is engaging and exciting for children and young people. It has been a real joy to deliver high quality musical experiences and to watch with amazement as Preludes music works its magic on a school. 

Penny has now retired from full-time teaching and has become a trustee of the Bristol Ensemble with special responsibility for Education Projects. Her new role involves bringing more ideas to the table, advising and mentoring the Preludes tutors. She continues to be part of community music in Bristol playing in Westbury Park Community Orchestra, Svenska Spelmanslag, Strings and Things and other folk groups.