RIGHT NOTE: Richard Dawson, Barnard Castle School’s new director of music, at the school’s 1860s chapel organ
RIGHT NOTE: Richard Dawson, Barnard Castle School’s new director of music, at the school’s 1860s chapel organ

A TEACHER is aiming to create a buzz around playing and performing when he joins Barnard Castle School as its new director of music.

Richard Dawson will send the message that music is for all, including the wider community, when he arrives at the school in September.

“I tell all children that they have an instrument – their voice – and it’s important that there are opportunities for everyone to get involved so that pupils never think music is just for those whom they perceive as the ‘musicians’.

“Music is a huge part of life at Barney, from children in prep school getting the chance to learn a different instrument each year in their weekly music lessons, to members of the rugby 1st XV singing in the chapel choir and all pupils taking part in the house singing competition,” said Mr Dawson, 27.

Sam Turner

Originally from the West Midlands, Mr Dawson started playing aged six when a neighbour sold his mum an electric keyboard. He won a music scholarship and then gained at place at Keble College, Oxford University, as an organ scholar. He taught at Sherborne School and will move to Barnard Castle School from his role as deputy director of music at Brighton College, where he is also responsible for academic music. Mr Dawson is keen to continue Barnard Castle School’s record of performing externally and to share the school’s facilities and personnel where there is demand.

He explained: “Unfortunately, music can often fall victim to dwindling budgets and it is particularly challenging in the state sector. I think we have a role to play in reaching out to the community and supporting local schools where there is need.

“I also want our pupils to have great experiences around music, performing in some of the magnificent venues in the region from The Bowes Museum to Durham Cathedral and the Sage Gateshead. I’m aiming for the same buzz around music as there is around sport, where pupils learn and perform together, parents come to watch and it’s an exciting experience for everyone.”

Mr Dawson and his fiancee Isobel, will live in Barnard Castle.