WELCOME to the new website for the Somerset Rural Music Schools SATURDAY MORNING MUSIC & ARTS CLUB, based at Bishop Fox’s School, Taunton.

Somerset Rural Music School (SRMS) are a non-profit charity organisation, providing opportunities for children age 4 upwards and young adults to develop their musical, artistic and drama skills in a relaxed and caring setting.


Local music charity to close after 44 years of service to the community

It is with great sadness and regret that the Somerset Rural Music School (SRMS) has to close at the end of the Autumn term.  For financial reasons, the committee was forced to conclude that closure was the only option. SRMS started as the Saturday Morning Music School, founded by Brian Cresswell in 1974, and became a charitable organisation in 1981.  Its aim has always been to provide affordable, quality music lessons to those in our community who are unable to afford the high price of private tuition. Alongside lessons, we provided drop-in activities to help develop children’s confidence and well being, from drama sessions, choir and ukulele groups to art and craft activities.  The nurturing and gentle approach of our teachers and volunteers has always been recognised as one of those things that set us apart from other providers.

Whilst we have made a real attempt to increase numbers attending our Saturday school, financial pressures have resulted in us losing money over the past year or so.  Whether it was withdrawal of funding from Taunton Deane Borough Council, the success of other organisations with greater funds or the fact that austerity has meant that fewer parents can afford our service, numbers attending our school have dropped so significantly that the charity can no longer keep afloat.

It is a real shame that, in these days of high stress, austerity and the growing numbers of those suffering from mental health issues, such an organisation as ours has been forced to make this decision. As a committee, we are particularly aware of the squeeze on the arts in classrooms and we believe that the powers that be need to recognise the value of self-expression through the arts. Music and the arts in general, contribute greatly to the mental and physical development and well being of our children and, indeed, the adults in our community. Learning an instrument helps in the development of fine motor skills in the young, it can help to maintain a healthy and active mind in the old as well as provide an opportunity for those who are lonely in society to develop relationships with others across the generations. Playing music is intensely enjoyable and relaxing. It can help to build confidence in those who are less academic, provides an opportunity for people to work together as part of an orchestra or ensemble and helps to develop resilience. Equally importantly, it develops brain power which, in turn, aids other learning.

For the past 44 years, we have relied on the generosity of our teachers and volunteers to help run our charity and the committee would like to thank all those who have been involved over these years. We would also like to thank those who have donated generously in recent times in an attempt to keep us going. In particular we would like to thank The Fairfield Trust and Mrs Jackie Parsons and her family, who generously asked for donations to our charity to be made at the funeral of her late husband Dale, who was a great music enthusiast.

Despite the fact that we have to fold as a charitable organisation, we are all very proud of the legacy that we leave behind. We must remember all those children and adults who have benefited from the provision of SRMS and all those who have contributed their time and efforts in the running of our charity.

To celebrate our legacy, we are holding a Christmas concert at The Temple Methodist Church in Taunton on Saturday 1st December, commencing at 10.30 am, and invite anyone who has been part of our story to join us, or indeed anyone who would like to, to join us.