The gamelan goes virtual…

Wells Cathedral School is one of the four Specialist Music Schools in England supported directly by the DfES through the Music and Dance Scheme.

Over the last few decades of a distinguished history, dating back to 900 AD, it has trained extremely gifted young instrumentalists for a career in professional music, uniquely, within a regular independent school.

This mixture sets up an exciting dynamic within the school community and offers unparalleled opportunities both for students whose prime focus is music and those whose passions may lie elsewhere.

World Music, of various types, is a distinctive component of the music curriculum and, at its heart, lies Indonesian Music since the school purchased, in 1995, a Javanese Gamelan, tuned to laras slendro.

This instrument, named ‘Sumber Laras’, has been in constant use ever since as a teaching resource for all students at the school, and also for the immediate community and region.


Outreach work of various types has become increasingly important, since all of the Specialist Schools supported by the Music and Dance Scheme have been required to spread their excellence to a wider community.

As well as taking predictable and traditional forms, including visits and performances at local schools, workshops, short courses and special events of all sorts, Wells Cathedral School has come up with a cutting edge way of interpreting this imperative, that enables its work, expertise and excellence to be shared with a potentially huge community from around the world.

It is currently engaged in generating interactive resources designed to enhance teaching and learning in music. The first of these focuses on Indonesian Music and is appropriately entitled the Virtual Javanese Gamelan.