Performing Arts

We strive to be a vibrant, exciting, innovative and modern department that is inclusive of all children and all abilities. Children have so many opportunities to take part in musical activities during the year, from performing in front of their classmates to taking part in large scale events. 

Music ignites all areas of child development and the skills needed at school: intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together.

In The Classroom 

At DESS, Foundation Stage children take part in two music lessons a week; enjoying singing a variety of songs, using rhythmic instruments such as shakers, clavers and castanets and simple movement.  

Year 1 and 2 children also have two music lessons a week – one of which is dedicated to instrumental work with Year 1 children learning the chime bars and Year 2 learning the tin whistle. 

Dance in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 is designed to bring movement and dance together through imagination, using materials they have learnt in the classroom and bringing it into dance and role play. 

Key Stage 2 children take part in one music lesson a week comprising of instrumental studies, singing and music theory. Each child from Year 3 to Year 6 will learn a new instrument every year: Year 3 – Orchestral Instruments and Recorders, Year 4 – Keyboard and Recorder, Year 5 – Ukulele and Year 6 – Guitar. The Year 3 program is especially exciting as children have the opportunity to learn an orchestral instrument such as the violin, flute, trumpet and saxophone and are given the instrument to keep for the duration of the lessons. We are one of the only schools in Dubai to offer such an amazing and possibly life-changing experience. It is wonderful to see how the children progress in their instrument and encourage self-expression. Key Stage 2 children will also receive dance workshops during the academic year.  


Beyond the classroom, students can participate in an ever increasing range of extracurricular opportunities including Junior Choir, Senior Choir and Chamber Choir, Beginner String Group, Training Band, Guitar Group, Keyboard Warriors, Beginner Guitar, Samba Drums, Drama, Beginner Harp, Rock Band, Dance for All and Dance Squad.

Instrumental Lessons 

At DESS, we run a very successful Peripatetic Instrumental Music Programme. Children can receive tuition in piano, violin, voice, drums, guitar, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone and saxophone. Children receive a private lesson once a week and can then choose to take an exam with one of the examining boards that we work with including Trinity, ABRSM and LAMDA. As well as having two very well-equipped music classrooms at DESS both with instruments and technology, we also have three dedicated practice rooms where the children receive their instrumental lessons or can go to rehearse. 

These instrumental lessons are available to students from years 1 to 6 and offers an excellent opportunity to introduce your child to a musical instrument and greatly enhance their learning. We are very fortunate to have our own team of in-house musicians who we work very closely with in order to provide the best instrumental education for our children. If you have any queries about the instrumental lessons, please email [email protected] for more details.

Training Band & Beginner Violin 

We run a very successful Training Band Program at DESS. Under this initiative 15 children receive an instrument (flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet or violin) and tuition every week, completely free of charge. Since the beginning of this program many children have gone on to further studies in their instrument and take part in school performances. This is just another way to ensure that children are getting the opportunity to learn an instrument.  

Music Specialisms 

Studying music at DESS provides opportunities for all our pupils to engage in Cross Key-Stage, inter-school and cross-curricular activities and to learn more about specialisms such as: 

  • Ensemble Performance 
  • Solo Performance 
  • Choral Singing 
  • Band Performance 

In addition, each and every pupil is able to access the wide range of optional extra-curricular activities and there is also a variety of individual tuition available from our highly qualified instrumental and vocal teachers. Through our curriculum and optional instrumental programme, every student has the opportunity to take an internationally recognised graded examinations, such as an ABRSM/TRINITY. 

There is also the opportunity for pupils to participate in a wide range of performance opportunities both inside and outside the DESSC community, with performances culminating in treading the boards at Dubai Opera and masterclasses with leading world-renowned musicians. 

What makes our Music Department different: 

  • Inclusive approach, all students, whatever their ability are catered for and given performance opportunities through the school musical and other extra-curricular activities which are made bespoke to the needs of the individual child. 
  • Opportunities for students to perform and promote material within the Recording Studio at our senior school.  
  • A popular peripatetic program that includes; voice, piano, strings, woodwind and brass. 
  • Regular performance opportunities for pupils, from the classroom, to busking at the main school gate, to the stage in our auditorium, to our senior school. 
  • Investment in the Music department is evident every year, from IMacs, to practice rooms to instruments.