The link between ‘playing the game’ and ‘playing the piano’ may at first glance appear tenuous. However, in fact, the two types of ‘playing’ were important aspects of girls’ public-school education during the second half of the nineteenth century. The new schools’ pattern of ‘double conformity’ and ‘divided aims’ is revealed with particular clarity by an examination of the place that games and music occupied at the two earliest and most famous establishments, the North London Collegiate School for Ladies and the Cheltenham Ladies’ College. At the North London Collegiate School, Miss Buss set out to provide girls with an education that would develop their morals, character and intellect to the fullest, and thus prepare them for any position in life. Cheltenham’s early prospectuses listed callisthenics as part of the regular course because Miss Beale considered them an antidote to excessive brainwork.