When the pretty Lucy Cavendish, bored by her life at college, takes up music lessons with the beautiful Miss Araminta Martin she expects to work hard. What she does not bargain on is Miss Martin's strict code of discipline and anachronistic methods of punishment. Soon she is caught up in a bizarre world of punitive music making, in which seemingly every wrong note leads to a spanking - or worse. Torn between her love of music and fear of chastisement, Lucy nevertheless takes her punishment bravely, at once attracting the attentions of the predatory Dr Tovey, the dour Mr McLellan, and Miss Martin's wicked young maid, Jenny. As the day of the final concert approaches, Lucy is faced with a difficult decision: will she try to escape, or will she stay and perform her piece before an audience all too willing to spank the bottoms of errant girls?