Rebecca Turner (Becs) is the Community and Music Performance Director for The Educational Alliance of Canford Heath (TEACH Poole). TEACH Trust includes four of our Music Hub schools: Canford Heath Juniors, Canford Heath Infants, Haymoor Juniors and Ad Astra Infants. We asked Becs to tell us a bit about her experience with SoundStorm over the last few years..
Partners and performances
Take Off [SoundStorm’s ensemble development programme] has been a great opportunity to link with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Musicians from the orchestra have visited our school to help develop our own orchestra over the last two years. It has been great to utilise their knowledge and skills and the children have grown in confidence from working alongside ‘real musicians’. This project led to a concert where the children performed with the BSO and several other schools in a world premiere of the Take Off 125 piece composed by James Redwood.
SoundStorm also linked up with Armonico and provided the opportunity to take over 120 children from our junior schools to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. The children were part of a massed choir of 2500 youngsters that sung a variety of music from a range of eras and genres.
Recently, 120 children in Year 5 worked with 40 professional singers from Armonico Concert to perform another world premiere of Thomas Tallis’ Spem in Alium. The piece was part of the Supersize Polyphony 360 tour. I was slightly anxious about how the children would respond to an unknown piece of music from a different genre, but they absolutely loved the experience. This would not have been possible without the contacts that SoundStorm offers.
Cheikh from Afric’Arts has also recently spent a day with our present Year 2 children teaching them how to play the djembe drums. This was part of a transition event, introducing them to their new school with a ‘wow factor’ event – once again, a link made via SoundStorm.
Instruments and opportunities
As part of our wider opportunity [First Access] across TEACH Trust, we have used our SoundStorm funding to offer a term’s tuition to every child on a brass instrument. This has led to us forming a brass band.
I have also been able to build my peripatetic teaching through hiring many different instruments from SoundStorm. We have had 12 children begin to learn to play the cello this year, they are all progressing very well, and many of them have joined our string ensemble. Another example of this is my folk band, made possible by the availability of instruments to hire.
As a Trust, we are working towards many of our children achieving their individual Arts Awards. Last year we visited Upton House [as part of Striking Chords] to bring together the local environment, nature and music. The children worked with four local musicians in the middle of the forest to achieve their Arts Award part 1. All had a very enriching experience.
As part of our Music Hub membership for next year we have registered with Charanga, an online music programme offering teaching materials and music recordings. Several members of staff have trained in this and we look forward to filtering it across our four schools.
It is great to have such a wealth of support from SoundStorm and know that they value the arts as much as us music teachers do. The whole SoundStorm team are so passionate and friendly, always open to any ideas or questions I have to ask.
I know that together we can help to build the children’s confidence and skills through music.
If you’re a school in Poole or Bournemouth interested in joining our award-winning Music Hub, get in touch at email@example.com