True Talent shines at the Maidstone Music Lab - March 2020
For the last few months, Maidstone Music Lab has been taking place every Monday at Harrietsham Village Hall, alongside the regular youth activity led by our friends at Infozone. Music Labs are Kent Music’s creative space for young people aged 8-19 to work on band development, music technology and production, singing and instrumental skills, songwriting and more.
Supported by our awesome Lab leaders, Nick Powling and Josh Magill, the young people taking part in Maidstone have been expanding their musical talents, learning to play and sing a number of different pieces and jamming together each week!
Covering material from Queen to Stormzy, and Lewis Capaldi to Radiohead, our talented youngsters created some stunning arrangements, all of which culminated in a final talent show to the rest of the youth group on Monday 2nd March 2020.
One of the stand-out pieces from the last few weeks was the group’s rendition of Freedom as heard in the film Pitch Perfect 3. Katy, Natalie, Izzie and Jack provided vocals for the track, whilst Josh and Amy played drums and keys for the accompaniment. Have a listen to the amazing finished product below!
Thank you to all the staff at Infozone for their support of this project – we couldn’t have done it without you – and we can’t wait to hear more from our talented members soon.
Disquiet Project: A partnership with Ideas Test 2018 - December 2019
Working in partnership with Ideas Test, Kent Music proudly supported the Disquiet Project which ran in Sittingbourne throughout 2018/19. The project aimed to provide support to young people with an interest in music and attracted a diverse crowd to the free weekly sessions.
Based out of Ideas Test HQ in Sittingbourne High Street, groups of young people at Disquiet were able to form their own bands, write original material and learn a series of popular songs from the world of Rock and Pop to develop skills in song writing and performance under the supervision of the experienced industry professionals of Kent Music. Learning these important skills developed not only musical talents but also relationships; a key ingredient in musical success.
Building on their newfound and developed abilities, and through learning a variety of instrumental and vocal techniques, the project also gave young musicians a chance to record their own songs and perform several shows across Swale as a part of Swale’s Big Music Takeover. Grasping these opportunities with both hands, the groups that formed in the project did everyone proud, and the fruits of their labor can be heard through the links below.
What remains is to wish these fine young people well in their musical journeys; something that all of us at Kent Music and Idea’s Test hope will be long and rewarding!
Three Little Pigs Concerts at Music@Malling Festival - September 2019
On Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th September, twelve primary schools from across Malling and the neighbouring districts performed in concerts as part of the Music@Malling Festival 2019. The concerts followed two weeks of workshops held in each participating school, where the students developed their own short pieces to be inserted into a performance of Paul Patterson’s original composition of The Three Little Pigs.
Under the guidance of Jason Rowland, each school created musical ideas on one of the key themes from the Roald Dahl Revolting Rhymes story of the pigs, including the houses of straw, twigs and bricks, as well as developing on motifs taken directly from Paul Patterson’s score. After their individual workshops, the students continued to rehearse their pieces in school, preparing for their final performances in one of the four concerts. Meanwhile, Jason Rowland masterfully took each of the students’ ideas and created bespoke arrangements for the orchestra, accompanying each of the schools’ new compositions and performances.
The concerts were a fantastic experience for the primary students involved, giving them the chance to perform alongside professional ensemble Chamber Domaine, under the direction of Tom Kemp and Jason Rowland. Narrator Matthew Sharpe helped to animate the story through his lively story-telling, and we were honoured to have Paul Patterson himself present for each of the performances.
Thank you to all of the schools who took part in the workshops and concerts, as well as all of the families who came to support them in their performances.
Valley Invicta Academy Trust Primary Choral Concert - July 2019
On Wednesday 10th July, over 100 children from across four primary schools in the Valley Invicta Academy Trust came together to sing at Aylesford Primary to perform to an audience of almost 200 parents. For many this was their first ever performance and a huge success. The choirs were formed of children in Reception all the way through to Year 6.
The concert was the finale to an annual programme of training with teachers from across the schools provided by Kent Music and led by Karen Hill, a Kent Music tutor who leads music in East Borough Primary School. Karen has been working with the teachers to lead singing in their schools. Singing was accompanied by signing for one song and other groups sang acapella in harmony. The concert climaxed with a joint choral number of Viva la Vida by Coldplay which certainly raised the roof.
On Wednesday 5th July, children from Dymchurch, Greatstone, Brenzett and St Nicholas’ primary schools came together to sing at the Romney Marsh Singing Initiative’s end of year concert to an audience of almost 150 parents.
Each school had its own performance slot and the children came together at the end in one massed choir to sing the final song in their performance. The choirs were comprised of children in KS2 and for many it was the first time they had performed out of school.
Maidstone Primary Orchestra and Choir Day - July 2019
On Tuesday 9th July, 86 primary school children joined us for our annual Maidstone Primary Orchestra and Choir Day. This year we were very kindly hosted by Maidstone Grammar School, and the day was a huge success! Children from Boughton Monchelsea Primary School and Roseacre Junior School spent the day rehearsing under the guidance of Musical Director, Ross Power, and Animateur, Rebecca Baxter, before performing to parents and friends in the afternoon.
The day brought together singers and instrumentalists covering all orchestral families, and clearly demonstrated the dedication of both the students and staff in their preparations over the last couple of months. The concert covered a range of musical styles, with selected pieces from the BBC Ten Pieces repertoire as well as original compositions and arrangements by Ross. The highlights of the performance included a performance of Orff’s O Fortuna (with the children singing in Latin!), and an exciting rendition of Europe’s The Final Countdown as the finale!
In addition to the primary school students, we also had a team of Kent Music staff who supported the students throughout the day, as well as five volunteer students from Maidstone Grammar School who worked with the younger pupils, provided amazing sound and lighting, and demonstrated their own musical talents.
A parent from Roseacre Junior School had this to say about the concert: We would both like to thank you, all the other staff (the enthusiasm of the conductor was so inspiring and infectious) and all the brilliant children for a marvellous concert at the Boys’ Grammar this afternoon! The choice of music, the lighting and the way it was performed by such youngsters was totally enthralling. It is the best school performance we have seen. We did not want it to end! Once again thank you and sincerest congratulations for all your hard work and effort.
The entire day was thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring for the primary school children, but wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work from Ross and Rebecca, the primary school teachers and volunteers who helped throughout the day.
Thank you again to everyone who attended the concert and supported our young musicians. We look forward to seeing many of them in future Kent Music events!
Listen to: Wouldn’t Want it Any Other Way – Ross Power
Tunbridge Wells Primary Schools Orchestra Workshop - June 2019
On Thursday 13th June over 100 primary school children from 8 schools in Tunbridge Wells got together to play in a huge orchestra at the Tunbridge Wells Primary Schools Orchestra Workshop, organised by the Tunbridge Wells Network of Primary School Music Teachers and supported by Kent Music and The Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra.
This annual event, conducted by Yvonne Smith, involves children who have been learning their instrument for over 12 months. For many of them it is the first time they have played in an orchestra. The children were coached in sectionals for brass, woodwind, recorders, tuned percussion, untuned percussion and strings, before becoming one huge ensemble. At the concert to parents they played the 'Enigma Variations' by Edward Elgar, (BBC Ten Pieces arrangement), ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams arranged by Cheryl Hooker-Blake and ‘Rock Around the Clock’ by Bill Haley. Over 150 friends and family came to listen to the concert after which many children stayed on to a ’try-out’ session where prospective pupils could meet peripatetic teachers in various instruments. Many thanks to Kent Music and to The Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra for their help on the day and to St John’s CE Primary School Tunbridge Wells for hosting.
On Tuesday 24 March the 2019 Thanet Festival of Song took place in the grand setting of Margate Winter Gardens. This now well-established annual event draws together pupils from many of the local primary schools for a joint performance which represents the culmination of many months of preparation by each school choir. The theme for 2019 was ‘The Magical Music of Disney’ and the concert saw almost 300 pupils from 17 different schools taking part.
The programme of 11 Disney film classics took in many favourites including ‘The Bare Necessities’ from The Jungle Book and ‘Under the Sea’ from The Little Mermaid, all sung with a precision and commitment which projected the enthusiasm and enjoyment of everyone taking part. Many of the school Music Coordinators took a turn conducting one or more of the songs whilst others provided the live accompaniment as ‘The Legendary House Band’. Music during the interval was performed by Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School Choir. A large and appreciative audience of parents, friends and school staff filled the auditorium and the whole event was a great success.
The primary schools taking part came from across the Thanet area and were Bromstone, Birchington, Chilton, Christchurch, Garlinge, Haddon Dene, Ramsgate Holy Trinity, Holy Trinity and St John’s, Minster, Monkton, Newington, Palm Bay, St Joseph’s, St Laurence, St Nicholas at Wade, St Peter’s and Upton.
On 29 March, 62 children from six primary schools across Maidstone and Malling came together at Roseacre Junior School to perform in this year’s Maidstone Recorder Festival. The children were led by conductor Karen Barton-Holman, and accompanied by 2019’s Maidstone Musician of the Year, Matthew Hua.
As well as the 11 pieces played by all participating schools, the audience were also treated to some fantastic pieces played by individual schools; St Katherine’s Primary School played Hello, Flower!, whilst St Margaret’s Collier Street performed Jump! Kent Youth Recorders also performed two pieces, demonstrating that playing the recorder is not as simple as some may think! Their talent and skill gave the younger children something to aspire to within their own musical development.
In addition to playing the recorder, a number of the pieces also gave the children the opportunity to showcase their singing skills. However, it wasn’t just the children that were singing – the audience were excellent sports by singing and clapping along to If You’re Happy and You Know It, and they even did so voluntarily! Children from St Katherine’s Primary School had this to say about the concert:
"I loved it; it was amazing."
"The older recorder players were really impressive and we enjoyed listening to them."
"It was really fun and nice to play in front of people."
Thank you to Roseacre Junior School for hosting the event, to all the schools for taking part and giving us a wonderful performance, and to all the family and friends who came to support Maidstone’s young musicians.
On Wednesday 13th March, 332 primary school children from 9 different schools and their staff came together for a Beginners’ Recorder Festival at Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School (TWGGS).
Yvonne Smith (Chair of the Tunbridge Wells Group of Primary School Music Teachers) led the afternoon and Suzy Johnson (Music Teacher at TWGGS) provided piano accompaniment alongside a fantastic live band of TWGGS girls who provided the backing music to the afternoon event using flute, violin, cello, viola, drum kit and trumpet. The TWGGS trumpet quartet also performed an outstanding version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
All the music performed at the festival had been memorised and learnt in advance of the afternoon with students only needing to know three notes in order to participate.
Repertoire for the afternoon included recorder favourites such as Razza Sazza and Glory B but also vocal and participation songs such as Tony Chestnut and ‘Jaws was swimming in the sea’ to the well-known Baby Shark song!
The festival was free to children and participating schools. Supported by Kent Music.
A two-day singing festival for around 600 Key Stage 2 primary school children took place in the Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells on Monday February 11th and Tuesday February 12th 2019. This biennial singing festival has been going for nearly 30 years and some parents who came to hear their children sing, took part themselves back in the early nineties.
Children from 12 primary schools around the town sang together five songs and medleys on a theme of ’Songs from the Shows’. Each school also sang its own favourite song from a show including old favourites such as ‘Doe a Deer’ from The Sound of Music, ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ from Mary Poppins and new songs like ‘From Now On’ from The Greatest Showman.
Two concerts took place over the Monday and Tuesday to allow a space for all of the children on the stage. The Mayor and Mayoress of Tunbridge Wells joined parents and friends of the children in the audience on their final performance.
The children were aged between eight and 11 and for many of them this was the first time they had set foot upon a proper stage and sung in a massed choir. They were directed by local musician and teacher, Mrs Elisa Harrod (Director of Music at Rose Hill School) and accompanied by professional pianist Alexander Metcalfe and talented young drummer, Andreas Purse.
Younger children were not left out – there was also an infant singing workshop on both days, also lead by Mrs Harrod, for pupils aged 6 and 7. 550 infants came along to sing fun action songs and rounds which they learnt on the day.
The total number of children from both KS1 and KS2 who took part was approximately 1150.
The event was organised by the Tunbridge Wells Network of Primary School Music Teachers, a voluntary body made up of local music teachers, supported by Kent Music. The main organiser and planner, Mr Peter Cornish, has run this event every time since it began in 1991. The Satellite Rotary Club of Southborough and Pembury help in the preparation of the event and after each evening make a bucket collection in aid of ’Shelterbox’.
Maidstone Music Lab/InfoZone Project - Autumn 2018
For nine weeks, a number of young people attended the Maidstone Music Lab at Infozone. Working with tutors Darren Edney and Paul Richards, they created original songs surrounding themes of lost love, holidays and overcoming adversity. Some of the young people chose to focus on writing lyrics (with some so engaged in the song-writing process that they then took these away to continue working on at home), whilst others focused on developing guitar riffs and chord progressions.
Paul helped the young people to structure their lyrics into song forms, developing verses, choruses and bridge sections. He also guided them in selecting suitable keys, rhythms and tempos to help convey the mood and theme of their songs. Meanwhile, Darren taught a number of the young people how to use the music technology software available, helping them to record their ideas, producing drum patterns, bass loops and layered parts, as well as experimenting with a variety of different effects and production techniques. With some excellent guitar work, extremely catchy lyrics, some trombone and violin work (and even a distorted ukulele!), it became evident after the first few weeks that some fantastic work was being produced.
Aside from Darren’s last few production touches, the final result was four completed original songs, all developed from the young people’s initial ideas and creative thoughts. In the final session, the group listened to one another’s pieces and were incredibly positive in their feedback to one another. Have a listen!
Listen to 'Do it Again'
Listen to 'Stupid One'
Listen to 'Ghosty G'
Listen to 'How Can You'
Rowan, one of the talented guitarists in the group, said: “I enjoy Music Lab because it is like a club where we can create new music in a very relaxed way. I love having so much choice to try different instruments and the sound-tech. I like the fun atmosphere of Music Lab, it’s very friendly. The Music Lab tutors are talented, kind and enthusiastic, they help us do whatever we want to do. They helped me expand the sound of my guitar using effects and they are really good at encouraging teamwork. The other young people I play music with at Music Lab are great, they all have different talents. I have not made music with rappers before and I enjoy doing that now. I am one of the youngest people but I feel I am welcome at Music Lab. I have made new friends and also brought one of my school friends along; he is a beginner musician and he loves it! It is brilliant when our new songs come together. I am ready for more Music Lab. We have only just started and there is lots more potential.”
This project was funded by Safer Kent who work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour across Kent, with support from CSIS.
Thameside Schools Music Association Choral Festival - June 2018
The annual Thameside Schools Music Association (TSMA) Choral Festival took place this year 19, 20 and 25 June 2018. The talented young singer Rose Martin returned to conduct the festival for the second year running. The songs were chosen by Rose and some of the participating teachers and the programme featured a range of partner songs which enabled the pupils to sing in up to four parts with ease.
Thameside Schools Music Association, currently chaired by Rosemary Dymond, has been running a Recorder Festival and a Choral Festival every year since around the 1940s. The organisation is made up of the group of schools who book places on the Recorder and/or Choral Festivals in any given year. The purpose of the TSMA festivals is to bring local young people from many different backgrounds together to enjoy singing and playing in a large ensemble and to enable them to experience performing in large music venues. In 2017, TSMA began organising the festivals in partnership with Kent Music to help ensure that the festivals can continue for years to come.
The rehearsals and performances were held at St George’s Church in the town centre on the 19th and 20th June and in the new Eastgate venue on 25th June. Around 250 pupils took part in the Choral Festival over the three days, representing Cobham Primary School, Shears Green Junior School, Manor Community Primary School, Higham Primary School, Istead Rise Primary School, Shorne C of E Primary School, St Joseph’s Convent Preparatory School, Cecil Road Primary School, Lawn Community Primary School and Painters Ash Primary School. Karen Barton-Holman provided a piano accompaniment and Richard Lock joined the events in the evening to accompany on the double bass.
The pupils and teachers worked hard to learn the songs beforehand before coming together to take part in a day of rehearsals followed by an evening performance to families and invited guests. We were delighted to welcome the Deputy Mayor Cllr Lesley Boycott and her escort Cllr William Lambert to the performance on the 20th June. As well as singing as a massed choir, each school performed their own choice of song. The audience were treated to a wonderful variety of individual school songs including some popular items from The Greatest Showman!
“I think the Choral Festival helps educationally in so many ways. It supports children's ability to sing in large groups, perform to an audience and develop their ability to sing a range of music in a range of genres. It builds their confidence and they absolutely love showcasing their ideas and their abilities in the concert. For children who find learning challenging but excel in the creative arts, it gives them an escapism and a way of showcasing their true abilities and talents and this is incredible.”- Primary school teacher and choir leader
We are now looking forward to next year’s festivals and are continuing to collaborate with local music teachers to gather new ideas and suggestions to develop future events. If you teach the recorder or singing in a school in the Gravesham area and would like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over 130 pupils took part in the Swale Recorder Festival on 22nd May 2018. The event was instigated by the music teachers in the Swale Music Network and was organised by Kent Music in collaboration with Pippa Arden of Highsted Grammar School.
Schools that took part were Highsted Grammar School, Selling C of E Primary School, Minterne Junior School, St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Hartlip Endowed C of E Primary School, Westlands Primary School, Borden C of E Primary School, Regis Manor Primary School, Tunstall C of E Primary School, Grove Park Primary School and Meadowfield School.
The festival was conducted by the talented woodwind specialist Nicky Catterwell who chose a varied programme of pieces including a creative piece where every school had the chance to compose and perform their own section. Nicky happened to go to Highsted as a pupil, so was thrilled to be back in the school leading the festival!
The pupils all learned the pieces beforehand before coming together for the afternoon of rehearsals and a performance to families and guests. As well as playing in the massed ensemble, each school performed an individual item and the audience were treated to some wonderful performances including ‘Eight Days a Week’ and the funky recorder piece ‘Pineapples are Juicy.’ Mark Smith provided a piano accompaniment including some spontaneous improvised lounge jazz while the audience were arriving!
The members of the Highsted recorder group helped out on the day, greeting the primary pupils and supporting the different recorder parts in the ensemble. They were brilliant role models and the primary pupils were inspired by their performance of Danny Boy.
“Thanks for a really enjoyable recorder festival last week. We all really enjoyed it. It was so good for the pupils to play alongside other schools and realise that lots of people play the recorder… The festival certainly had a positive impact on the children and the parents enjoyed it too. It really gave the children something to work towards and a reason for practicing! The compose your own piece was great- nice for each school to have its moment!”- Primary music teacher
We are now looking forward to the joint school events in Swale next year. Please contact Lucy Duff email@example.com with any ideas or to get involved!
Since September 2017, Kent Music have voluntarily run a choir once a month at the Maidstone Stroke Association office at Turkey Mill. Local Stroke volunteer Jill Woodard works alongside Kent Music colleagues Ellen Reynolds and Emma Knight to organise and run a fun choir for stroke survivors.
Ellen plays guitar whilst Emma tinkles the ivories to accompany the 12 -15 singers that regularly attend and have a good laugh along the way. In December 2018, the choir performed lots of Christmas hits to employees on the Turkey Mill estate while enjoying a mince pie or three. Their next performance was on the 2nd May at the Stroke Association office (29 Hollingworth Court, Turkey Mill, Maidstone). This was for the Stroke Association’s ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ event where people had the chance to have their blood pressure checked whilst listening to the choir sing songs such as ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, ‘You’ve Got a Friend’ and traditional Scottish ditty, ‘Loch Lomand’.
Thameside Schools Music Association Recorder Festival - March 2018
The annual Thameside Schools Music Association (TSMA) Recorder Festival, conducted by Karen Barton-Holman, took place this year on 19 and 20 March. TSMA, currently chaired by Rosemary Dymond, has been running a Recorder Festival and a Choral Festival every year since around the 1940s.
The organisation is made up of the group of schools who book places on the Recorder and/or Choral Festivals in any given year. The purpose of the TSMA festivals is to bring local young people from many different backgrounds together to enjoy singing and playing in a large ensemble and to enable them to experience performing in large music venues.
In 2017, TSMA began organising the festivals in partnership with Kent Music to help ensure that the festivals can continue for years to come. The rehearsals and performances were held in the new Eastgate venue for the first time on the 19 March and in St George’s Church in the town centre on the 20 March.
Around 150 pupils took part in the Recorder Festival over the two days, representing Lawn Community Primary School, Gravesend Grammar School, Riverview Infant School, Shears green Junior School, Painters Ash Primary School, Manor Community Primary School, Cecil Road Primary School, Higham Primary School, St John’s Catholic Comprehensive School and St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.
The pupils worked hard to learn their pieces beforehand before coming together to take part in one day of rehearsals followed by evening performances to families and invited guests. We were delighted to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Harold Craske and Mrs Veronica Craske to the performances on both evenings.
Some schools cancelled due to losing rehearsal time during the snow days so we decided to include solo and small group performances on the 19 March. This proved to be really inspiring for the younger pupils, with soloists including grade 8 recorder player Rachel Cox from Kings Rochester, a woodwind quartet from Dartford Grammar School for Girls and Haberdashers’, conducted by Stephanie Jarvis, and Bella Todd from Lawn Community Primary School who performed her first ever solo on the clarinet having only started playing in September!
The enjoyment the young people got from meeting new friends and working with pupils from different schools throughout the rehearsals and performances was plain to see. The infants in particular enjoyed playing jenga and indoor frisbee with the students from Gravesend Grammar School in the lunch hour at Eastgate!
“The Recorder Festival gave the children an opportunity to perform with children from other schools. Being able to perform to a wider audience and in a different setting has increased their self-esteem and confidence. Being able to perform with a Secondary school will give them more confidence with the transition process when moving from primary to Secondary…It was good for the younger children to hear and be inspired by the older children.” - Pauline Goodall, Lawn Community Primary School.
We are now looking forward to this summer’s TSMA Choral Festival on 19th, 20th and 25th June 2018 and are continuing to collaborate with local music teachers to gather new ideas and suggestions to refine future festivals. If you teach the recorder or singing in a school in the Gravesham area and would like to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 15 March 2018, the very first Dartford Primary Schools Orchestra Day took place. The event was held at the Mick Jagger Centre and was organised by Kent Music working in partnership with the Dartford Music School.
The aim was to bring young musicians from across Dartford together to hone their ensemble playing, enhance their enjoyment of musical learning and encourage them to get involved in further ensemble activities in the area.
Over 70 pupils from Dartford Bridge Community Primary School, Holy Trinity C of E Primary School and West Hill Primary Academy took part, supported by young musicians from Dartford Grammar School. The pupils worked hard with their school music teachers to learn their parts beforehand then joined with the other musicians on the day to experience playing the pieces in a large orchestra.
The programme was arranged and conducted by the brilliant Cheryl Hooker-Blake and included popular pieces such as Eye of the Tiger, The Imperial March and Shape of You.
After an afternoon of rehearsals, the pupils performed the pieces to an audience parents and guests who sang along with the ‘We Will Rock You’ encore!
A huge thanks goes out to the music teachers and music coordinators who enabled their pupils to take part, to the young musicians at Dartford Grammar School and to Katie Mills at Dartford Music School.
This March, Maidstone Recorder Festival hosted 55 young musicians from across Maidstone to come together to play 12 fun recorder pieces including ‘Here Comes Treble’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’.
Led by conductor Karen Barton-Holman, they entertained family and friends in an evening concert at Cornwallis Academy. St Katherine’s Primary School treated us to their own two lovely pieces ‘Happy Go lucky’ and ‘Ollie the Collie’ as did St Margaret’s Collier Street with ‘Western Theme’. The wonderful Kent Youth Recorders played two beautiful pieces from their advanced repertoire and inspired the young beginners. The children enjoyed professional accompaniment again this year with our teachers on piano, drums and double bass providing the backing. Audience participation was encouraged throughout, especially for the big hit at the end.. ‘Pizza Hut’!
For 8 weeks, tutors Paul Richards, Ellen Reynolds and producer Drifta worked with the young people at infozone to write songs around the theme ‘growing up’. With many keen lyricists in the group, the first couple of weeks was mainly focused on writing lyrics and forming them into verses.
Paul then worked with the group on structuring chords and what kind of mood (minor/major), tempo and feel they wanted for their songs. Over the remaining weeks the young people learned about adding instrumentals, middle 8 sections and ‘break down’ sections to songs. All of the participants had a chance to help Drifta with the recording of parts using the Logic software. They worked with Drifta and experimented with all kinds of sounds, beats and effects to use to get the sound that they wanted. The feedback from the young people and tutors was 100% positive; 'Doing this has helped with my anxiety and my confidence. I am so proud', ‘The young people have gained more than only music. Group work and working with peers that they wouldn’t normally choose to work with’.
The result (below) is two excellent songs (and EP covers!) that the young people, their youth workers and tutors are all very proud of.
This project was funded by Safer Kent. Safer Kent work to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour across Kent.
Sheppey Matters Friday Night Youth Club - October to November 2017
Over seven weekly sessions from October to November 2017, Kent Music workshop leaders Darren Edney and Nick Powling have worked with the Sheppey Matters Friday Night Youth Club for young people with additional needs, enabling the participants to try out a selection of instruments, play a chord sequence in a band and write and record their own song.
Some of the young people had previous musical experience and already played an instrument, but the majority of the group had never played the instruments on offer before.
For the first four weeks, the room at Sheppey Matters was set out with an electric drum kit, keyboards, acoustic guitars, electric guitar, electric bass, vocal mics, cajon and hand percussion. Each week, after some warm-up games using hand percussion, the young people were invited to try out simple chords and drum beats on instruments of their choice before playing and arranging a chord sequence as a band. As the weeks progressed, the young people started to put some song lyric ideas together which the tutors combined to make a complete song for recording.
During weeks 5 and 6, the young people were invited to record their parts individually for the track. This was a success and all the sounds and instruments you hear on the track are played by the participants. In week 7, the group got together again for one last jam before playing the track to parents and staff and taking home a CD.
The project received 100% positive feedback from the participants, so we are now looking into developing a similar, regular group on Sheppey.
One participant said: ‘My favourite part was new musical instruments and jamming with friends.’ This was wonderful to hear because ‘jamming with friends’ is certainly one of the most fun things to do as a musician and we were delighted that the group were able to have that authentic experience in such a short space of time.
We are very grateful to Elaine Christopher and the Sheppey Matters Youth Club staff for all their helpful advice and support for the project.
We would also like to thank Skillnet Group for their help and advice in the run-up to this project and for allowing us to shadow their inspiring ‘Composed’ project at West Track Studios.
Have a listen to 'Life That's Free'
We’ll show you where we’ve been
Me and the Sheppey team
Living on the road
Far from our abode
Filming all the cars
Going very fast
And all that we have seen
Is now on DVD
We’re living life that’s free
Free for you and me
It all feels so exciting
Faster than grease lightning
We set off in the morning
While everyone’s still yawning
Stop once in a while
Places that make us smile
No cares as we go
Beach or a car show
And when we’ve finished our tour
We’ll go back once more
We’re living life that’s free
Free for you and me
It all feels so exciting
Faster than grease lightning
In September 2017 Kent Music is partnering with Music@Malling through providing tutor and CPD support for the school’s project. The project will consist of creative workshops in schools across the Malling area where KS2 classes will compose music based on Little Red Riding Hood, taken from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.
Following the workshops the schools will perform their compositions alongside professional musicians as part of the Music@Malling festival. These concerts will also include a performance by international chamber orchestra Chamber Domaine of Paul Patterson’s musical adaption of Roald Dahl’s fascinating take on the classic tale.
The Thameside Schools Music Association, chaired by Rosemary Dymond, has been running a Recorder Festival and a Choral Festival every year since around the 1940s. The organisation exists to promote music making in the area as part of and outside of the curriculum. The TSMA festivals bring children together from many different backgrounds to make music together, thus providing community cohesion.
This year, TSMA have begun to work with Kent Music to help ensure that the festivals can continue.
This year’s TSMA Recorder Festival, conducted by Karen Barton, took place on the 25th and 26th April and the Choral Festival, conducted by Rose Martin, took place on the 27th June and 4th July 2017. The events were held in St George’s Church, Gravesend, for the first time which proved to be a cosy venue with wonderful acoustics.
Around 140 pupils took part in the Recorder Festival and 280 pupils in the Choral Festival, representing 12 schools across the Gravesham and Dartford area. Each school took part in one day of rehearsals followed by an evening performance to families and invited guests.
We are now looking forward to next year’s TSMA events and are continuing to collaborate with local music teachers to gather new ideas and suggestions to refine future festivals. If you teach the recorder or singing in a school in the Gravesham/Dartford area and would like to get involved, please contact email@example.com.
Orchestra Play Days in Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells - Summer 2017
Kent Music worked across the Maidstone, Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells districts to bring Primary schools together with music tutors for rehearsals and concerts in Summer 2017.
InfoZone Youth Project - Spring 2017
Kent Music worked with KCC Education and Young People services to create a 7 week music program for members of the Infozone youth project in central Maidstone. Tutors Drifta and Vee ran 7 workshops with the young people focusing on production, song/lyric writing and rapping. The result was a fantastic track called ‘Music is my Saviour’.
Kent Music are currently planning more work with Infozone in partnership with Safer Kent.
Kent Refugee Action Network in Folkestone and Canterbury - 2017
Kent Music tutors worked with Kent Refugee Action Network to deliver a workshop series called 'Musical Routes'.
Bold As - Annual
Bold As is a Deal Festival project, supported by Kent Music, that took place in various primary schools in Deal throughout.
It is an exciting opportunity for young people in East Kent to learn a brass instrument and play creatively in a brass ensemble alongside professional musicians.
The project was also co-ordinated with the MusicPlus sessions which are run in participating schools so that the children receive a planned holistic musical experience over the academic year. Schools taking part included Sandown Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and Aylesham Primary School.
Breaking the Bubble SEN/D Conference - 2015 and 2016
The music education hubs for Brighton & Hove (Sound City), Surrey (Surrey Music Hub) and Kent (Kent Music – formerly Soundhub) worked in partnership to deliver ‘Breaking the Bubble’, a coordinated strategy for music in special schools across the three hub areas.
Devolved from a Drake Music report commissioned by the tri-hub partnership, the project aimed to deliver a strategic programme of workforce and continuing professional development opportunities in order to raise the quality, breadth and sustainability of musical opportunities for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The project concentrated on provision in special school settings and offered music workshops, training and support to create existing and new networks.