Stroke Association Choir - Monthly

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 lduff@kent-music.com.

Dartford Primary Schools Orchestra - March 2018

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.

Dartford Bridge Community Primary School have written about their experience at the Dartford Primary Orchestra Day on their website: http://dartfordbridgecps.com/?p=17199

Recorder Ensemble

Maidstone Recorder Festival - March 2018

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’!

InfoZone Youth Project - Autumn 2017

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.

Listen to 'Everybody Needs Love'

Listen to 'Where We Stand'


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

Music@Malling Red Riding Hood

Music@Malling - September 2017

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.

Thameside Schools Music Association Choral Festival

Thameside Schools Music Association - Summer 2017

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 lduff@kent-music.com.

Sevenoaks Orchestra Day

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.

Maidstone Infozone

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 Logo

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. http://www.surreymusichub.com/breaking-the-bubble/