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09 June 2021

The Power of Music and the Joy of Creativity

The Power of Music and the Joy of Creativity

 

On Thursday 17 May and Thursday 10 June, I had the great pleasure of attending the music concerts for Year One and Year Two, and Year Three and Year Four, which were truly outstanding. Watching the children perform I saw genuine excitement and real joy in what they were doing. They were all engaged and focused on their performance whilst demonstrating a strong desire to get things right. It reinforces the importance of music as a means to be creative, an effective way to express emotions as well as being a good activity in itself. It is something that requires discipline and hard work in order to be successful and brings people together. 

The school has invested in drama and music echoing the desire of its founder, June Hampshire, in 1928, for the arts to be an integral part of its curriculum.  Her daughter is the celebrated actor, Susan Hampshire, after whom our current music and drama room is named. Three years ago, time allocation for music was close to one quarter of our current provision. Today, all pupils have ninety minutes of class music and drama per week, and the opportunity to study up to two further instruments from Year One with one of our ten visiting music teachers. Instrumental take-up is consistently at 50% and children are encouraged to bring their instruments to class lessons. 

The school calendar is packed with opportunities for participation by every child. Morning performances in our weekly assembly are a staple item and concert events number over 20, from smaller, intimate affairs organised by peripatetic staff to external trips and end-of-year collaborative summer concerts. Every child performs publicly on their studied instrument at least once a year. The newly formed choir made its debut performance at the Bellevue Music Festival in March 2020, and the freshly created Senior Band is a Carol Concert feature. Rewinding back to October, djembe drumming sounds filled the air for UN Day. In drama, aside from Year 5-8 The Jungle Book rehearsals and extensive nativities, there was the virtual rendition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with excerpts featuring pupils from Years One, Five, Seven and Eight and Poetry Day, judged by Tom Foolery, as stand out highlights.

Literacy links with music are strongly encouraged. It is lovely to see our children speaking and reading poetry with confidence. English Speaking Board aims are embedded in drama planning from Year Two to Year Eight, and in Year Two initial findings of an internal case study suggest simultaneously sight-reading Kodály rhythms and words impact reading fluency by as much as 20%. 

One of the school’s keenest singers, who has also just been signed with a professional acting agent, was asked to summarise the music and drama departments in three words. They said: “Educational, inspiring, fun!”

The profile of music did not diminish during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Weekly instrumental, singing and music lessons continued online with the expertise of our teaching and peripatetic staff. 

“Sitting here at home, I just realised - I can sing!” declared one Year 7 boy, in his weekly virtual class singing lesson. 

Indeed, there has been a growing vibrancy, energy and diversity in the creative arts this academic year as shown by the projects completed by pupils at home. Reception started sending in photos of their bottle maracas and homemade string instruments made of tissue boxes, and numerous videos, monologues and drama projects started to flood in from all year groups.  

 

So, congratulations to everyone who took part in the recent music concerts and for their efforts in all areas of the performance arts curricular. I thank the teachers behind the musicians, and of course a huge thank you to all parents who support the children so admirably. 

The next highlight on the musical calendar is the Year Five – Year Eight Music Concert schedule for 24 June. It is going to be an impressive event and I look forward to welcoming parents onsite or via the virtual link. 

 

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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077
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