This year we can now offer individual lessons in music technology which is an exciting development. These are given by our electric guitar teacher who is not only an experienced song writer himself but also runs a recording studio where he has worked with Thin Lizzy, Polly Paulusma and the Jools Holland bassist Keith Wilkinson. Lessons will cover all areas of music production, including composing, programming, recording, editing and mixing.
We were delighted to welcome Neil Cowlan into school to run a songwriting workshop for Years 8 and 9. As a professional songwriter and session guitarist he was able to give them some really clear and practical guidelines which they then had the chance to try out on GarageBand.
There was a real buzz across the Junior School for the Come & Play Day when children had the opportunity to get up close and personal to a range of musical instruments. Our team of visiting instrumental teachers led small group workshop sessions on guitar, flute, clarinet, sax, drums, violin, cello and electric guitar. Even some staff couldn’t resist the chance to have a go!
‘Macbeth the Musical’ appeared on the Sancton Wood stage in June: written by Shakespeare, amended by Mrs Hayes, songs by Dr Armitage and ably enacted by Years 5&6, who supplied their own techie team to oversee lighting and sound. If you missed it, there is a DVD available from school but you can at least watch the trailer here:
One of the high points of the summer term – an evening of music, drama and art held in Emmanuel United Reformed Church involving Infants, Juniors and Seniors, as well as staff and parents. There was a wide range of solos and group performances, as well as a preview of the Year 5 & 6 production of Macbeth and appearances from Minstrels and Sancton Wood Singers.
We were delighted to welcome a new digital drum kit into school to cater for the growing number of students taking drum lessons. Here’s Finn giving a demo:
The term began with an inspiring electric guitar demo from our new visiting instrumental teacher, Neil Cowlan:
Year 7 were working on call and response melodies over a repeating chord pattern. Here are some of their renditions of ‘Mr Bean’s Tune’:
Year 8 looked at theme & variation and they came up with some lovely alternative takes on well known melodies such as Happy birthday and Twinkle, twinkle little star.
Juniors were treated to a singing workshop led by Lyn Alcantara who is Director of Music at Wolfson College and sings regularly with the BBC Singers. Here’s a taste of what they got up to:
Music inspired by a story provided the focus for the next year 8 composing assignment. After listening to part of Berlioz’s Fantastic Symphony which the composer subtitled ‘Episode in the Life of an Artist’, they read the chilling account of how the monster comes to life in Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. This was the inspiration for their music which you can see performed below:
The focus for Year 8 during the Lent term is programme music – music inspired by art, literature, nature, history or biographical events. After listening to storm music by Beethoven, Rossini and Britten for some inspiration they had a go at their own storm compositions.