So far this academic year we have seen the usual busy run of music activity at Betty Layward! As well as the on-going daily class music lessons across the school for every single child and Wednesday music assemblies led by me we also have our regular Wednesday Choir classes for all of KS2 led by star of TV’s Naked Choir and established recording artist Byron Gold, our weekly instrumental lessons for over 100 children and our after school KS2 band and KS2 and KS1 choirs! As if that wasn’t enough see below for some of the additional musical highlights of this year!
Local musician and composer Harvey Brough (from Harvey and the Wallbangers fame!) ran a fabulous workshop and assembly performance with Year 4 children.
Year 5 children are taken on 2 school trips to the South Bank as part of a Voice Lab workshop and performance event working with professional opera singer (and Betty Layward parent!) Suzi Zumpe and performing in the Festival Hall!
I attend the Hackney Music Service Gala event at Hackney Town Hall to witness one of our pupils win the Hackney Mayor’s Instrumental Award AND Betty Layward receive one of the 3 nominations for the Mayor’s Musical Excellence in Education awards!
Term ends with a cracking EYFS/KS1 Nativity and fabulous (and packed out!) Christmas Concert in the theatre space at Stoke Newington School opposite Betty Layward. Parents enter the venue flanked by a violin duet, take their seats and are treated to very Christmassy (I may have made up that word…) class vocal performances, a harp recital of “I’m Walking in the Air” from “The Snowman” and a performance by the school Parent Choir. A great end to the challenges of this first term..
I ran our now annual January KS2 Instrumental Concert with THIRTY-TWO performances by our hugely talented children and a bonus Mozart piano recital by staff member Annie Chou.
After Verity has worked with children on vocal performances a bespoke choir performs in the Young Voices Concert at the 02 Arena! A long but memorable day enjoyed by many.
Term ended with all KS2 children doing their class choir performances of Motown Classics led by Byron and the infamous infant choir “Big Ideas” performing rock classics “Eye of the Tiger” and “Crazy Crazy Nights” with staff rock band “Surviving”!!!!
Year 4 who are studying sound this term were taken on school trip to world-famous recording and rehearsal studios The Premises where they got a tour of the complex and an opportunity to record in the solar-powered recording studio! Here’s the MP3 of Fuchsia Class in the studio paying tribute to Mr Stevie Wonder!
Just to update on what has been happening in general music lessons, for the first half of this term KS2 classes finished off the composing work they focused on for the Spring Term using ICT with the Garage Band software on iPads coming up with music for adverts inspired by my time in the advertising industry. Parents and carers will have an opportunity to hear some of these compositions on the iPads as part of our big summer festival event….
The end of this summer term and year will culminate in our Blastonbury Festival featuring children performing around the school and grounds in the style of a festival. This event will be held in school on June 23rd from 3pm to 5pm. Parents will be able to come at any time between these hours and experience being guided through a “walk-through” festival happening with a variety of solo and ensemble musical performances, face-painting, story-telling and random variety acts.
As if that wasn’t enough we also have the Year 6 show pending more of which will be revealed nearer the time.
NEXT ACADEMIC YEAR
For those parents and carers who take an especially active interest in what we do here at school musically I can tell you we begin our next term with a Big Bang…literally…as we will be part of a 6,000-strong team of children involved in a Guiness World Record attempt at Copperbox Arena in the Olympic Park to bang the drum for street children’s rights with the world’s largest drum lesson for Bang The Drum 2016!!!
Here’s to a great end of this year musically at Betty Layward with exciting times ahead and as always, the facing of new experiences for 2016/17…again.
KS1 and 2 focused on African drumming, EYFS on learning songs and playing instruments, a couple by Ivor Cutler who taught me when I was in Primary School!
Pupils not already learning instruments outside of school or taking up the guitar, violin and woodwind lessons taught peripatetically within school are offered free piano lessons on Mondays – 47 pupils take up the opportunity. See photo!
Byron Gold, our wonderful singing teacher takes over running Junior Choir (aka “Jay-C”) from Verity and continues working on the Music Icons project.
Barney takes over from Mel running infant choir of reception, Y1 and Y2 children – this choir is named “Big Ideas” and starts working towards a performance.
Fuchsia Class get to showcase the learning they experienced in the VoiceLab project from February at The Festival Hall!
Year 5 travel to Shoreditch Town Hall to hear a fabulous performance by Apollo Music Project bringing live classical music to children, taking them on a journey from a first experience of live performance in the classroom to the thrilling spectacle of a full orchestra in concert.
KS2 Pupils are given the opportunity to join Hackney Borough Youth Choir and offered flyers with information on how to join this choir. Registration forms available from Barney. More children take up the opportunities to learn violin, guitar, piano and saxophone in school and all extra-curricular musical activities (of which there are EIGHT per week on top of lessons for every single class from Nursery to Year 6!) continue.
Barney registers Jay-C for Young Voices 2016 – performing in the 02 Arena in February 2016!
With Year 6 time taken up with SATS and then preparing for end-of-year musical Grease, Year 5 join Years 3 &4 to make one school band called “Five Free Thor” (try saying that fast!)
The band work on gelling together on a 12-bar blues with guitars, keyboards drum kit, strings, woodwind and brass!
On May 22nd our singing teacher Byron Gold runs a choir concert with each year group performing songs in a performance titled Musical Icons! See Poster!
I booked the Theatre Space at Stoke Newington School opposite for this fantastic class choir performance of each Year group in Key Stage 2 performing a song medley of classics by Musical Icons and Legends! Byron conducted each year group expertly and we finished off with performers and audience singing it’s half-term Betty Layward to the tune “Hey Jude”!!
Picking up from where the concert above left off, I register Betty Layard for the Hackney Music Festival 2015 at The Round Chapel; the whole of Year 2 are registered for the Hackney Music Festival Infant Concert and begin rehearsing the SIXTEEN (!) songs WITH actions!
Year 5 Saffron Class are registered and begin learning the 12 songs for the Junior Event and Cara’s Dance Group are also registered for the Dance performance. All normal music classes continue except for Year 6 who keep up the work with “those Summer Nahhh-Heightssss!”.
Cara’s Dance Group are absolutely fabulous at the Dance Event at the end of the month and perform brilliantly raising cheers from audience and other performers!
Year 2 do us proud in the Infant performance at the Hackney Music Festival at the Round Chapel remembering all their actions and singing their hearts out! Year 5 Saffron pick up the baton and sang with gusto also in what was a long day but with a rousing performance finishing early evening.
The final push and a Year 6 show to round the academic year off beckons. Grease (as in the elbow sort currently whist they work away at rehearsals!) is most definitely the word!
ll perform at the School Jumble Sale on October 3rd.
Junior Choir and Infant Choir will perform at The Winter Fair on December 12th with other acts tbc nearer the time.