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PGCert Performance Teaching – 50% discount to all Hackney teachers.

This year Guildhall offering a 50% discount to all Hackney teachers. The time commitment is 13 days of face-to-face workshops, plus online learning and self-directed study. The workshops are generally at weekends, mostly coinciding with half terms and holidays.

Who is it for?

The course is designed to support professional musicians, actors, production artists and dancers who teach as part of their practice as performers either as their main employment or as part of a portfolio career. It offers a unique opportunity to develop creative and reflective practice in teaching performing arts.

There are two pathways: PGCert and PGCert (HE). If you already have appropriate experience of teaching at HE level you may have the option of taking the PGCert (HE) pathway which will lead to additional professional recognition – Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. In order to be eligible for the PGCert (HE) pathway, you need to be able to draw on at least 50-60 hours of authentic HE Learning & Teaching practice whilst doing the course.


25th March closing date for applications to the Guildhall School’s PGCert in Performance Teaching.

Further Information   

Further details are on the website (, including a short video from our Open Evening. Additionally, if you’d like to find out more please email


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Alter Ego Auditions – January 25th, Hackney Empire

Back by popular demand! East London’s biggest talent showcase returns and with it comes your chance to be chosen as the winner of Alter Ego 2020!

Whatever your talent, we want to see it!

Previous finalists performed alongside Yxng Bane, Krept and Konan, Lady Leshurr, Rudimental, Big Tobz, Misha B, Paigey Cakey, Ghetts, Sneakbo and many more… But you have to be in it to win it – for your chance to perform in front of over a thousand people, in a lineup with some major headline acts, come down to Hackney Empire and audition for Alter Ego 2020.

Your time is now. Don’t waste it.


Auditions Date: Sat 25 Jan 10am–6pm, Hackney Empire – Empire Two

Applicants must be aged 13-19.

To book your audition contact or 020 8985 2424. (Mon – Sat 10am- 6pm)

Finalists will be mentored by top industry professionals -they then will perform alongside headline acts in front of over a thousand people at the Alter Ego 2019 Final, Fri 21 Feb at Hackney Empire. 

Watch this space for more information on the shows line up and on sale date.

Hackney Empire is a Hackney Music Network Partner. All enquires about this opportunity should be directed to the Hackney Empire Directly – visit the Hackney Empire Website Here

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New ensemble launching in 2020…Hackney Junior Jazz Ensemble












We are pleased to announce that next term we will be launching a NEW and exciting ensemble – the Hackney Junior Jazz Ensemble (HJJE) for young musicians of Grade 2 and above standard looking for the experience of playing in a jazz group!

HJJE will be a cross-phase ensemble, open to Primary Yr5+ pupils as well as secondary players.  We anticipate a wide range of opportunities for musicians in the ensemble, as well as progression to the Hackney Creative Jazz Ensemble.

The group accommodates any instrument – we welcome drummers/percussionists, guitars/basses, keys as well as strings/wind and brass, tuned percussion are also warmly welcomed!

This new ensemble follows the success of our long-established Hackney Creative Jazz Ensemble (HCJE). HCJE regularly perform at venues such as the Vortex and the Hackney Empire and is aimed at minimum Grade 5 standard (Yr7+) players.  We are delighted that we are now able to additionally set up a feeder ensemble to nurture musicians from a younger age interested in exploring jazz.

HCJE Manager Oliver Crooke says:

‘We are excited to be launching this new ensemble in January 2020 which expands the range of opportunities we are able to offer young musicians across Hackney”

HJJE will rehearse at City Academy on Wednesdays 4.30 – 6pm, directly before the Senior Ensemble. Like HCJE, the ensemble will be coached by a team of professional musicians including a rotation of different instrumentalists in order that all the different sections of the group are supported well.

To find out more about HJJE, as well as our other ensemble opportunities, please visit HMS ensemble page, here

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Sing Every Day












Photo credit – Andrew Wilkinson Photography

In 2019 Hackney Music Service Network Partner the VOCES8 Foundation led a special project with year 1 children and their teachers at Shoreditch Park Primary and Thomas Fairchild Community School. Called Sing Every Day, the project involved teacher training for the classroom teachers and singing workshops for the children led by members of the a cappella group Apollo5. Below, Ann Wright, Director of Education, VOCES8 Foundation reflects upon the project.

The children and teachers learned a variety of warm-ups for their bodies, brains and voices that included creating a magic potion, Peanut the cat on a trampoline and singing I’m alive, alert, awake enthusiastic. They also learned rhythms and melodies from the VOCES8 Method and explored body and vocal percussion through this Method.

Both schools learned a wide variety of songs to use as part of lessons (Mr Double Trouble for Maths was a favourite at Shoreditch Park); to perform in assemblies including One in a million by Emily Barden which celebrates the power of working together to achieve our dreams; and to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing including Apollo5’s arrangement of When you Wish Upon a Star which the children performed at the VOCES8 Centre in concert with Apollo5.

The project was evaluated by Professor Graham Welch and a team of researchers from UCL. Their findings point to the wonderful way in which the classroom teachers embraced the project learning to lead singing confidently and use it every day. The children’s singing improved significantly and at the end of the project scored well above a national database of singing evaluations conducted in UK schools. Additional wider benefits of the project include a positive correlation between the children’s singing development and aspects of executive function, particularly their phonological working memory.

You can see and hear the children and their teachers in this short film about the project:

For more information, about VOCES8 Foundation please visit their website here

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Hackney Music Service: Music Tutor Spotlight….Uchenna Ngwe

This month we are kicking off a new feature shining a light on our dedicated team of music tutors working across Hackney both in schools and our collaborative projects. This month we begin with Uchenna Ngwe who began her work in Hackney 12 years ago as a classroom music teacher, and now works across a range of HMS projects and ensembles.











How did you come to choose the instrument(s) you play or did it/they choose you?

I was on the waiting list for piano lessons at school; I choose something else to play while I waited. I’d played the violin for a bit but didn’t get on with it, so I ended up choosing the oboe from a book, after reading it was the one that played the theme tune to Emmerdale Farm!

What do you enjoy most about playing your instrument(s)?

Lots of opportunities for solos! It’s great not having to play the same part as everyone else. As well as working together in a section, you also get a lot more autonomy within the solo sections in the music you play. The oboe has a wider range of music than most people expect from the instrument, which is important to demonstrate.

What do you find most challenging about playing your instrument?

One of the most challenging things is having to know so much about reeds and how to make them! Even if you don’t play on your own reeds, you still need to know how to make them so they’re playable for you personally. They also break really easily! It’s part of knowing the instrument. Also, it surprised me how quickly your muscles feel tired after having a day off, taking a break, or holiday – it always takes a while to build the strength back up.

What do you enjoy most about teaching in Hackney?

I first came to hackney and HMS as a classroom music teacher about 12 years ago and it’s still a great place to work! Everyone is so friendly – students, teachers and everyone in the Music Service office. Outside of the classroom, I work across a range of HMS projects – I work regularly with our Classical Meets Jazz ensemble, and Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra and sometimes with the Hackney Training Orchestra. It’s fantastic to work with such a diverse and talented range of young people from across Hackney.

What’s your all-time favourite gig? (either played in or been to)

My favourite gig that I’ve been to was seeing Stevie Wonder at British Summer Time in Hyde Park a few years ago. It was a great place to see one of my favourite artists. As the gig was in a park rather than a gig venue, everyone had space to dance and enjoy his music.

What kind of music do you listen to most? 

No idea how to answer this question! I listen to loads of different styles of music for work and for fun. I’m at home doing admin and practising today so my Spotify list has included Todrick Hall, James Blake, Stevie Wonder, Julia Holter, Anderson.Paak and the whole of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. I often listen to different things according to what I’m doing at the time. If I’m working or studying at home, I can’t listen to anything with words. But if I’m doing my accounts anything this fine!

What advice would you give to a student on developing their playing?

Practice! I know every teacher will probably say this but it’s important to know how to practice as well. Playing through your pieces loads of times the night before your lesson doesn’t count. It’s really important to focus on the most challenging bits and work on them slowly.

More about Uchenna:

Outside of HMS, Uchenna has been working on an incredibly varied range of projects, both as a performer and educator. As part of her current PhD research, Uchenna has established plainsightSOUND, a research project exploring the participation and contributions of people of Black British, African and Caribbean heritage in British classical music before the mid-20th century. In addition, she also runs the Decus Ensemble, a flexible and diverse group of professional classical musicians who work together to promote the works of less well-known composers throughout classical music history, for a range of instruments. You can also watch Uchenna’s 2016 TedX talk, Labels and pigeonholes: how to avoid peoples limiting expectations here.


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Hackney Music Education Conference 2019












Hackney Music Service will be holding its annual music education conference on Friday 13th September 2019 at the Tomlinson Centre. This exciting day-long event will focus on Embedding Inclusive Practice in music education.  The day will include keynote speakers, practical music-making and workshops, presentations from project partners and Hackney headteachers and music leads, panel discussions and networking opportunities. 


Speakers and contributors include:

  • Dr Phil Mullen: Key Note Speaker – in this session Phil will discuss what inclusion is, how important it is for developing a non-discriminatory society, and will provide a number of practical insights for making your work more inclusive. He will focus on key ideas in inclusive education, who children in challenging circumstances are and how we can help them be more included, having an emotionally intelligent approach and the importance of reflecting on our practice. He will also look at a number of practical strategies to make the school classroom or music workshop a more inclusive place.  Phil will also deliver a Creative Music Making Workshop during the day. 
  • Sarah Bailey: Hackney Head Teacher at Queensbridge Primary School and OFSTED Inspector – What ‘inclusion’ means in a diverse school community; Wellbeing; Why music is so important and why (despite budget cuts) Queensbridge have ring-fenced and fundraised to keep music a priority; Implications for Music and the Arts under the New OFSTED framework.


  • Mark Malcom & Liz Jones: School Principal and Head of Music at The City Academy, Hackney – Excellent Practice in the Secondary Sector: ensuring that all pupils receive and access a broad and balanced curriculum offer in music and beyond; the positive impact of music and the arts on the whole school.


  • Professor Graham Welch (UCL Institute of Education) & Ann Wright Education Director (VCM Foundation) – Year 1 Vocal Research Project.


  • HMDT Music – Music Treehouse SEND Project


  • A New Direction: Artsmark – information about the Artsmark process, how Artsmark can positively impact your school and can be used as a tool to support school improvement


  • Bad Laydee: Words NOT Weapons – Bad Lay-Dee’s ‘Words NOT Weapons’ music and poetry workshops have been designed to inspire children and young people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop confidence, self-esteem and communication skills through creative writing and performance. Since launching the workshops in October 2018, she has taught nearly 2,500 children with 100% positive feedback. Through practical exercises and discussions, this one-hour session will explore some of the techniques used in Bad Lay-Dee’s Music Workshops and how we can work together as music practitioners to develop new approaches that help make a difference to young people’s lives.


  • Kate Shortt: BSL Sign Language Vocal Workshop
  • Vahan Salorian: Whole Class Ukulele Workshop
  • Dorico Software: Music Technology Workshop


How to book your place? 

The conference is targeted at headteachers, subject leaders of music and the arts in both primary and secondary settings, all general class teachers involved in delivering the music curriculum, teachers from SEND settings, school governors, instrumental tutors, and network partners. Essentially, anyone who has an interest in music education and education in Hackney. Please note priority places will be given to Hackney delegates.

The conference is free of charge to attend, but you must register! To book your place, visit our Eventbrite page hereFor further information please contact Xanthe Sarr at Hackney Music Service on 0203 076 1535, or by email at

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