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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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Classical Road Show Battle of Trafalgar Concert – 16th March 2020


An invitation for primary schools to book their spaces now! Participatory Concert for children aged 7-11 years retelling the story of The Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar is an exciting musical re-enactment of this famous sea battle, featuring the ship’s band (the RPO), Admiral Nelson (David Leonard), ship’s crew (a troupe of dancers) and audience songs for all as the crew of HMS Royal Sovereign. Teresa Collard’s script and lyrics, scrupulously researched for authentic details, excitingly re-creates the events leading to the historic battle, culminating in Nelson’s death and funeral procession.

Classes and choirs from primary schools (7-11 years) to perform alongside:-

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor – Benjamin Pope

Narrator – David Leonard as Admiral Nelson

Date: 16th March 2020 Concerts at 11.15am and 1.30pm (concerts last 1 hour)

Location: Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, Belgravia, London, SW1X 9DQ

How to Book: Booking forms available from Classical road Show website here

For more information email:

Tickets cost: £5 each for children and adults (Hardship fund available to support pupils with financial difficulty)

Classical Road Show provides all the teaching materials for the audience songs to be taught in schools by music specialists or class teachers. Music specially commissioned for performance by primary school children alongside a professional orchestra and an actor. We encourage everyone to dress up as sailors to add to the musical-theatre experience. Everyone in the concert hall takes part throughout the whole performance.



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Online Training Courses for Primary, Secondary & Instrumental Music Teachers







Music Education Solutions has recently expanded its range of online courses for primary, secondary, and instrumental music teachers. Whether you’re looking for planning inspiration, help with the national curriculum, behaviour management tips, or want to develop your understanding around the theory of musical learning, there is something for everyone!

Each course costs £99, is valid for 6 months, and comes with a certificate on completion.

To find out more, visit the Music Education Solutions website. 

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Hackney Scholar of the Month: Shania

This month, we continue with our new feature, Hackney Scholar of the Month, shining a light on some of the amazingly talented young musicians in Hackney. This month we continue with Shania – read her feature and interview below….

Shania first came to HMS’s attention when she joined the Hackney Borough Youth Choir when she was in Year 4.  She was a fantastic singer, and was also we discovered making really good progress as a recorder player in her classroom music lessons at primary school.  She had also started to learn the violin, and by the time she reached Year 6 and was getting ready to move to secondary school, still singing, playing the recorder and also the violin, she was showing all the signs of being a really talented young musician.  She already had a really good basis for learning to play a wind instrument with all her singing and recorder experience, so she tried the oboe out and, as you will see from her interview, the rest is history!


(Photo of Shania featured on the front of the ABRSM’s ‘Libretto’ magazine, taken during her time as a London Music Fund scholar)


What made you decide to play your instrument?

When I was initially presented with the opportunity to play the oboe by Hackney Music Service, I must admit that I didn’t actually know what it was as I had quite a limited knowledge of music at the time. I had been playing the violin for a few years and although I really enjoyed it, I was excited to try something new. I had a “taster” lesson on the oboe and enjoyed it immensely which prompted me to make the decision to start learning it.

What do you love most about it?

I love the fact that the oboe is quite a rare instrument and it is fun to play. It is always a joy to meet other oboists as well.

How often do you practice?

My practise times vary as I am usually very busy, but on average, I practise about 4-5 hours a week.

Do you play in any ensembles – orchestras, bands, in or out of school, or with HMS?

Yes, I play with the Hackney Borough Youth Orchestra and I am in the senior school band at my school.

What has been your most exciting musical experience so far? (any particular performances that you have taken part in that really stand out, or a particular music lesson that really changed things for you)

My most exciting musical experience so far has been the London Symphony Orchestra concert at Trafalgar Square last year. It was a lot of fun to meet other musicians (and oboists) it was also very exciting to play the music with the composer (Kate Whitley) so nearby and invested in the deliverance of the piece. However, I think that my first performance at the Hackney Music Service Gala at the Hackney Empire is what really encouraged me to invest my time in studying music.

What musician would you most like to meet or perform with?

I would love to meet John Clayton.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to listen to / learn more music or even travel back in time to a different musical era, where would you go and why? 

I would travel to New Orleans between 1920-1950’s when Jazz was most popular. Personally, I think that Jazz represents cultural diversity and hope. Despite the stigma surrounding people of colour and the problems happening in the rest of the south during this time period, Jazz continued to develop and change the expectations of what music “has” to be like and who can play it.

How does being a musician / performing music make you feel?

Whenever I finish learning a new piece or whenever I play something well, I feel a sense of accomplishment. With music, you can hear that all of your practice and extra hours are paying off.  When I think back to when I had first started my instrument, and think of the progress that I have made, I feel like I have really achieved something. Music is one of the most liberating forms of expression and it is always interesting to learn about the way that music ties in with the historical context that we are taught at school.

Any words of advice to someone just starting out on their instrument now?

I would advise the person just starting out on their instrument to get involved with as many ensembles and group performances as possible. It is a great opportunity to meet likeminded people, make lasting friendships and learn more about other instruments. I would definitely encourage the individual to continue with their instrument for as long as possible. Music opens so many doorways and it is never boring because there are so many styles, genres and interpretations. Music is freedom, and although it takes a while to master your instrument, it is most definitely worth it.


More about Shania’s story...

After making a cracking start with her oboe playing Shania was originally awarded a scholarship from the Mayor of London (now known as the London Music Fund).  She was also given the chance to put her singing to good use during her time as a Mayor’s Scholar as she was invited to Southwark Cathedral to sing a solo for the Mayor’s Carol Service, which she did absolutely beautifully.  Once graduated from the Mayor of London’s award, it was clear that Shania was fast becoming quite a serious player and was about to start her Music GCSE course.  She received further support, this time from the Mayor of Hackney, to continue with her lessons.  Now in the middle of her Music A Level course at a sixth form in a Hackney school, Shania is receiving some assistance from both the National Youth Arts Trust and also from the fantastic singer and songwriter Kwabs HMS is lucky to have a very special relationship with this extraordinarily talented, generous and resilient young man. Shania is one of a number of Hackney young musicians Kwabs has supported over the last few years.  As a result of this generosity from both Kwabs and the NYAT, Shania now has an oboe of her own and continued support with her oboe tuition this year.



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LSO On Track: Music in the Classroom Programme

LSO On Track 10th Anniversary 05072018
Photo Copyright: Doug Peters
Photographer – Doug Peters
m.07778 358182















LSO On Track brings you – Music in the Classroom is a year-long hands-on programme for Primary teachers and pupils in East London, regardless of musical or teaching experience. Primary school teachers and their pupils will have the opportunity to explore classical music in engaging new ways, develop musical skills, learn hands-on games and warm-ups, work collaboratively, and create and perform group compositions.

Music in the Classroom is open to Primary schools in East London (in the boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest) and is targeted at Key Stage 2 teachers and students. We are unable to offer places to independent schools.

Led by Rachel Leach, LSO Animateur, Julie Sharpe, Teacher trainer, London Symphony Orchestra musicians

For more information please contact Beth Kershaw, LSO On Track Projects Manager, on or 020 7382 2538 or visit the LSO website here.

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New Hackney Scholar of the Month – Eleanor

Welcome to our Monthly Spotlight!

Each month we’ll be shining a spotlight on hard-working talented pupils from across the borough in receipt of awards from a range of different funders. 













‘Never give up and keep trying ‘till you achieve.’ Eleanor

Our January Hackney Scholar of the Month is Eleanor.  Eleanor is a recipient of a Pupil Award for Musical Achievement from the Mayor of Hackney.  Now in its 6th year, the Hackney Mayor’s Music Awards (MMA) is a fund, established by the Mayor of Hackney, to help and support aspiring young musicians to develop their musical skills and also to recognise the quality of the music education offer in Hackney’s schools. 

What made you decide to play your instrument?
I had a chance to try out different instruments when I was at my primary school. I knew I didn’t want to learn the violin, I wanted to try something different.  So I tried a flute and a clarinet.  I found I could make a sound on the clarinet the first time I tried to play it. At that time none of my friends were playing this instrument and it made me feel really proud to be the only one learning.  And I’ve been really enjoying it ever since.
What do you love most about it?
I love that it is an instrument that is easy to play and that you can have a chance of many concerts and activities 
How often do practice?
I practise every day for at least an hour
Do you play in any ensembles – orchestras, bands, in or out of school, or with HMS?
Yes. I rehearse with Hackney Training Orchestra every week and I’m also in my school orchestra and big band
What has been your most exciting musical experience so far?         
My first Hackney Music Service Gala Concert at the Hackney Empire, the Federation Music Festival that I performed in with my primary school at the Round Chapel and now my first Christmas concert at my secondary school.
What musician would you most like to meet or perform with?
I would like to meet Anne-Marie and Beethoven
If you could travel anywhere in the world to listen to / learn more music or even travel back in time to a different musical era, where would you go and why?
I would go to Austria to study more of Mozart because he was an amazing composer that composed many famous songs.
How does being a musician / performing music make you feel?
Performing music makes me feel happy and safe
Any words of advice to someone just starting out on their instrument now?
Never give up and keep trying until you achieve.

Eleanor started learning the clarinet with a Hackney Music Service tutor when she was in primary school and hasn’t looked back since!  She made exceptionally good progress and as a beginner learner, and at the end of Year 6 she passed her ABRSM Grade 4 exam which is a fantastic achievement, particularly for such a young player.  Eleanor is a member of the Hackney Training Orchestra and regularly takes part in HMS concerts such as the annual Gala at the Hackney Empire, and the Schools Music and Dance Festival at the Round Chapel.  And now she is at secondary school she is fully embracing musical life there also as a member of the school orchestra and big band.  Keep up the good work Eleanor!


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