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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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Join the LSSO – London’s premier Youth orchestra












Join the LSSO – Auditions will be held from October 21st 2019

Hailed by Sir Simon Rattle as “an incomparable ambassador for the dynamism and excellence of British youth” the London Schools Symphony Orchestra (LSSO) has for over sixty years been celebrated as a potent symbol of the talents and achievements of London’s finest young musicians. Managed by London’s Centre for Young Musicians, a division of the Guildhall School, the orchestra aims to give its members a complete experience of the orchestral repertoire, from Bach through to Beethoven, Bartok and beyond. 

More information: 

Courses take place during school holidays in Dec/Jan, April and July. Venues for rehearsals take place in SE1. 3 concerts a year held at the Barbican. Course dates and further application forms available on the CYM website –

How to apply?

Applications forms and further information available from Elaine Lewis – 

Centre for Young Musicians (CYM) is a Hackney Music Network Partner. Enquires regarding this opportunity should be directed to CYM via the contact information above. 

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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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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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Urban Artist School – Open for applications






















Urban Artist School’s Level 4 is a course for urban music artists who are serious about entry to the music industry. Our course focuses around the concept of you as an individual artist and supports you in developing your repertoire, recorded catalogue and brand development towards the music industry.

They are looking for talented musicians to join the Urban Artist School – a one year accredited programme, which aims to develop artists and help create sustainable careers. They will support your development to enable you to generate ideas quickly and respond to the creative potential of your work effectively and fluently.

They are looking for talented musicians to join the Urban Artist School – a one year accredited programme, which aims to develop artists and help create sustainable careers. We will support your development to enable you to generate ideas quickly and respond to the creative potential of your work effectively and fluently.

The course starts in September 2019 and runs for 30 weeks. Classes will run over 2.5 days per week. All participants will work towards a level 4 qualification – equivalent to the first year of a degree.  

For more information, please visit the Urban Development website

Run by Urban Development and supported by Arts Council England, The Brit Trust, Youth Makes Music PRS Foundation, Vivendi, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation,

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