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Smithdon High School

Young musicians join free ensemble

Budding musicians are invited to hone their talents at a series of free musical ensembles taking place across West Norfolk - including one hosted by our school.

Open to all primary school aged students in the region, the only requirement is that attendees have been playing an instrument for at least a term and can play a minimum of four notes.

The scheme is being run by our trust, with the after-school sessions taking place during term time at its four secondary schools: Springwood in Gaywood; St Clement’s in Terrington; Smithdon in Hunstanton and Marshland in West Walton.

“The West Norfolk Academies Trust values music greatly and, indeed, is revolutionising instrumental learning in local primaries through our MITI Musical Instrument Teaching Initiative, with close to 200 primary students now learning across West Norfolk,” said Robin Norman, Director of Music at Springwood.

“However, we believe in the value of ensemble playing for all musicians, so we are now offering free musical ensembles to any primary-aged musicians in the West Norfolk area.

“Each one of the trust’s secondary schools will run the groups during term time, and these will offer the opportunity for the children to come together and play together, creating music and friendships, as well as memories that will last a lifetime.”

The ensembles are expected to have 15 to 20 members and will include brass, woodwind, string, and percussion instruments.

“Each group will be assembled from the students that arrive,” continued Mr Norman. “At Springwood there are separate groups for strings and wind/brass/percussion instruments, whereas in the other schools, it will be a large ensemble with all orchestral instruments together.

“Ensembles will run in all four WNAT secondaries, so youngsters can attend just one, or more if they would like – they could even try for all four!” 

“Each group is run by an experienced and qualified instrumental teacher with assistance from class teachers at the school,” added Mr Norman. “We are also grateful for assistance from the Norfolk Music Hub, who are also helping with some staff.

“Our trust prides itself on valuing the education of the ‘whole child’, not just the academic side, and music helps to teach a range of important life and social skills, such as teamwork, cooperation, time management and the ability to listen.

“Although it is not a major factor, it is also shown to actually improve academic outcomes, as scientific research has shown that playing an instrument is the only activity that uses the whole brain.

“Playing in ensembles like this really takes their musical experience to a new level – and they get to make lots of new friends!”

Contact for more details or to register an interest.