Trinity Laban's music Learning & Participation team are working in partnership with Ark Evelyn Grace Academy to research how cultural organisations can work in partnership with schools to support young people to progress in their music making, funded by Youth Music. We are now at the midway point of our funding and are reflecting on the activity of 2017 to inform activities planned for 2018.
2017 has been a jam-packed year of music making opportunities with Trinity Laban for pupils at EGA.
The year kicked off with a launch where members of staff from Trinity Laban joined pupils, parents and staff from EGA for an afternoon of music-making and discussions about the partnership.
A key part of the partnership has been the development and running of a weekly practice club. The club is run by Trinity Laban staff and is supported by Trinity Laban students and a pastoral lead from the school’s Music Department. The club provides a chance for EGA pupils to practice under the guidance of Trinity Laban students who model practice, help pupils to think about how to use their practice time and how to make the most of their practice diaries. The club runs weekly, afterschool in the school music department.
Animate Experience Day
Animate Orchestra is a young person’s creative orchestra with members from across Greenwich, Southwark, Lambeth and Lewisham. In April, Trinity Laban and EGA hosted an Animate Experience Day, where Animate orchestra members from south London went to EGA for masterclasses with music professionals. EGA pupils who had never taken part in Animate took part in the Experience Day and then were signposted to further opportunities with the orchestra, beyond the school.
Cadogan Hall Concert
Animate Orchestra performed as part of Trinity Laban’s Children and Young People’s Programmes Celebration Event at Cadogan Hall. Following the Animate Experience Day, pupils from EGA progressed to this more advanced tier of the Animate programme and performed at the concert.
Exploring Jazz Improvisation Project
EGA Pupils worked with jazz tutors from Trinity Laban during three days of jazz masterclasses. The project focused on improvisation and the skills needed to be a jazz musician. The masterclasses took place both at the school and at Trinity Laban.
Three EGA pupils were selected and received bursaries to attend Beyond the Dots, a summer school held at Trinity Laban. They took part in a variety of workshops such as creative ensemble work, music tech and song-writing to improve their music making skills.
London Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Trip
EGA pupils and parents visited the Royal Festival Hall for a London Philharmonic Orchestra concert to see a programme of music that included pieces by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. They took part in a workshop before the concert exploring themes and ideas from the concert led by Rachel Leach with two musicians from the LPO.
As part of the two year partnership, the research team from Trinity Laban are carrying out research into progression routes to music training outside of school and the barriers that some young people face in accessing the training. Monitoring and research has been carried out at all the events this year and will continue throughout 2018. Plans for the dissemination are unfolding as the research develops and in response to research findings.
The Head of Music at EGA identified eleven pupils who might be interested in attending Junior Trinity. In December, these pupils took part in a session led by the Junior Trinity Programme Manager about what is involved in studying at Junior Trinity. Prior to the session, the Head of Music had attended a typical Saturday at Junior Trinity to see the programme in action so she could make an informed choice about which of her students to target for the opportunity. On the 27th January, 11 EGA students attended Junior Trinity for a taster day where EGA pupils had individual timetables to experience all that Junior Trinity has to offer. The hugely successful day included observing a voice and piano class, 1:1 lessons, group lessons, Q&A with Junior Trinity students and taking part in Junior Trinity choirs.
It is anticipated that some of the pupils will want to audition in March for entry to Junior Trinity in September 2018.
The project has faced a few challenges so far, beyond those we had initially anticipated. The biggest surprise has been the support needed for the practice club – this has been more than originally anticipated. Whereas we thought the club could be run solely by a rota of students, it became clear from student feedback that we needed more structure and a constant practitioner as part of the club for continuity and to help support the different needs of the Trinity Laban students and EGA pupils. These changes were made quite early on in the partnership and as such the practice club remains integral to the success of the partnership.
Another unanticipated challenge was the impact the summer holidays, and the start of a new school year within the first year of funding. What had been planned as the end of year celebration in reality took place at the end of the first term of a new school year (December 2017) and coincided with many pre planned Christmas musical events. We have therefore moved the first end of year celebration to the Summer term of 2018.
As we move into the second year of the project, there will be a feeling of a slight shift in focus. While we continue to build on the practice club, Animate and jazz projects explored in year 1, year 2 will see a lot more work with Junior Trinity with a focus to prepare young people from EGA to audition and attend the Saturday programme.
Thoughts from the school
“The practice club is very helpful and it really improved my voice and my projection”
“Working on several projects with Trinity Laban has helped me gain an open mind towards the future”
“Working with Trinity Laban has changed my ideas of music making because it made me realise it is possible and there are many things I could add to a song to make it sound good.”
“As a vocalist the practice club tutors have taught me how to open up my voice so I can reach and achieve different keys”
“Year one of the Trinity Laban / Ark Evelyn Grace Academy partnership has been hugely successful and has resulted in many gains for our students. Highlights of the year have been the personal development of a number of students in relation to their confidence as solo performers, via the skills that are consolidated through attendance at the weekly Practice Club. Students enjoy working with ‘specialist’ undergraduates from Trinity Laban, and take on the feedback and guidance that they receive on a weekly basis. Through attendance at Animate Orchestra and the Jazz Improvisation course, we have seen an increased uptake of GCSE and Btec Music, and the profile of Music remains to be high in the Academy. This is in part a result of the promotion of music by Trinity Laban within the Academy and at parent events, and by their general presence in the Academy. Students also benefited from participation in the ‘Beyond the Dots’ Summer School programme, and we have seen a direct impact in the quality of year 11 GCSE Music compositions produced by participants. I look forward to seeing the outcomes for our students of the work between Junior Trinity and Ark Evelyn Grace Academy as we continue into year 2.” - Jenetta Hurst, Head of Music, Ark Evelyn Grace Academy
“I think the practice club being run in partnership with Trinity Laban, has been a positive addition to the musical experience of the students who attend regularly. Apart from the personalized help in addition to the private lessons they may be receiving, the club has taught the students the importance of planning their practice time and working towards specific goals for each practice session. This gives the student a more productive session and instils in them personal responsibility and accountability as they must, themselves, decide what needs to be worked on from one session to another.” - Shaun Stewart, Performing Arts Technician and Practice Club Lead at EGA