• Musical News – June 2024

    Musical June!!

    It is always amazing to be part of performances and celebration at this time of year, showcasing what our musicians are achieving. Saffron Hall is next weekend, along with a Yr 2/3 showcase on Tuesday. Oh, and then 120 exams, and a tour. Our team most certainly go above and beyond to create outstanding opportunities for our musicians. If you see one of us asleep in the corner, don't disturb!!

    I have one favour to ask everyone. Each time you are proud, tell them! Listen to exam pieces, take a moment. We are all very busy in life, but we should not be too busy to support our young musicians and have a listen to celebrate!

    Keep enjoying the music!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Take Note Gospel Workshop

    On Saturday, Take Note hosted a Gospel Workshop for the very first time.

    Kathy McLeish from the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, and her accompanist, Peter, came along and taught Take Note a different way of learning, singing and performing.
    "The experience was brilliant, and just so joyful, I'd love to do it again."

    Click the top right corner for more videos

    Larch Piano Evening

    What a fantastic evening of performances from Mrs Johnson's pianists!

    Each performance was fantastic and students should be so proud of themselves! Performing in front of an audience can be daunting, however, these students made it seem to easy! A massive well done!

    Please watch the videos here -

    Click the top right corner for more videos

    Mrs Iles' Piano Evening

    It was a fantastic evening watching and listening to Mrs Iles' students perform to a small, but supportive audience.

    All performers did brilliantly and have demonstrated how hard they work on their instrument.

    Well done to all.

    Watch the videos here:

    Click the top right corner for more videos

    Guitar Platform Evening

    It was a fantastic evening celebrating Mr Niesyto's students. Each performed brilliantly whether that was in a small group, a duet or a solo. Well done to all!

    Watch the videos here:

    Click the top right corner for more videos

    Rock Gig

    To finish the year of Rock School, we had our summer gig at the Southern Maltings!

    Students performed and played brilliantly, despite the heat! It's really incredible to watch the bands grow in confidence as the year progresses, so we are really excited to see what September holds!

    Please see the full set of dates, including the Rock Gigs for next year here: https://www.simonballe.herts.sch.uk/music/rock-school/

    It has been an amazing year of Rock School, thank you to the staff who dedicate their time to supporting students and bands, and thank you to the students who are committed to rehearsals! All of your hard work pays off!

    Click the top right corner for more videos

    Diploma Performance & Exams

    On Wednesday, 3 Year 13 musicians performed at All Saints' Soundbites. It was an incredible performance and the audience were in awe of what they heard. An incredible professional standard.

    Watch the videos here:

    On Thursday, 4 candidates took their Diploma exams. Diplomas are Conservatoire standard performances that require maturity and outstanding musicianship. We await the results!



    On the Mic - Episode 2

    On the Mic | Episode 2: Lily

    We sat down with Lily to chat about her journey at Simon Balle Music.



  • Musical News – May 2024

    Our incredible musicians

    What is incredible about music at Simon Balle is the enthusiasm and musicality of our students. We have so many musicians wanting to be part of Team Music. Hard work, practice and support from home will ensure that students thrive and achieve their potential. I realise I might have said this many times in the past, but with our busy lives, we need more reminding of this than we used to have.

    Our musicians are at the heart of what we achieve, with your support. We are a team. We need to constantly communicate and ensure each musician is inspired, knowing what their long term musical aims are.

    With so many performances and a tour to come, I know we will have so many more amazing memories that will be made. Together, we can make them incredible memories for life.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music.

    Trinity Rock & Pop Results - March 2024

    Click the image to see the fantastic Rock & Pop exam results! Congratulations to all students!


    Trinity Classical Exam Results - March 2024

    Click the image to see our brilliant Trinity Classical results! Congratulations to all students!


    Larch Celebration of Music!

    A brilliant evening of Larch Music!

    The students demonstrated such high enthusiasm across the evening, and the standard of music they demonstrated was enjoyable to watch!

    From Katy Perry, to Fleetwood Mac to The Sound of Music, there was so much variety to cater to all!

    We are very proud of our students!

    Click the top right hand corner for more videos.

    Rock Gig!

    An incredible Rock Gig last night. Over 200 in attendance, including around 65 performers, the gig is a wonderful example of our amazing school community, From Year 7 to Yr 13, the quality of music and performance on display was an inspiration. Everyone supporting everyone else. The confidence, the inclusiveness, the wow moments, the team work. So much on display from our wonderful musicians.

    We are so proud of the students involved!

    Click the top right hand corner for more videos.

    Wind & Brass: Pop Hits Edition

    An incredible evening with fantastic music from very talented individuals! There was such a variety, including Madness, Taylor Swift, Elton John, The Beatles, and so much more - there really is something for everyone!

    The children were amazing, again, you all work so hard and it really pays off, blown away, again.
    Thank you, having a reason to play your instrument and not just at lesson times makes it so worthwhile.
    Many people around us were also saying how much they enjoy the concert.
    Favourite piece was Candyman, love the jazziness of it.

    Click the top right hand corner for more videos.

    Singing Evening with Ms Kemp

    Another brilliant singing evening with Ms Kemp's students! From musical theatre, to pop, there was something for everyone.

    Students performed brilliantly, with such confidence! Certainly an evening of inspiration.

    Singing in front of an audience is a wildly different to singing in front of one singing teacher, each student did a fantastic job at making it seem so easy and the end result was fantastic! Well done to all!

    The videos can be found here:

    Click the top right hand corner for more videos.

    On the Mic

    Over the next few months, we will be sitting down with students and talking about their musical journey during their time at Simon Balle. It’s an exciting opportunity to get to know more students, while also inspiring others!

    We are calling this little segment 'On the Mic' - make sure you are following us on Instagram to ensure you don't miss any episodes!

    Episode 1


    View this post on Instagram


    A post shared by Simon Balle Music (@simonballemusic)

    What's Coming up?

    Check out our What's On page for the summer term events!

    From piano recitals across the school, to the final Rock Gig!

    What’s On

    Tickets are now on sale, and selling fast! The rehearsal schedule has also been published.

    Click the image for more details and access to tickets!

  • Musical News – March 2024

    Welcome back!

    Being proud of our musicians is a daily occurrence at Simon Balle. Every day they never fail to amaze. Surprises, musical achievements, laughs, great music, amazing stories.

    This is purely as a result of our ethos and hard work. Hard work from the musicians and you at home. Without your help at home, our musicians would achieve nothing. Without you listening to practice, celebrating, coming to performances and taking an interest, the musicians would be nothing.

    Music is a team effort. In every way. When one member lets the team down, the team is affected. It is, above all though, something that requires very hard work. Commitment.

    We live in an age where almost everything is instant, achievable, and gratifying, and if it isn't, there's almost always an easy fix. Not so with learning music. It isn't easy, you have to persevere, and you have many ups and downs along the way. But, it's oh so worth it.

    Enjoy the music. That your children create. With your support.

    Mark Taylor

    Director of Music

    Music Exam Success

    In February, students from Year 4 to Year 12 sat their Trinity Classical exams.

    Preparing for and sitting the exam can be a daunting experience, but students rose to the challenge and their results reflect this!

    87% achieved Merit or Distinction, which is incredible!

    Click the Trinity logo for the results.


    A Celebration of Brass

    On Thursday, Brass players from across both the Primary and Secondary phase came together to showcase what they have been working on!

    It was a brilliant evening with opportunity for inspiration! You can watch it here!


    Last Thursday I performed at the Brass celebration evening in the Brass ensemble. I feel that it came together really well and everyone worked together very hard to produce lots of good music. My highlight of the evening is when I played a solo piece called Lucky to be me. It was such a confidence boosting experience and I am much more comfortable playing on my own in front of an audience.  

    Millie, Year 10

    Click in the top corner for more videos!

    An Evening with the Simon Balle Big Band

    Big Band Evening 2024 was absolutely amazing! To have each and every musician perform at the standard they achieved was incredible.

    The team work, the musicianship, the sense of community, your enjoyment, people coming from far and wide and so much more. Younger musicians watching the older musicians, new musicians joining the experience. These are amazing students performing at such an incredible standard, working so, so hard. Everyone made a huge step up and grew that little bit more.
    It was an utterly brilliant evening, and everyone should be so proud! Please enjoy the videos!

    I played saxophone in Big Band 2 and violin in Senior Strings, accompanying the Big Band. This was my first Big Band Night, and the atmosphere was unlike any concert I'd been in before! The strings contributed to the sound and tone of the more jazzier Big Band pieces so much, I think the strings should do more with the Big Band. With barely any rehearsals, BB2 went smoothly, offering younger musicians a chance to perform in the Big Band Nights. I loved being part of some ensembles and listening to all of the Big Band songs - I can't pick a favorite! The night never seemed to end!

    Holly, Year 8

    Click in the top corner for more videos!

    Year 2 Strings Training Celebration

    Congratulations to our Year 2 String players who have completed their Strings Training Programme!

    On Tuesday evening, our Year 2 String players showcased their achievement to parents, families and their peers with the support from Mrs Johnson and Mrs Nunn.

    Strings is the very beginning of the musical journey in the Larch. Students pick to learn the Cello or the Violin, and begin working towards their Strings Training Programme!

    All Year 2 players have been awarded their certificates, what an incredible achievement! We are really proud of our students!

    You can watch the full celebration evening here:

    Click in the top corner for more videos!

    A Celebration of Singing & Secondary Strings

    A wonderful evening full of music from a variety of ensembles!

    Find our videos here:


    Click in the top corner for more videos!

    A Piano Evening

    Another brilliant evening of music!

    Mr Lovell's students came together for a recital evening in preparation for their upcoming exams.


    Click in the top corner for more videos!

    Our Instagram!

    We are continuously posting updates over on our Instagram - from exam success to concert videos, to photos - follow us for all things Simon Balle Music here!

    We are on Instagram
    It might have been 35 degrees in the heat, but George Clooney was still there!

    What's Coming Up?

    We have so many upcoming events, including our spring term Rock Gig and a Celebration of Wind and Brass.

    All information can be found on our What's On page!

    Save the date! Our end of year celebration at Saffron is Saturday 6th July, keep an eye out for more details on the Saffron page (click the picture).

    Many other events can be found on our What's on page: https://www.simonballe.herts.sch.uk/music/whats-on/


  • Musical News – December 2023

    What an amazing term it has been! Full of music and celebration!

    Thank you for all of the ongoing support - communicating with us, celebrating our concerts, celebrating your students, following along with us on this journey! You are a valued part of Team Music!

    Merry Christmas from Team Music, and we'll see you in 2024 for much more music!

    Secondary Carol Service

    Featuring the Simon Balle Concert Band, Senior Strings, Secondary Choir, Chamber Choir and Saxidentals.

    The Simon Balle Community were lucky to enjoy Carol Services featuring Secondary Musicians this week - what a way to count down to Christmas!

    Secondary musicians performed fantastically, what a way to finish 2023.


    Click in the top right corner for more videos

    Larch Carol Service

    On Tuesday Evening, we enjoyed our Primary Carol Service, featuring the Larch String Orchestra, Larch Wind and Brass Ensemble, Year 2-3 Choir & Year 4-6 Choir.

    It was incredible to see so many Primary students involved and celebrated!

    We look forward to more Larch Music Celebration in 2024!

    Singing Recital Evening

    On Wednesday, we enjoyed performances from Ms Kemp's students!

    It was a brilliant evening of plenty variety from musical theatre to metal to pop!

    Please enjoy the videos here -

    Click in the top right corner for more videos

    Take Note: Winter Celebration

    Take Note held their annual Winter Celebration on Saturday to start off the Christmas period, it was an incredible evening with a variety of music, and of course mince pies!

    To find out more about Take Note - please click here for this link.

    Our Spring Term dates can be found here:

    We are on Instagram
    It might have been 35 degrees in the heat, but George Clooney was still there!
  • Musical News – November 2023

    Wow and wow!!

    At Simon Balle, we are so proud of what our musicians achieve, day after day. We have had so many amazing performances and moments of celebration in recent weeks across all of our music. Increasingly across the country in many schools, music is in decline. At Simon Balle, I am continually reminded what music means to our students, families and community, both in school and in the wider area. Everyone in Team Music is part of this. The recent performances and events have been nothing short of incredible. We have much more to come.

    With Christmas around the corner, so are the Carol Services. Details are below, and please put these in your diaries. They are amazing occasions and this year should be even better! I look forward to seeing many of you there, at All Saints' Church.

    Finally, we are on Instagram, curating pictures and videos to celebrate our amazing musicians. Please follow us, like and share. Why should we keep everything achieved to ourselves?!!


    Enjoy the music. Team Music!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music.


    Update in the Larch Phase

    It has been fantastic to introduce performances in the Larch KS1 Singing Assembly and KS2 Celebration Assembly. Both Secondary and Larch students have been involved, playing as classes enter the hall. This is an excellent platform for the students allowing them the opportunity to showcase some of the super learning, and hard work that has been going on in their instrumental lessons.

    KS1 have also been lucky enough to have a performance from the Year 2-3 choir. They heard 2 songs performed by the choir. 

    As part of the Celebration Assembly, some of our Larch musicians receive a Larch Star certificate. They are nominated by their instrumental teaching or by Mrs Johnson for an excellent performance in assembly. Our Larch Stars for November are:

    Felix WB, Angus M, Felix G, Harry D, Stanley H, Alba W, Emelia M, Alexa T, Jack C, Alec C, Aluna S, Lewis E, Chloe A, Isla J, Marnie W, Mimi T-B, Mason Y, Loris U, Valentina M, Dominic K, Orson B, Isabella C and Evie B! Well done to all


    PIANO DAY 2023

    In November, we celebrated Piano Day! Mr Lovell worked tirelessly to ensure all of his students celebrated Piano Day in one way or another, whether this was a performance in the Library at Lunchtime, a performance as part of his Recital Evening, or a video filmed in lessons. 57 pianists took part during the day. Incredible.

    It was a brilliant occasion, and we look forward to it again next year!

    For now, please enjoy the videos filmed for Piano Day, along with a wonderful variety of performances from the recital evening!



    Click the top corner to see the other videos

    George & Lucas – Bike Blues

    Seren & Sophie – Simplicity

    A Larch Celebration of Music

    Joint Choir Item Under the Sea
    Year 2-3 Choir Sing a Song in Unison
    Year 4-6 Choir Make Your Own Kind of MusicHow far I’ll go - featuring olos from Eva & Toby
    Larch String Orchestra Time to TangoSword Dance

    Drunken Sailor

    Larch Wind & Brass Shake it offShepherd’s Hey

    Brain Stew


    On Thursday, I played the piano at the Celebration of Larch Music. I was slightly nervous as I've never played in front of a crowd on my own before, but I knew I could do it as I practised the piece enough times. My highlight was how proud I felt when I finished playing. It was a great experience and I don't think I'll be as nervous next time!

    Valentina, Year 5

    A Celebration of Singing & Secondary Strings

    On Wednesday, we celebrated our Singing & Secondary Strings.

    There was a variety of performances from James Bond Theme by Senior Strings, Billie Eilish by Chamber Choir and a Hairspray number by Secondary Choir!

    Performing can be a daunting experience, and all the students performing here did exceptionally well! They should be really proud!

    You can watch the videos from the evening here -

    As a member of the cello section in the orchestra, the highlight for me was performing the iconic James Bond theme. Each musician contributed to the symphony of sound, creating an incredible atmosphere. The collective effort of everyone involved made the performance truly remarkable, leaving a lasting impression on both performers and the audience alike.

    Chloe, Year 8


    Click the top corner for the other videos

    I was very nervous on the day. I had a solo in the secondary choir. I sang the first verse in the song ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and I loved the song. I feel it went well and my family told me I did a great job. My favourite part was when I was handed the microphone and I knew I was ready to sing. I was terrified but when it came I was fine and I really enjoyed it and recommend an experience like this.

    Hazel, Year 7

    A Celebration of Wind & Brass

    On Monday, we celebrated Wind & Brass. With performances from Junior Wind Band, Brass Ensemble, Concert Band, Saxidentals and the all new JSAX!

    It was a fantastic evening of music, you can watch the videos here. Well done to everyone.


    Click the top corner for the other videos

    Rock School Live!

    On Tuesday evening, we enjoyed performances from 14 bands! What a variety of songs! All performed to such a high standard! We are so proud of the performers and amazing audience.

    Enjoy the videos here!


    Click the top corner for the other videos

    Big Band at Hertford Lights

    On Friday, the Simon Balle Big Band performed at the Hertford Christmas Gala!

    It is always a brilliant performance, and this year was no different! Thank you to everyone in our community who came to watch and support.


    Secondary Carol Service 2023

    Please click on the below image for more details.

    Larch Carol Service 2023

    Please click the image for more details

    Please check out our What's On page for details of our upcoming events!

    Follow us on Instagram

    We are on Instagram
    It might have been 35 degrees in the heat, but George Clooney was still there!
  • Musical News – September 2023

    Welcome Back!

    The start of a school year is always one of reflection. Those who have left our immediate musical family, those who are moving up, perhaps realising a long held ambition to have 'their turn'.

    It is always amazing how our musicians 'step up'. Take on new challenges, fill gaps in ensembles and adapt to still be part of Team Music. More news on this below, but how our musicians are adapting is brilliant.

    I'm also over the moon with how everyone is embracing Practice Pal Music. Over time, this will make life so much easier for all, bringing together information and learning for our instrumental and vocal lessons. It is early days, but the feedback has been brilliant. Thank you. We will be using more features in the coming weeks.

    I am also working on new projects and musical opportunities across our work. Details to come as I work them out with the team!

    Please have a read of the rest of this newsletter and put the relevant calendar concert dates in your diaries. There is so much going on, so don't miss out!

    Mark Taylor,
    Director of Music

    Ghent 2023

    An incredible time was had by all in Ghent last July, with amazing concerts, amazing team work, an amazing Hertford and international audience and inspirational performances and music. We are booking for next year. I'll leave the pictures to do the talking. What an experience. (the last picture is of the crowd. 90 minutes before, the square was empty due to torrential rain that interrupted our concert.....)

    Celebrating our Musicians!

    In June and July, Team Music enjoyed 6 days of musical exams for students throughout the All-through community, from Year 2 - Year 13 with Trinity Classical, Trinity Rock & Pop and Musical Theatre exams. Well over 200 exams in 6 days.

    Further to this, 8 Year 12 & Year 13 students achieved diplomas:

    DipLCM - Gabriel and Ciara  (piano), Sam Portas (drums), Ada (popular vocals), Patrick and Jacob (classical saxophone),  - Daniil, (Jazz saxophone).

    ALCM - Luke. Saxophone - the music of Charlie Parker. The hardest diploma we have ever had at Simon Balle. We’ve had a few! Luke’s level of musicianship was off the scale.

    As part of these diplomas, our musicians have performed at the most challenging standard for their age. Charlie Parker, Bebop, Dave Weckl, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Philip Glass, french saxophone repertoire and much more. Eight Simon Balle musicians performing at an incredible professional standard.

    It is such an achievement taking a Music Exam, and every student rose to the challenge. We are so proud of them, for some it is the beginning of the musical journey, and for others it is a fantastic way to complete their Simon Balle All-Through Journey. Well done to all.

    Click the image below to see the results!

    Learning a second instrument

    We are putting together a project for students to pick up a second instrument - one that might fill in a gap in our ensembles. In return for an instrument and some lessons getting going, musicians commit to getting involved, weekly. Particularly for pianists, drummers and so on. Music is so much about being with others, taking part. If you are interested, get in touch.

    Enjoy our Past Musical Events from this year below!


    Past Musical Events

    Keep an eye on our What's On page!

    It has important dates for the year.

    What’s On

  • Musical News – July 2023

    Our Magnificent Musical Community!

    The past few weeks have shown how amazing our musical community is. Musicians, staff and families. It is unique, it is special, it is humbling, it is amazing. The images below, one from Saffron Hall, one from Ghent, are examples. In Ghent, thousands enjoyed and celebrated our music, your musicians.

    When you are part of it, you put your heart in it.

    How true.

    Enjoy your summer and 'thank you for the music'.
    Mark Taylor,
    Director of Music

    Saffron Hall 2023

     A unique, special moment in the history of our school that concluded with a standing ovation for Alison. Pictures will be added shortly and one is attached here.
    250 musicians. 500 in the audience. A concert hall literally bouncing with the amazing music that our musicians - students at Simon Balle from Years 2 - 13, plus our adult choir - created.



    At Saffron Hall, I sang three songs with Chamber Choir, which I really enjoyed. Tides was my favourite song to sing; I loved how upbeat and positive it was, and the buzzing atmosphere at Saffron under the stage lights elevated the piece even more. As a whole, I thought the Chamber Choir pieces went really well. Ave Maria was particularly tricky, but singing at Saffron made me feel more confident and excited to sing such fantastic pieces. The highlight of the evening for me has to be singing a solo in When I Grow Up with all the choirs and the Larch orchestra. Especially as I was so nervous, looking behind me to see such a wonderful group of performers made me feel confident and proud to be there. It was an incredibly special moment to sing in front of so many people as part of such an amazing musical community. 
    Sophie, Year 12

    Listen to Saffron here!

    I enjoyed performing in both the Senior Choir and Strings Ensemble for the Simon Balle musical Summer Showcase at Saffron Hall.
    The atmosphere was incredible and seeing the audience enjoy the performances really made the months of practice worth it. 
    Performing When I Grow Up was very special because I first sang this piece when I was in Year 2. It was one of the first times the choirs sang as an all-through. This time at Saffron Hall, I was able to perform as a secondary student alongside Larch. 
    I especially liked the end of the showcase when Mrs Saunders danced bare foot on the stage!
    Everyone was up on their feet joining in. 
    I can’t wait to do it all again!
    Summer, Year 7

    8 Diplomas - University Level recitals

    I am delighted and proud to announce that eight Year 12/13 musicians have achieved a diploma in music.

    DipLCM - Gabriel and Ciara  (piano), Sam Portas (drums), Ada (popular vocals), Patrick and Jacob (classical saxophone),  - Daniil, (Jazz saxophone).

    ALCM - Luke. Saxophone - the music of Charlie Parker. The hardest diploma we have ever had at Simon Balle. We’ve had a few! Luke’s level of musicianship was off the scale.

    As part of these diplomas, our musicians have performed at the most challenging standard for their age. Charlie Parker, Bebop, Dave Weckl, Beethoven, Bach, Debussy, Philip Glass, french saxophone repertoire and much more. Eight Simon Balle musicians performing at an incredible professional standard. I can't state enough the level of achievement for these musicians. What I do know is that they could only have achieved this at Simon Balle - the distinct ethos, the time provided for us to get it right and the inspiration created throughout our work. This is something to shout from the rooftops.

    Music Tour to Ghent

    Our Concert Band, Saxidentals and Big Band have been away on Music Tour! They have performed in a variety of places. from Dunkirk to Ostend to Ghent's main stage!

    This was our first return to Ghent since 2019, so it was brilliant to be back! Please enjoy the videos of our performances:

    A Celebration of Alison Saunders

    On Wednesday, staff gathered to celebrate Mrs Saunders' time at Simon Balle.

    Big Band provided musical entertainment - please see the images >

    It was a lovely way to finish the term and celebrate Alison.

    Goodbye to our Year 13 Ambassadors!

    It is time to say goodbye to our Year 13 Music Ambassadors; Jacob, Luke & Patrick.

    Over the last couple of years, they have assisted many supervised practices, supported numerous Larch musicians in ensembles and set up for countless events.

    They have played a crucial part in Team Music, and we couldn't have done it without them. We are very proud of them!

    We wish them the best of luck in September!

    A Reminder for Larch families!

    Use this link to see our Teaching & Ensemble weeks for next year - https://www.simonballe.herts.sch.uk/music/in-the-larch/

    Please keep a note of these dates. See you in September!


    Thank you for your support this year, we will see you again in September!

    Enjoy our Past Musical Events from this year below!


    Past Musical Events

    Keep an eye on our What's On page!

    We will be updating this, ready for the new year!

    What’s On

  • Musical News – June 2023

    What a musical time!

    Within Simon Balle Music, we try to continually celebrate each individual. With so many musicians performing and playing at the moment, this is quite hard. However, every musician and every family has a story and we are so proud that music is part of the lives of student after student at Simon Balle. I have said it before and I'll say it again, what we have is unique.
    This newsletter is rammed with amazing examples of the work of Team Music - the musicians, those at home and our amazing team in school. It is a huge team effort, and I am so proud of what each and every musician achieves.
    Details of our charges from 1st September 2023 can be found here. I am again proud of the value we provide and how our teachers go the extra mile for each student. It is so amazing that our musical community continues to grow and excel for each musician.
    There is even more music coming up to celebrate before the end of term. We look forward to seeing you at the events!
    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Y8 Minimalism in Class

    Y8 have been learning about Minimalism in Popular Culture. They have listened to a wide range of minimalist pieces, and have composed a piece for one of the following briefs:

    1) Compose a minimalist piece as the opening credits for a Spy Thriller
    2) Compose a minimalist piece to be the Theme Music of a Wildlife Documentary
    3) Compose a minimalist piece for a MacDonald's advert.

    Year 6 & 7 Piano Evening

    On Tuesday, Mrs Iles' and Mr Lovell's Year 6 & 7 students came together to perform what they have been working on in their lessons.

    It was an opportunity to move outside their comfort zone and perform to an audience of families and peers. All students performed brilliantly, and they should be very proud of themselves.

    Watch the performances here:

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Ms Fitch's Singing Evening

    On Wednesday, we enjoyed performances from Ms Fitch's students. From Year 7 all the way to Year 12, it was wonderful to see so many students along with so many families to support. The students should be really proud, their performances were stunning!

    Watch the videos here:

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Year 4, 5 & 6 Strings Celebration

    On Tuesday, we celebrated our Year 4, 5 & 6 String players. They performed solos or in small groups to a live audience filled with familiar faces.

    Performing can be a really daunting experience, but the students did a fantastic job!

    Audio from the Evening

    Year 8 & 9 Piano Evening

    On Tuesday, we enjoyed wonderful performances from our Year 8 & 9 Pianists.

    There was a real variety of pieces, and it was a brilliant opportunity for students to be inspired by other students.

    Performers should be very proud of themselves - well done to all!

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Acoustic Guitar Platform

    On Thursday, our Acoustic Guitar players performed to their families.

    From solos, and duets to ensembles pieces. Really fantastic work, the students should be very proud - well done!

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Rock Gig

    On Tuesday, we had our final Rock Gig of the year, and it was nothing short of spectacular!

    Performances from all of the bands were superb, and demonstrated a high level of musicianship.

    Some of our regular attendees couldn't make it to the gig, however students from other bands stepped up and helped in place of these students. It illustrated the sense of team at Rock School, and it was really special to watch - thank you to those students!

    Well done to all, it was a brilliant evening of performances, and you should all be very proud!


    Rock School returns in September, on Wednesdays after school. If you haven't already signed up, please do so now via this form - https://forms.gle/d66WERNkezBhFKNw7

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Mr Stevenson's Drum Evening

    On Wednesday, we enjoyed performances from Mr Stevenson's drummers!

    Drummers typically tend to be sat at the back of bands, so we think it is important that they are also celebrated individually. It was a brilliant opportunity for students to be able to perform but also a chance for them to see and be inspired by other drummers.

    Well done to all of the performers, it was a fabulous evening!

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Year 2 & 3 Strings & Year 2/3 Choir Showcase

    On Thursday, we celebrated our youngest musicians at Simon Balle All-through School. It was a great opportunity for families to see what our Year 2 & 3 Strings have been working on.

    From Year 2 Strings playing 'Boogie Band', to Year 3 Strings performing solos and duets, to Year 2/3 Choir singing 'Summer Holiday', it was a fantastic evening. Well done to all of our performers!

    Audio from the Evening

    Our end of year celebration: Saffron Sounds is fast approaching, one week to go!

    Information including the rehearsal schedule for the day and frequently asked questions have been posted to the event's page.

    Please click the image below to see details.

  • Musical News – April 2023

    What is a team?

    Saturday's concert of Wind and Brass was a triumph and one that highlighted our musical ethos and routes of progression in so many ways. It was a celebration of how independent practice - hard work, commitment, attention to detail and teamwork can come together and produce such amazing performances. Students throughout our secondary phase performed, some who started learning with us when they were at their primary school. Real all-through learning. Teachers who have spent hours creating bespoke arrangements for their ensembles, so that every musician feels confident in their ability, yet challenged to do even better. Some younger musicians were in the audience, in awe of what they will soon be able to join and be part of. Families, both immediate and extended, in the audience watching their children grow and learn so much. The joy of an evening like this is seeing and hearing pride in the musicians, wanting to be there, wanting to be part of Team Music. Whilst this was only one concert of so many this year, it is one that showcases so much of what we do and why we do it.
    We know that life is about what we, as individuals, achieve. So much that we achieve is part of a team, working in harmony with others. In our music, that is what we do, day after day.
    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    A Celebration of Wind & Brass

    I found the performance exhilarating and exciting to play in. To be in concert band was great as we were able to play many songs. Playing the one kit piece was exciting and the overall night was fun.

    Lucien, Year 10

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Trinity Classical & Jazz Exams

    Before the Easter holidays, some of our students sat their Trinity Classical/Jazz Exams. What an achievement - they should be so proud.

    Click the image to see the results.

    Y5 Theme & Variation

    Year 5 have been learning about Music from the classical era, and have composed their own variations on a well known theme. They have been inspired by Mozart's version of the same piece and have produced some fantastic work, so do have a listen to these examples below composed by Zoe and Rosie, and by Ava and Millie. 

    Coming Up:

    Our annual celebration at Saffron Hall is fast approaching. Full details are on the dedicated page, which we are regularly updating. Tickets are not yet on sale, but will be in mid May. This is a huge an important event, so do please keep checking this page.

    Please use this link to see more details of the day at Saffron Hall


    As always, see our upcoming events on the What's On Page!


    What’s On

  • Musical News – 31st March

    Well done to all

    It has been a busy time. When is it quiet?!
    10 performances, 5 days of music exams, hundreds of musicians performing and in the audiences, thousands of hours of tuition and practice, millions of notes played in performance, a zillion emails sent. So many individual stories of triumph.
    As I reflect, I consider these words: teamwork, quality, resilience, passion, musicality, enjoyment, pride, celebration.
    Each and every performance was completed by our musicians, your young students - those you support and nag. Everyone in Team Music should be full of awe at the quality of music being performed at every level. Everyone in Simon Balle should be proud of the musicians and how they work together.
    There is always more to do, more students to inspire, more amazing music to create. What I know is that when we work together as a team, work together with drive and pride, and put in the practice, amazing things happen.
    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    A Celebration of Singing & Strings!

    In the Strings and Singing concert, I was performing in Chamber Choir, Musical Theatre ensemble and a Musical Theatre trio. My favourite piece I performed was At The Ballet from Chorus Line as it's the best I think I have ever sung in front of an audience and I was able to incorporate my passion for acting as well. I also think that everyone performed incredibly well, it was great to see how many people are involved in the ensembles, especially the string group, and it was a brilliant event to showcase how talented everyone is. I didn’t have one specific highlight but it was so great to see how confident everyone was and to experience such a range of music. Every piece sounded so incredible! It was obvious how hard everyone worked to create such an amazing concert and it was really inspiring for everyone to look up to what they could achieve in the future. 

    Rosie, Year 11


    I was participating in the Strings and Singing event. It was amazing! The atmosphere was joyful, and every song sounded great. My favourite part about it was taking part in the Senior Strings and playing Fawkes the Phoenix.

    Summer, Year 7

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Herts & Ware Music Festival - "Esther"

    Earlier this month we took the Larch Senior Choir to perform at the Herts and Ware Music Festival in the Ware Drill Hall. The children took part in a production called Esther which was composed by the local composer Paul Burrell and they performed in a chorus of over 150 children from different primary schools in the area. The production was a roaring success and the children made us hugely proud of them from start to finish with their fantastic singing and professionalism. There were also outstanding individual performances from Zach and Archie who had major roles in the production.

    In my performance of Paul Burrell’s Cantata ‘Esther’, I played the role of Mordecai with a dozen other actors around my age. We had all learnt our lines, our solo songs and our roles in the play. In my opinion, Esther was an absolutely amazing masterpiece and I am looking forward to what Mr Burrell will do next!

    Archie, Year 5



    The character I played is an arrogant King called Xerxes. I find that playing him was quite fun because I loved being quite royal and how much expression I had to show. I really enjoyed every single part of being Xerxes.

    I think the cast were really good performers at there roles as they showed so much expression during the 2 nights. I think that they were really nice and welcoming when Archie and I came as we didn’t know anyone. They were really good actors and I think they should perform again.

    Zach, Year 6

    Trinity Rock & Pop Exams

    Earlier this month, some of our students sat their Trinity Rock & Pop Exams. What an achievement - they should be so proud.

    Click the image to see the results.

    Music Medals

    In the primary phase, our younger musicians have been taking their music medals!

    • Hattie, Annie, Xander and Summer passed their silver violin medals.
    • Sofia, Olivia, Rosie, Marlee, Seb, Max, William and Chloe passed their copper medals.
    • Rosa, Beau, Isabella, Ava, Isla and Eloise passed their bronze medals.
    • Evie, Marnie, Renae and Freya passed their copper medals.
    • Loris passed his copper medal on bassoon and his bronze medal on flute.

    Congratulations to you all!


    A Celebration of Larch Music

    Well done to everyone for the amazing primary music celebration earlier this month. It was a triumph, with over 100 musicians involved. The quality of music performed and celebration from the audience was amazing. Music is most certainly alive in the Larch!

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Rock Gig

    Rock School is a fabulous part of our work and rehearses on a Tuesday. 55 musicians work in bands bringing together music they have selected and students learn how to work in teams - the bands, support each other and grow in confidence. It was a superb community at the gig this week where the standard of performance was an inspiration. Congratulations to everyone who performed, and thank you to everyone who came as audience. Without an audience, the gigs and concerts are nothing!!

    Videos from the Evening- click the top right hand corner to see the whole playlist

    Coming Up:

    As always, see our upcoming events on the What's On Page!


    What’s On