• Musical News – September 2022

    Welcome back to Music!

    Welcome to the term!
    Secondary music lessons and ensembles all start back next week (from 12th September). In the Larch, existing learners resume lessons next week and choirs, ensembles and beginners start the following week.
    Starting a year always brings lots of information. You will see article about our new links page, below. We are trying to streamline things and make navigating all the information easier. Below also is the link to the 'What's On' page.
    Welcome as well to all our new families joining Team Music. I am sure you will have lots of questions, so do email them in. We are reminding everyone about their first lesson, the time and what to do.
    It has also been a summer of celebration - a diploma for Max, exam results and musical theatre results. Well done to everyone. It was also lovely to hear about and see so many Simon Balle Musicians, past and present attending or performing at the Musical Mystery Tour in Hertford at the end of last month. Fabulous.
    Have a great musical term!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Congratulations!

    Congratulations to Max B! Before summer, Max took his Diploma in Performance from the London College of Music, in Drums. We are very proud! It was a fantastic way for Max to finish his career at Simon Balle, and what an achievement it is!

     

    Congratulations to our Musical Theatre Candidates, who all achieved brilliant results in their exams. Well done to: Evie A, Darcey G, Evie J, Sophie G, Jess S, Kitty F, Lauren B and Sophie G!

    Music Lessons - Our New System

    Introducing our 'Links' page. We have put all the relevant information in one place, which should answer any questions!

    The 'Links' page allows easy access to weekly timetables, larch lessons, our what's on page.

    We are asking students to check this link each Friday, ahead of their music lesson the following week.

    Scan the QR code below, or check out the link here; https://www.simonballe.herts.sch.uk/music/links/

    Our Musical Heritage

    What's On

    We already have dates for you to put in your diary! Have a look at our 'What's On' page for our upcoming events!

    What’s On

  • Our Rich Musical Heritage

    Our rich musical heritage is the foundation for the future

    Simon Balle has a rich musical heritage. Students have come through our school and left as musicians for life, taking their music in whatever form that means, with them. We are proud that we help create ‘lifelong musicians’. 

    Music - the experiences gained, the friends made, the lessons learnt, the commitment shown - has helped so many of our students achieve so much in later life. Students have gone on to be professional musicians, often working in the West End. Others have performed on cruise ships, toured the world, become a DJ, performed at Glastonbury and the Isle of Wight Festival, or moved into the world of performing in the chorus or as a soloist. Students have taken their musical training to the Guildhall, Trinity, Royal College, Royal Academy and  conservatoires in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Glasgow. Some have gone to popular music courses at BIMM or ICMP. We have helped create jazz musicians, opera performers, session musicians, singer-songwriters, musical theatre performers and actors who have performed at the best venues in the country and beyond. Many have gone on to study music at university, opening doors to new experiences and a continued passion for what they love. Several have joined the Forces bands and performed at the Trooping of the Colour as well as events at Windsor Castle and elsewhere. One former student has sold out venues across the UK and beyond, including the Royal Albert Hall.

    Other students have taken music with them in the next stage of their life. They might not be studying music, but they are continuing their music - in bands, orchestras and choirs. They go to university quite often as a student with musical experiences that are the envy of others. Friendships formed through music at school continue at University and beyond. They know how to work as a team, perform to the highest standard, and tell of what they have achieved. Sometimes, music and the experiences gained helps our students achieve places at the top universities, for they can talk about the discipline, the rigour and the achievements. At one time we had three former students in the University of East Anglia Big Band at the same time. Supporting our students to achieve these incredible next steps in life is something we are immensely proud of. We have experience of supporting students to become Cambridge Choral Scholars. It is fantastic when former students and families stay in touch and update us with how they are getting on, even many years later. They talk enthusiastically and so often about how they are still making music and remembering their time in concerts and rehearsals at school. They are the students who are part of this heritage - musicians who might have performed in Ghent, at Disneyland, or at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Birmingham Conservatoire or at the Royal Albert Hall.

    Why does this matter? A rich musical heritage is a foundation for the future of our music at Simon Balle. Our current musicians are treading in the footsteps of so many who have helped create the music we have today. They are learning in the same musical environment as those who have gone before them, being just as inspired as our alumni. Our values of hard work, commitment, teamwork and high expectations continue to drive what we do. As some prepare to start the next stage of their musical life, some continue to progress and thrive in rehearsals. Others are just starting out on their musical journey, looking up to those who go before them. Always, it is the individual we strive to support, helping them to achieve the best they can. Our beliefs are built on the experience we have of supporting so many, working with families and helping inspire those we work with. The best results are achieved when we all go in the same direction - that is what we have learnt from our musical experiences of the past.

    We have so many musicians throughout our all-through school who love and experience music every day. Just as those before them did, they wait in anticipation to perform, they are nagged about the practice required, they laugh and make music with others. They are part of the same ensembles that so many over the years have been in. Just as those before them did, they achieve so much.

    Our music for the future is driven by experiences of the past. Those treading in the footsteps of others should be inspired by what has been achieved and what they can achieve in the future. What is most important though is that everyone, past, present and future, is part of Team Music.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    (It was great fun looking back over some of the photos we have to create the image at the top).

  • Edinburgh 2022

    A music tour to Edinburgh. Somewhere I have not visited for so many years. Where would we perform, what is the hostel like, who is going? Everyone in Team Music knows how important the music tour is, and we had to get this important milestone in the music calendar back on track. 3 nights and two full days up in Scotland.

    The tour was a triumph. Lots of walking and lots of hills, but also lots of fun. Families from Hertford joined us in numbers and the musicians performed two fantastic concerts. The acoustic of St Giles Cathedral was fabulous and the huge audience there loved what they heard. The Ross Bandstand always promised to be excellent if the rain held off. Despite the threats, it did. As the music started, the audience joined us, listening from far and wide, including up in Princess Street. Outdoor concerts are always fun and this was no exception.

    Yes, we are there for the concerts. We are also there for the friendships. The team building, the chance to spend more time together. Three activities for the three evenings and they were brilliant. The smiles, the cheering, the supporting, the joining in. For some, this was way out of their comfort zone, but they got on with it. They enjoyed it!

    It was also brilliant that two music alumni rearranged their days to come and visit us and watch concerts. Lizzie and Alex, both currently living in Scotland came over and it was a fabulous surprise to see them.

    A music tour like this means so much to so many. Over the years, hundreds of memories have been created, not only for the musicians, but to wider families. Grandparents came to watch, families came to celebrate. Pride could be seen and heard all around. This is all part of the Team Music experience.

    Of course for some, this was the end of a 7 year journey. The realisation that 'that is it'. For the families of those who are leaving, a lump in the throat. The end of an era. Personally, I will never get used to that moment, and nor should I. Education is about the students, creating tomorrow's citizens today. Music is and should always be a huge part of that. You can't bottle what these experiences teach you. For so many, music is a massive part of who they are.

    Thank you to everyone. If you were not able to be there, have a look at everything below. If you were there, thank you. We had a blast and the students were amazing. Team Music. A brilliant community.

    Finally, a true anecdote. A parent was talking to someone who was listening to the Ross Bandstand concert. They were in Edinburgh for the Jazz Festival where they were performing. They had heard of Simon Balle Music. Where did they live? Belgium. 'Oh', said the parent. 'Simon Balle have performed at the Ghent Music Festival'. 'That's it' said the visitor. 'I've seen them there. They are so good'.

    It's a small world. There's a song in that......

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music.

  • Musical News – July 2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    The amount of music that is being created at Simon Balle is staggering. Concerts, exams, rehearsals and now a music tour. Each time we set a challenge, the musicians step up and work as part of this incredible team.
    So please take time to read what is below and celebrate what is being achieved day after day. All musicians deserve praise, as do all the staff who create what takes place. To those who are leaving this year - thank you. It’s been a blast! Take the memories and experiences with you wherever you go. In September we return to pick up the baton and make more amazing music. Until then, follow us on Twitter for updates and celebrations during the holidays. Have a good summer!!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Saffron Hall 2022

    Last weekend it was an honour to return to Saffron Hall to celebrate our amazing musicians. For most, they had never performed at this iconic venue and returning once more was a very nervous time. Months of planning, over 230 musicians, around 500 in the audience. Our musical community at Simon Balle was once again coming back together.

    Saffron Hall is about inspiring our musicians in all year groups, allowing them to appreciate their musical pathway, route of progression and allowing them to come together as a team and a community. We have spent so long apart. Here, we had the opportunity to come together in spectacular style. At this concert, we tried to allow as many musicians as possible to have their ‘moment’, especially those who are about to leave us, taking their musical journey to pastures new. We brought in new ideas, such as the primary orchestra (all 80 of them) performing with senior musicians. We reminded everyone how amazing the 60 piece Concert Band is, along with our Guitar ensemble, Brass, Junior Wind and others. Saffron Hall was alive with singing from our youngest to our adult community choir. Alumni, many of whom had missed out in recent years, came back to support us and show how connected to Simon Balle Music they still are. What a community.

    Mark Taylor

    Director of Music

     

    Going to Saffron Hall was an amazing experience: from the very start of rehearsals in the morning to the last second of the last song about 8 o’clock at night.

    It was fun performing with children from the Larch right through to sixth form in an amazing hall with fabulous acoustics. I performed in junior wind, concert band, Saxidentals and the choir, and with a rendition of ‘Fix You’ that all the choirs sang together. I joined concert band only recently, but it has been wonderful to play with really talented people: I’ve learned so much already.

    Concert band played some well-known songs like a mix of James Bond theme tunes, Sweet Caroline and Make you Feel my Love, however, my favourite song of the evening was definitely the theme song from the musical ‘Six’ - the amazing Simon Balle Big Band really did it justice. I am so inspired by Big Band - both because of the music and the fact that everyone smiles when they hear Big Band play!

    Merry W

    Last weekend, I went to saffron hall, I really enjoyed the atmosphere, I thought that it would be a long day but it passed very quickly as we were all talking and playing together. I found it really exciting because I knew that loads of people would be coming to see us perform and we were playing somewhere where we hadn’t before.. I enjoyed the concert as the stage was spacious and it was my first time playing in Concert Band. On top of Concert Band I was in Junior wind and Saxidentals. My favourite performance that I didn’t play in was Big Band as it looked as though everyone was having fun and it inspired me to get really good at the Saxophone so that I could join. I look forward to being part of more experiences like this in the future.

    Audrey P

    In Our Secondary Phase...

    Trinity Exams

    In July, students from throughout the All-Through School sat their Classical Trinity Exams. From Grade 1 all the way to Grade 8, from Year 3 all the way to Year 13.

    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.

    Music Tour to Edinburgh

    Concert Band & Big Band are off to Edinburgh for Music Tour. It is a brilliant performance opportunity and we are looking forward to hearing all about it when they get back.

    You can view their performance at St Giles' Cathedral below!

    Follow our twitter for updates on their exciting time away: @simonballemusic

    Our Primary Phase...

    Y2 Strings & Y2/3 Choir Performance Evening

    On Tuesday, our wonderful Year 2 and 3 students performed as part of their end of year celebration. Our Year 2/3 choir performed a variety of songs, including 'Tomorrow' from Annie.

    Our Year 2 Strings Students have achieved so much in under a year, it was a fantastic opportunity for them to showcase this, they should all be very proud of what they have achieved! Have a listen below:

    Woodwind Starters Celebration:

    Mrs Taylor's students came together to perform what they have been working on. From Clarinets, Flutes, Bassoon to Saxophones.

     

    Year 6 Film Composition

    Year 6 have been working hard composing film music for a villain during their lessons with Mrs Iles. Please have a listen to some of their amazing work below:

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Ethan M in Year 6 for making a real effort in lessons, and making great progress.
    • Wally C in Year 5 for working hard in lessons recently.
    • Lucas D in Year 5 for working hard in lessons recently.
    • Xander in Year 4 for great preparation for his music medal.
    • Summer in Year 4 for great preparation for her music medal.
    • Ava A in Year 4 for great preparation for her music medal.

    Have a lovely Summer! See you in September!

  • Why our summer celebration at Saffron Hall matters

    Last weekend it was an honour to return to Saffron Hall to celebrate our amazing musicians. For most, they had never performed at this iconic venue and returning once more was a very nervous time. Months of planning, over 230 musicians, around 500 in the audience. Our musical community at Simon Balle was once again coming back together.

    Saffron Hall matters, as it is the only venue locally that is big enough to accommodate all our music. Some might say it is not ‘local’, but the journey is worth it for the quality of the sound that the hall has. Indeed, I am proud to describe Saffron Hall as a ‘partner’ in our concerts. Showing the progression from our youngest to our most advanced musicians is crucial, so that everyone can see and hear what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. Performers are also the audience for others. As someone said to me - ‘everyone applauds you, you should applaud everyone else!’. For the musicians, they can support everyone else. For the audience, they can appreciate the bigger picture of what is being achieved and celebrated. They can also hear the quality.

    Saffron Hall is about inspiring our musicians in all year groups, allowing them to appreciate their musical pathway, route of progression and allowing them to come together as a team and a community. We have spent so long apart. Here, we had the opportunity to come together in spectacular style. At this concert, we tried to allow as many musicians as possible to have their ‘moment’, especially those who are about to leave us, taking their musical journey to pastures new. We brought in new ideas, such as the primary orchestra (all 80 of them) performing with senior musicians. We reminded everyone how amazing the 60 piece Concert Band is, along with our Guitar ensemble, brass, Junior Wind and others. Saffron Hall was alive with singing from our youngest to our adult community choir. Alumni, many of whom had missed out in recent years, came back to support us and show how connected to Simon Balle Music they still are. What a community.

    We talk a lot at the moment about the well-being of everyone. What better way to show how connected students are to school and what they can achieve than an event like this. What an amazing way to see the smiles, the sense of achievement and the team work than this concert. What an amazing way to teach team working skills. What an amazing way to celebrate the power of coming together again. The quality of the performances was beyond anything I could have hoped for. We are all so busy at the moment, but we must take time to pause and reflect on exactly what has been achieved. Wow!

    Our Saffron Hall concert is a monumental team effort. However, it is worth it. Why? It demonstrates the power of music. The power of music as a force for good. Simon Balle is alive with music. Thank you to everyone in our community (including our partners) who are part of Team Music. Together, we create amazing music and experiences. The concert at Saffron Hall is testament to that.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

  • Musical News – June 2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    This term has been all about our musical community coming together. Recitals, recordings, concerts, rehearsals and more. We are constantly being reminded of what our musicians can achieve and the wonderful music that is created. Every performance is a personal achievement and with so much music taking place every day, we should not forget each individual success.

    The role of families at home supporting learning and practice is essential. Going over what has been learnt, preparing for the next phase of learning is crucial. Progress brings achievement and the feeling of success. This then inspires the next part of learning. Listening to practice at home, celebrating, performing to the wider family helps make the process of learning part of what the students do.

    Please enjoy celebrating what has been taking place in recent weeks. Every phase is alive with music and we are so proud of each every musician.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    World Music Day 2022

    Tuesday 21st June was World Music Day this year, and we used it to reflect on all of our wonderful musicians and the variety of music performed at Simon Balle.

    Music is so important to so many people, and we are so proud of what is achieved!

    In Our Secondary Phase...

    Virtual Rock Gig

    Due to such a busy term, unfortunately we were unable to host our Summer Rock Gig in proper fashion. Instead, we have done a Virtual Gig, which can be viewed below! Despite the change in plan, the students rose to the challenge, and have smashed it!

    To see all the videos, please head to: Our Rock School Gallery.

     

    Guitar Platform Evening

    On Thursday, Mr Niesyto's wonderful students performed at our Guitar Platform Evening. It was a great opportunity for younger students to be inspired by older students! From Year 7 to Y13.

    Mr Niesyto has been hosting Guitar Workshops for some students, and last night our Guitar Workshop students joined our Guitar Ensemble! It was a brilliant way for all of our students to play together, and it sounded fantastic!

    You all performed fabulously! Well done to you all!

     

    Come & Sing 2022

    From September, our Secondary Choir for Year 7, 8 and 9 will be rehearsing on a Wednesday lunchtime, 1.25-1.55pm. Making music with others is so important for musicians, it can build confidence and develop skills.

    If you are interested, please sign up here: https://forms.gle/XcoY6qDsU2uMdiHEA

     

    Piano Evenings

    In June, we enjoyed a couple of piano evening recitals, in which Mr Lovell's Year 7, 8 & 9 students showcased what they have been working so hard on. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to perform, and great to hear so much variety! You all played and performed brilliantly, well done to you all!

     

    Y8 Celebration Evening

    Some of our Year 8 musicians performed at a Celebration evening for their year group. It was a fantastic performance from each and every one of them, and it's great to see them performing to their peers and families. Performing is a brilliant experience for all, and the musicianship they all showed is something they should all be proud of. It was in no way their first performance and it definitely will not be their last!

    Well done to: Ryan C, Chloe C, Louise C, Robin M, Reubin D, Isobel C, Olly C, and Keo O!

     

     

     

    Y 8 - 9 Piano Evening

     

    Y7 Piano Evening

    Trinity R&P Exam Results

    In June, some of our students sat their Trinity Rock & Pop Exams! They all did so well, and we are so proud of them!

    Please click on the image below to view results!

    Our Primary Phase...

    Primary Music Festival

    On Monday, 43 Larch students performed in a Primary Music Festival. They performed an Individual song: 'Something Inside So Strong', and then as part of a larger group: 'Out There' a Cantata by Paul Burrell.

    It was a brilliant opportunity for our singers to not only perform, but be involved with other primary schools. Some of our students auditioned for solo parts, and they did so well to come away with 3 narrators and 3 singers! They each did so well at narrating and singing in front of such a large group; they should be so proud! Well done to Archie, Orla, Erin, Isabel, Emily & Lola!

    Larch Piano Evening

    On Tuesday, Mrs Johnson's pianists came together to perform to their families and friends. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their skills. Well done to all who performed!

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers for something really good that week. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Felix W-B in Year 3 for excellent work on your duet in your cello lesson.
    • Angus M in Year 3 for excellent work on your duet in your cello lesson.
    • Heidi N in Year 6 for super effort in orchestra.
    • Aluna S in Year 2 for great effort in your cello lesson this week
    • Isla J in Year 2 for fantastic concentration in your lesson this week
    • Chloe in Year 6 for excellent sight reading of a new piece this week
    • Olivia B in Year 2 for excellent concentration when learning the tricky rhythms this week in your cello lesson
    • Florence S in Year 2 for excellent concentration when learning the tricky rhythms this week in your cello lesson
    • Eddie B in Year 2 for excellent concentration when learning the tricky rhythms this week in your cello lesson
    • Edie C in Year 5 for always having a positive attitude
    • Isabella H in Year 5 for working so hard in your lesson
    • Tunde F in Year 2 for playing so well in orchestra
    • Dorothea A in Year 3 for playing so well in orchestra
    • Henry P in Year 4 for a great attitude and sticking to a practise plan

     

    Coming Up...

    Please take a look at our upcoming events, all including our final events of the year!

    What’s On

  • Musical News – 27.05.2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    Whilst so many are head down in exams, so much of our music continues. Next half term, 'all roads' lead to Saffron Hall on Saturday 2nd July. Final details will be sent out during the first week back.

    One thing that I am particularly proud of is that all of our musicians are one amazing team. We all support each other and work together. Our musicians want to perform. They want to celebrate their work.

    So many musicians have instrumental grades next half term. The key to success with exams is practice - at least 4 times per week. We have emailed families our support pages on the website so that together we can help achieve amazing success.

    Thank you to everyone for working with us as we develop what we do and continue to inspire musicians. In return, they are inspiring us!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Our Secondary Phase...

    Y8 Minimalism

    Year 8 have been learning about Minimalism this term, and after practising some different compositional techniques, have composed their own minimalist piece. They have produced some outstanding work, so do have a listen to this handful of examples. Well done to Thomas, Max, Isabella, Nadassa, Ollie, Bors and Daisy in 8A.

     

    Ms Kemp's Singing Evening

    On Thursday, Ms Kemp's students performed what they have been working on in their lessons. It was a fantastic evening, the audience were treated with a variety of genres, from musical theatre to pop to classical. It was truly a special occasion, and wonderful opportunity for our younger musicians to see how far they can go and what they can achieve on their musical journey. Well done to: Maia W, Saffron-Daisy A, Lily O, Isobel C, May W, Emma B, Sophie G, Lauren B, Ada K, Charlie G, Courtney B-G, Dawa K, Matthew P, Aimee B and Poppy N.

    Here is a taste of the evening, Dawa in Year 12 singing 'Fever'.

    Mayor-Making Ceremony

    Our Brass Quintet were delighted to perform at the Hertford Mayor-Making Ceremony last Thursday at County Hall. as the Mayor's secretary said "On behalf of the Town Council and the Mayor of Hertford, Cllr Susan Barber please forward our thanks to the pupils who performed at Mayor Making they were outstanding and hit the brief perfectly."

    Well done and thank you to the musicians. They should be very proud.

    Our Primary Phase...

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers for something really good that week. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Ella D (Year 2) for fantastic playing in your cello lesson
    • Max H (Year 2) for a super bow hold this week in your cello lesson.
    • Letty P (Year 2) for excellent effort in your cello lesson.
    • Archie C (Year 5) for completing your first piano book.
    • Freya H (Year 4) for excellent playing in your cello lesson this week
    • Annie C (Year 4) for excellent performance preparation
    • Hattie C (Year 4) for excellent performance preparation
    • Max C (Year 2) for a brilliant start back to playing the violin
    • Hayden B (Year 6) for making great progress on Tuba, with a great attitude
    • Albert R (Year 3) for good work on low register
    • Emelia M (Year 3) for great work in orchestra
    • Gemma W (Year 3) for great work in orchestra
    • Isabella C (Year 3) for demonstrating great musical knowledge in lesson
    • Miles W (Year 6) for great punctuality and great playing throughout the lesson
    • Rosie W (Year 3) for great work in orchestra
    • Grace M (Year 5 ) for fabulous Grade 1 preparation
    • Elijah L (Year 2) for fantastic counting and playing of quavers in your cello lesson
    • Kenzie E (Year 2) for excellent effort in your cello lesson
    • Noah W (Year 2) for trying so hard and for concentrating well in your cello lesson
    • Alex H (Year 6) for continuing to work extremely hard in preparation for your cello lesson each week
    • Amber C (Year 5) for completing your first piano book

     

    Assembly Performances

    We have been lucky enough to have a wonderful performances in the last couple of weeks.

    Firstly, Annie C & Hattie C on the Violin. Finally, Isla B, Isla U and Megan H on the Clarinet.

    Primary Music Festival

    Our Senior Larch Choir (Years 4, 5 & 6) are currently preparing for the Hertford Primary Music Festival. We had students audition in Ware, for speaking and singing parts, and we are pleased to say we have had success! Well done to the soloist speakers and singers. We are looking forward to seeing the final performance. It is fantastic to see so many young children involved in singing.

     

    Strings Showcase:

    On Tuesday, 41 students, ranging from Year 3 to Year 6 came together to showcase what they have been working on in their lessons. It was such a brilliant opportunity for students to get a chance to perform to their parents/carers, but also for the younger students to be inspired by seeing the progression and skill of the older students.

     

     

    Coming Up...

    Please take a look at our upcoming events, we have lots of performances to look forward to, and it is great to support our students!

    What’s On

  • Musical News – 29.04.2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    Coming back from the break it is always a challenge to have a concert so early in the term. Last weekend, our Wind and Brass at the Movies concert was a triumph beyond expectations.

    This concert has not taken place since 2019 and the concert was a reminder at how good so many of our musicians are. Four ensembles, lots of performances and many of them accompanied by films being shown behind the bands. What delighted me was the sheer quality of what was being performed. Some very challenging pieces performed with a sense of pride and enjoyment. Below, you can watch most of them and see some of the images behind. Thank you to everyone as well for the amazing feedback.

    We should remember that performances such as this one are a huge team effort. Every member of every band is vital to the success that is created. Well done everyone. Be proud of what you have achieved.

    Elsewhere we have Year 3 joining our Larch ensembles as you will read below. Starting your musical ensemble journey can be very daunting, and they handled it so well. Bravo! We are preparing for Saffron Hall now on Saturday 2nd July, with some lovely concerts before hand and end of year celebrations for our musicians to perform at.

    Team Music is alive. What magical memories we are helping to create!

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Our Secondary Phase...

    Congratulations!

    Congratulations to Jack E in Year 13. Before Easter, Jack took his Diploma in Performance from the London College of Music, in Trumpet. We are very proud!

    Wind & Brass: A Night at the Movies

    On Saturday, around 80 students came together to perform a variety of pieces, transporting the audience to the world of cinema, with performances from Concert Band, Junior Wind Band, Brass Ensemble and Saxidentals. All the students behaved and performed so professionally, it was a truly joyous occasion.

    Well done to al of those who were involved!

    Please find the Youtube Playlist below! Click in the top right hand corner to see all the videos...

    Saffron Sounds - Saturday 2nd July 2022

    We are well underway in preparation for Saffron Hall, full details will sent out in the next couple of weeks. Tickets will soon be available from the Saffron Hall box office.

    Our Primary Phase...

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers for something really good that week. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Zara N (Year 2) for remembering your brilliant bow hold
    • Alec C (Year 2) for remembering your brilliant bow hold
    • Charlie P (Year 2) for remembering your brilliant bow hold
    • Holly W (Year 6) for great work over the Easter Holidays
    • Alex H (Year 6) for great work over the Easter Holidays
    • Elliot R (Year 4) for playing so well in your lesson this week.
    • Ethan M (Year 6) for making a great start in your lessons with Mr Caldecote.

     

    Assembly Performances

    In the Larch Celebration Assemblies, we have had a wonderful performance from:

    Chloe P, in Year 6, played 'Free Farm Care' on the Cello.

    Ensemble Starters..

    We are pleased to say that our Larch Ensembles are continuing to grow! Our Year 3 musicians have joined our Woodwind and String ensembles, we are looking forward to seeing them perform! Well done for rising to the challenge! We are delighted that so many musicians are in our ensembles and choirs now in our Primary Phase.

    Music Medals & Exams

    Well done to all those who received their Music Medals/Exam Certificates this week! There were so many to hand out, it's so encouraging to see so many of our younger students progress and achieve medals and grades! Well done to all!

    Coming Up...

    Please take a look at our upcoming events, click on the links/images for more information!

  • Musical News – 01.04.2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    It does not matter which part of the school you are part of, music has been alive every day in the past few weeks. There have been so many concerts, events, exams and other musical successes that I have lost count! It could be early morning practice, after school rehearsals, an extra band practice, completing coursework, celebrating someone’s achievements. Music continues every day, all day!

    In the past couple of weeks, we have had an amazing Larch concert with over 100 musicians performing. We have had so many exams, from individual music exams to the long awaited A level recitals. Visitors always comment on how professional our musicians are and how well prepared they are. Support at home is part of that - the practice, the celebration, the support. Your support at home is crucial to the success of the musician you nurture. Never underestimate the power of taking an interest and celebrating the work, creating a positive atmosphere! Every performance is an individual achievement and we have had so many of these recently. 49 amazing exam results in the past two weeks, including so many distinctions. Our team is so proud of each result.

    Something else I am so proud of is that Team Music is a team. Coming back after the pandemic, we are working so hard to remind each other that we are a team and everyone in that team is vital. We have published our concert dates, including Saffron Hall and I do now ask that everyone required is at the concerts and rehearsals when we ask. Older students with jobs will need to plan ahead as well. If just one musician says ‘I can’t be at that rehearsal or concert’, they sometimes forget that a whole team is affected. The balance of sound in a section can change. Someone else will miss that person not there. Please check and double check dates via the link below. Rehearsals are also so important. If a musician misses some, they have not learnt the music enough and could let the performance down with wrong notes! Our team ethos stretches to everyone!

    Thank you to everyone in our team - the staff, the students, the families who support and those who come and celebrate our musicians. We have so much to celebrate every day and that is truly unique and wonderful.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Curriculum - All-Through

     

    As well as all our performance work, students have been working hard in their curriculum music lessons. GCSE and A level students are finishing compositions and preparing them for marking and submission. We had the amazing A Level Music recitals last week and Jack in Year 13 is preparing for his diploma that is being performed this week. Otherwise, exam students in Years 13 and 11 are busy revising for the listening and written papers.

    If you take a snapshot of the different units currently being learnt in KS2-3 you can see how varied the curriculum is with everything from Reggae (Y6) to Classical Theme and Variations (Y5), and 20th C Minimalism (Y8) to Musical Theatre (Y4). 

    In Reception and Year 1, we have been learning lots of songs with actions and developing our sense of pulse. We have also started to learn about rhythm and copying rhythms that we hear. We listen to music every week, and are starting to talk about how music makes us feel.

    In Year 2, we have been learning to interpret graphic scores and learning to read actual notation. We have learnt to play several songs from notation on the glockenspiel including Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Hot Cross Buns. Again, we listen to music each week and are starting to recognise the instruments and playing techniques we can hear. With so many of the Year 2 children in the Choir or taking part in the String Training Programme, it has been a very busy term, full of music!

     

    Exam Results

    Over the last couple of weeks, we have had a variety of Instrumental Exams take place, including, Classical/Jazz Trinity, Trinity Rock & Pop, ABRSM, and even a digital!

    We are so proud of what the students have achieved, please do click on the images/links below to see the results!

    Our Secondary Phase...

    Mr Lovell's Piano Evening

    On Tuesday, we had an evening of piano! It was a great opportunity for students of all ages to come together and see others perform - it's always inspiring.

    Mr Lovell is very impressed, and we are all so proud of what they have achieved! Well done to all!

    Big Band Interviews...

    We sat down with a couple of members of Big Band, to see what their take on the last couple of weeks was. Please read what they had to say below...

    Aimee B, Year 13, Singer 

    I love performing, it’s such an adrenaline rush. Singing in front of a crowd - there is no feeling like it, it’s brilliant. Big Band evening was amazing, it had a brilliant atmosphere, it really helps having a supportive audience full of familiar faces. Performing has massively helped me with my confidence. I did a gig in August which showed me I could do it, and I felt like I really proved that to myself at Big Band evening. I love how the band comes together, Mr Taylor makes it work very well, and what we achieve is amazing. 

    Once you’re up there, in front of a live audience, you just have to get on with it, it’s like fight or flight kicks in, you just enjoy it. Even if you mess up, you carry on smiling, you can’t run away, it’s not like the audience will know. You feel so proud of yourself afterwards, like you watch someone else do it, and you think ‘I did that’. 

    I think Big Band itself is fantastic, even the rehearsals are fun, it doesn’t matter if you’re going over the same thing over and over, the group of people make it fun. We hear the pieces over and over again, but I still think they are magical, and I’m sure others would agree. Big Band Evening for me, and I’m sure for other people, was like the light of the end of the tunnel after the last couple of years.

    Gabriel D, Year 12, Trumpet 1

    I loved Big Band evenings, this was my 5th one overall. I was really pleased to see so many ex-students coming back to support us. Big Band is such an encouraging community, everyone performs together, you all support each other, and you become friends with people you may not have met otherwise. 

    When I first joined Big Band, I was on Trumpet 3, then I moved up to Trumpet 2, and this year is the first time I’ve played Trumpet 1, which is a milestone for me! I finally got to experience what I looked up to in Year 7, it was a full-circle moment!

    My favourite piece is YMCA, it’s a crowd pleaser, everyone gets to dance, even the instrumentalists get to move - it’s so entertaining. I think as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate the music more, all of the pieces are fantastic. 

    The Big Band community is such a special aspect. Everyone is friendly, you all have something in common, and you realise you are all quite similar people, so age doesn't make a difference.

    You never really miss something until it’s gone. In the last couple of years, we’ve all missed Big Band. I think if anything, it’s to enjoy it while it lasts, and live in the moment. You can appreciate the 105 minute long rehearsals, when you see the results at a Gig. I look back at younger years now, and I’m jealous that they still have so much time left! I want to make the most of it.

    Poppy N, Year 13, Singer

    It was so nice to be performing again after COVID, it feels like we’ve waited forever! Getting to sing with a live band again is just amazing. Big Band gives such a supportive atmosphere, it’s a good vibe. I think everyone knows in the moment that it is important to support each other, even if you are nervous yourself. 

    My favourite instrumental piece has got to be ‘In the Stone’, it’s a great intro to the evening, really setting the tone. My favourite trio song is ‘Blame it on the Boogie’, it’s so feel good, everyone knows it and can join in with the dancing! My favourite solo is ‘I Will Survive’, it’s so funky, there’s such a good build up, from the piano introduction to the whole band by the end. The audience always joins in, you’re all performing together!

    I enjoy being in Big Band, you are creating the music that everyone enjoys - it’s a rewarding feeling. The rehearsals are something to look forward to in the week, everyone is in a good mood for it - you can bounce off of everyone’s energy. Big Band also creates a supportive community; you become friends with people across many different year groups, people you wouldn't have known before. There can sometimes be hierarchies in musical productions, but in Big Band, everyone is equal - I really like that. 

    Performing is what I want to do, Big Band is a great opportunity to practise this. Having this responsibility is good preparation for my career. 

    Our Primary Phase...

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers for something really good that week. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Rachel L (Year 4) for showing real perseverance and working so hard towards her music medal.
    • Daniel W (Year 4) for great work in lessons and for memorising all his scales
    • Isaac B (Year 4) for working hard on his Grade 1 pieces and note reading
    • Loris U (Year 3) for going above and beyond with excellent work at home
    • Francis B (Year 3) for really trying hard with his sound on his flute this week
    • Heidi N (Year 6) for excellent work in preparation for sitting her Grade 2 cello exam
    • William H (Year 3) for your determination and perseverance in preparation for sitting your copper music medal
    • Sam W (Year 6) for some fantastic piano practice and playing over the last few weeks
    • Sophie L (Year 5) for great progress being made in your Grade 1 pieces
    • Hayden B (Year 6) for a great start to Tuba playing and determination to 'get it right' with practice
    • Ava P (Year 2) for making excellent progress with the bow
    • Cara M (Year 4) for showing such motivation and dedication to practising for her Bronze medal

     

    Assembly Performances

    In the Larch Celebration Assemblies, we have had wonderful performances from:

    Gabriel D in Year 13 performed 'Feodora by Carl Czerny' on the Trumpet, it was a great opportunity for the Larch students to see an older student perform. Gabriel supports lots of the primary students, through homework and chess club.

    Orla I in Year 6 performed 'A Ballad for Frank' on the Bass Clarinet

     

    Larch Celebration Concert

    On Wednesday, over 100 students came together to perform, in ensembles and choirs, including; Strings, Woodwind & Brass, Junior and Senior Choir. It was a brilliant evening, where audience members were able to see what they had been working so hard on.

    Holly W, Year 6, Music Ambassador: 

    The ensembles that played were: The Larch Wind Band, The Larch Strings Orchestra, The Senior Choir, and The Junior Choir. I really enjoyed playing in three out of four of the ensembles, especially with the Larch Wind Band. My favourite piece that I played was probably Ghostbusters in the Larch Wind Band. I think this was a concert as good as all of the previous ones, so we are all proud of what we achieved. The highlight was probably the finale - Ghostbusters. We all got really involved in it, like shouting GHOSTBUSTERS! I also really liked the Junior Choir because the songs they sang were brilliant, and their voices were really cute!

    Henry C, Year 6, Music Ambassador

    In the concert, the brass and wind played together and the strings played. I enjoyed listening to the brass and woodwind songs that had people playing at different times. My favourite piece I played was 'Spy Movie'. Everyone cheered when Mr Taylor said spy movie but said 'awww' when it was 'Sad Movie'. My highlight was when a group of us had a solo in 'Something Inside So Strong'.

    Please click on the image/link below of everyone who performed to listen to the audio!

    Coming Up...

    Enjoy your well-deserved Easter break, and be ready for more Musical events when we return!

    Please take a look at our upcoming events, click on the links/images for more information!

  • Musical News – 18.03.2022

    Welcome to our Music!

    It has been an amazing couple of weeks with so many performances and so much music being created across our all-through school. Every musician has achieved something and has a story of triumph to tell! The Big Band evening, vocal showcase, Year 2 Strings celebration, performance assemblies, Big Band gigs, a guitar evening, Larch orchestra and choir rehearsals for the concert next Wednesday, A level recital rehearsals, preparation for the exams this week and next. So much is happening and it is fabulous that our musicians are embracing all that we have to offer. We are working hard to also ensure our musicians are involved in the decisions being made, in our new ideas and in feedback from what we have achieved. Well done to everyone.

    Mark Taylor, Director of Music

    Big Band

    Senior Choir

    Our Secondary Phase...

    Big Band..

    Over the last couple of weeks, Big Band have performed here, there and everywhere!

    Starting, of course, with our Big Band Evening. On Saturday 5th March, we were fortunate to have Big Band perform for a live audience full of friendly faces for the first time this year!

    Next, Big Band entertained the Herts for Learning Headteachers' Conference, a very fun evening had by all!

    Finally, they performed at the Mayor's Civic Dinner.

    We are so proud of how they all embraced the challenge, and adapted to the different occasions! Well done to all!

    Vocal Showcase - Saturday 12th March

    On Saturday, we had our first singing concert in 3 years! It was fantastic to see so many students involved and performing a variety of genres and pieces! From Chamber Choir, to Musical Theatre, Duets to All Choirs!

    Kitty in Year 9, who performed in multiple ensembles, said:

    I really enjoyed how every student and audience member was very supportive, I also liked how there was a variety of different songs, especially musical theatre, in the vocal showcase. I have always listened to music and sung around my house from a young age. I find it rewarding when I can master songs I have been working on or hit a note that I couldn't before. Accents help me get into character as they don't sound like me but the role I am playing. Attending acting clubs and knowing what message the song portrays helps me understand my character. 

    We are so proud of all of our performers, here is all of our choirs performing 'Fix You'.

    A Celebration of Brass

    Our wonderful Brass musicians throughout the school came together to perform last week. It was a great to see so many students of various ages take part in the evening. Listen to our Secondary Brass students with 'Highlights from La La Land'!

     

    Guitar Platform Evening

    On Thursday, Mr Niesyto's students came together to showcase a wonderful array of acoustic guitar pieces.

    Students from Year 7 to Year 13 performing solo numbers, our Guitar Workshop did their first performance, and the evening finished with our Guitar Ensemble.

    It was a brilliant evening!

    Our Primary Phase...

    Larch Stars

    Our Larch Stars are musicians who have been nominated by their instrumental teachers for something really good that week. Their certificate is presented in assembly. Well done to..

    • Ayla B (Year 3) for great progress in the last few weeks.
    • Mason Y (Year 3) for great performance in his lesson.
    • Pearl C (Year 4) for superb effort in lessons.
    • Florrie C (Year 3) for excellent work on her low note production.
    • Eloise S (Year 5) for working hard at her note reading.

    Assembly Performances

    In the Larch Celebration Assemblies, we have had wonderful performances from:

    Isabel H in Year 6 playing 'Stealth Mode' in piano.

    Ava C & Isaac B in Year 4 playing 'Shepherd Hey' on clarinet.

    A Celebration of Brass

    Our wonderful Brass musicians throughout the school came together to perform last week. It was a great opportunity for the younger students to see our older students perform, and understand where their brass journey can take them!

    Our Larch Brass musicians performed brilliantly! Please have a listen to 500 Miles!

    Year 2 Strings Training Programme Evening

    On Tuesday, our Year 2 Violinists and Cellists showcased their hard work to a live audience of their parents and carers.

    Mrs Johnson and Mrs Nunn are happy to announce they have all successfully completed their Strings Training Programme!

    Do see below a little snippet from Tuesday.

    Music Medals

    Lots of Larch Musicians across many instruments are completing their Bronze Music Medals currently.

    Coming Up...

    Please take a look at our 'What's On' page to see what is coming up!

    What’s On