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).