Being in Saddleworth, the heart of brass band country, Diggle School has a great heritage in making music, and making music is encouraged all through all of the school. We recognise the huge benefits of appreciating and participating in music activity, and how music helps children learn to express themselves and work together.
Pre-Covid, we had a Key Stage 1 choir, a Key Stage 2 choir, a brass band and an orchestra. The whole school enjoyed a singing assembly each week, and each year we held a Spring Concert at the Civic Hall in Uppermill to showcase all our musical talent, as well as Christmas events and participation in the Oldham Music Festival. Additionally, every week a different member of staff chose a piece of music that was special to them to be played at the start and end of each assembly, with children in year 6 joining in for the summer term. This was a great way for children to be exposed to a broad spectrum of musical styles, and to see the different effect music can have – we’ve had pop music, classical music, brass band music, folk music, music from musicals – the list is endless.
While we are not able to practice together in groups at the moment, we can still listen to music and play percussive instruments that don’t require airflow. We are also able to continue with whole class instrument tuition, where all of year 3 learn a brass instrument … instead of learning as a whole class, the children will learn in small groups for now, and we are able to continue with small group (paid for) music lessons.
We partner with the Oldham Music Service to deliver small group lessons (and ensembles such as brass band and orchestra when they can run). The Music Service also provides all children in Year 3 with a brass instrument as part of their curriculum learning. All the children learning an instrument or having voice lessons, as well as all ensembles, perform in concerts at Christmas, our annual music showcase – the Spring Concert, and in the summer at the School fete.
We currently offer brass, woodwind, upper and lower strings, guitar, percussion and voice lessons. Children receive lessons in groups of 4, and once they have found their feet and learned the basics, they are also encouraged to participate in school ensembles and join groups at the Music Centre in Oldham. The small group instrument lessons are payable by parents/carers, and include the loan of the instrument (where there is one). Parents must commit to pay for the full academic year of music tuition (which can now be face to face or online), however where there is space, children can also start mid-year if they suddenly show an interest.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Music Service, like everyone else, was forced to close. However, following a heroic effort by the staff of the Music Service, within a few weeks they had moved from delivering lessons in person in schools, to delivering lessons via an online platform to children stuck in lockdown at home.
Moving forward, the Music Service are back to delivering lessons face-to-face where possible, but where a class or school is closed, or a community is locked down to prevent face-to-face lessons, the music service will move to online provision, ensuring children can continue to learn while at home.
If your child is interested in learning to play a musical instrument, or take voice lessons, please contact the school office. Here is a video made by Mr Byers our brass teacher and Mr Smith our percussion teacher, along with their colleagues from the Music Service, demonstrating their chosen instruments in these areas which you can share with your child.
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Oldham Music Service newsletter – Music Notes