Let us take you on a guided tour of Music’all on a Saturday morning. A cross-section of the purpose-built music building we’re lucky enough to call home might look something like this. On the top floor, we find our superb roster of instrumental music teachers giving one-to-one lessons - piano, violin, guitar, trumpet, oboe, clarinet, bassoon are just some of those on offer. Individual lessons are the cornerstone of Music’all’s curriculum, the engine room for each student’s progress. Our teachers are all professional musicians in their own right - but having experienced themselves what it’s like to learn from an inspiring teacher, they in turn now want to kindle the same passion and excitement for music in their pupils.
Moving downstairs, we find the larger classrooms where group lessons are given in Musical Awareness. A younger class is learning to decode the dots and squiggles of musical notation. A group of older students next door might be listening to music (from baroque to blues and beyond) - learning both how it works, and about the life of its composer. Pupils in another class, meanwhile, are working on their very own compositions.
All this constitutes a typical day at Music’all. But other activities will punctuate the school term: occasional masterclasses with a visiting musician, or workshops that allow our students to try out a new instrument, for example, or to have a go at using technology to create music. Meanwhile, each week affords an opportunity to attend - or perform in - our weekly open platforms. These serve as an invaluable opportunity for children to practice performing music, be it before taking a grade exam or simply as experience, in front of an audience in the beautiful auditorium.
Music’all organises occasional excursions - a trip to Handel’s House (tucked away in a stable-yard behind Bond Street), or a visit to the Royal College of Music to listen to some virtuoso students and tour the RCM’s unique museum of instruments. There’s an annual trip to the Schools Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We also organise an in-house concert at which our staff perform, giving their pupils an invaluable and inspirational opportunity to see their teachers in action. All our students perform in concerts themselves at least twice a year - at the school’s Christmas concert, and our end-of-the-year summer concert; grand occasions which bring the whole school community together. Some children will also perform outside the school as part of our outreach programme. Each December, for example, a group of students (and teachers) give a very special concert for elderly long-term residents at the Nazareth Nursing Home in Hammersmith. The school has also participated in major local musical events - the French Institute’s annual ‘It’s All About the Piano’ festival, and the South Bank Centre’s inspiring ‘Sounds Venezuela’ fiesta,- where Music’all’s senior orchestra joined dozens of other music projects from all over the UK to perform at the Royal Festival Hall. This wonderful occasion celebrated the visit of Gustavo Dudamel and Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra from El Sistema, Venezuela’s revolutionary educational programme. With its emphasis on broad access to communal music-making and belief in music education as a transformative key in child development, El Sistema has deeply inspired all of us at Music’all.