Somerset children tune into a lifelong love of music


More than 1,000 pupils from schools across Somerset experienced the sound of a live professional orchestra at showcase concerts.

For many of the Key Stage 2 children involved the County Council-supported events at Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre would have been a brand-new experience.

The two concerts performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra last week were part of the BBC’s Ten Pieces project, jointly organised with the Octagon Theatre and the Sound Foundation Somerset (SFS) – the Music Education Hub for Somerset which is supported by Somerset County Council.

They were the centre-piece of this year’s Ten Pieces project and the first time they have been staged in Somerset. The initiative aims to open-up the world of classical music to a generation of children by using 10 pieces of music as a spring-board for creativity, alongside a range of online resources.

Children can play along or simply listen to the pieces in assembly or during the school day. This year, the project includes famous works by the likes of Purcell, Dvorak, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and Copeland.

Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “It’s fantastic that the County hosted two of this year’s Ten Pieces concerts. I was lucky enough to attend one of them and saw how much the hundreds of children enjoyed it. They were completely absorbed.

“Music can play such an important role in our lives and Sound Foundation Somerset offers vital music services for children across the county.

“Making music or just listening to it can be fundamental to children’s health and wellbeing, and can help to spark an interest that can bring joy lifelong, nourish and bolster self-esteem, and of course open up social opportunities.”

The Ten Pieces project is just the tip of the iceberg of the SFS work with schools. It’s a partnership of providers all of which offer high-quality, inclusive musical educational opportunities for children across the county.

It provides a wide range of quality assured music education opportunities for all children and young people from five to 18. Each year around 5,000 pupils get the chance to learn an instrument for the first time at no charge to families and supported with free instrument hire.

The service includes:

  • Whole class instrument teaching
  • Instrumental and vocal lessons
  • Ensembles, bands, choirs and orchestra
  • Music events, performance, popular music and recording opportunities
  • World Music, Gamelan and Award-winning Opera Residences
  • Instrument hire scheme
  • Subsidised training and development to support staff teaching music in schools

The work of the SFS supports the priorities set out in the Somerset’s Children, Young People and Families Plan 2019-2022. It outlines the need for affordable activities to improve children and young people’s well-being – something young people working on the plan identified themselves.

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