Southampton Music Hub launches a new year of life-changing music

September marks the start of a new school year, and see’s the launch of another year of life-changing music. In a year which commemorates a huge cultural landmark for the city — 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower on a world-changing journey — Southampton Music Hub is using the power of music to take the city on a journey which improves the health and wellbeing of children, young people, families and communities.

Coming Up in 2019–20

Symphony 400: The Voyage

Composer James Redwood will work with 120 young musicians in primary schools to create new musical ideas inspired by themes from the Mayflower Journey. This music will then be learnt and performed by young musicians at secondary schools across the city, to be performed at the Mayflower Theatre in March.

Big Sing: The Journey

Mayflower Theatre has commissioned two new musicals that are inspired by the Mayflower 400 story and celebrate the theme of journeys. Southampton Music Hub will take songs from the two musicals in to city schools ahead of two huge performances at Mayflower Theatre in March.

Mayflower Celebration Events

Save the dates in your diary now — Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March 2020 — as Southampton Music Hub shares the stage at the Mayflower Theatre with over 1,200 performers from schools and communities. Over two nights of performance and participation, there will be a celebration of the musical and personal journeys the performers have been on as they share and celebrate the life-changing power of music.

And much more…

The coming year is jam packed with musical adventures. From 1,500 taking their first musical steps in First Access, through music lessons and ensembles that give every child the opportunity progress and perform, the hub supports young musicians at every step of their journey. From the Synthesis project for electronic music, through to family music lessons and workshops, the hub supports music of all types. Working with Southampton Cultural Education Partnership and hub partners, the hub connects schools and cultural organisations in the city.

Celebrating a year of life-changing music for Southampton Music Hub
2018-19 Celebration Graphic.png

On the last day of term, Southampton Music Hub is celebrating the end of an incredible year of life-changing music for the city’s young musicians in 2018-19.

The year was defined by one incredible story: a journey which started with 200+ of the city’s young musicians performing at the Royal Albert Hall in November; which saw that momentous event inspire over 40,000 hours of music-making with over 2,000 young musicians right across the city; and which ended with a huge celebration at Southampton Guildhall, with over 750 young musicians from over 45 schools performing in one day.


Of course, there have been countless other amazing stories this year. Here are a few highlights:

Kath Page, Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Southampton Music Hub has gone from strength to strength this year, and we have been overwhelmed by the support from schools and partners that make that happen. Together, we continue to combine the exceptional and the everyday: with inspirational events, like the Royal ALbert Hall and Guildhall this year, driving new ambitions; through to delivering the music lessons and regular music groups which help turn new aspirations in to meaningful, life-changing skills and connections.”

Getting Messy + Noisy at the Mela Festival

On Saturday 13 July, Southampton Music Hub brought Messy + Noisy — an exciting new paint drumming experience — to Southampton’s annual Mela festival.

The Mela, organised by Art Asia, brings together communities from across the city to celebrate a huge diversity of art, music and cultures.

The music hub team were joined by Chris and Debbie — Community Champions from local ASDA stores, who also donated paint the event — as well as over 75 children, parents, city councillors and more to make music and art together.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“We had an amazing time bringing Messy + Noisy to the Mela — one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar every year. Making music is such a great activity for families to do together, and adding paint to the mix only makes things more fun and creative. We were so grateful to be joined by Chris and Debbie from ASDA who very kindly gave us not just paint, but their time, energy and kindness, helping families get involved and enjoy making music together.”

iPad group from Kanes Hill School bring the excitement of electronic music to city education conference
Kanes Hill iPad Band at SCC Conf Performance 2019.jpg

As part of Southampton Music Hub’s Youth Music funded Synthesis Project, a group of 12 young electronic musicians from year six at Kanes Hill school have spent the past ten weeks in an iPad club: working together to create their own, new pieces of music, and developing their team work skills along the way.

On Wednesday 26 June, they shared a debut performance of their exciting and unique musical creation with the education teams at Southampton City Council. Performing at Solent University’s Palmerston Theatre, the group amazed and delighted the audience with their brand new piece of music, all created and performed using iPads.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“The young musicians did an incredible job, showing all the teams at the education conference that music is a powerful tool for helping us overcome the challenges we face in life. At the start their ten weeks together, there was a huge unknown for everyone — participants and music leaders alike — but by working together towards a shared goal, inspired by creating great music, they faced up to many challenges, and in doing so, both created an incredible performance and learnt important life skills for the future.”

Southampton Music Hub celebrates the end of a year of inspirational music for the city

350 Young Musicians Perform Symphony 125 at Southampton Guildhall

On Tuesday 2 July 2019, Southampton Music Hub celebrated a momentous end to an unforgettable year of music for the city with an exciting day of music-making and performances at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall.

Following an unforgettable performance at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2018 — an event which saw over 200 of the city’s young musicians perform alongside members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO)  as part of a 600 strong ensemble at the Music for Youth Proms — Southampton Music Hub have spent the past six months sharing the music and inspirational experiences of this once-in-a-lifetime event with schools and communities across the whole city. 

Young ukulele players taking part in a massed playing event alongside 400 others.

In the afternoon, over 400 young musicians and singers — many of whom had only been learning their instrument of only a year — came together for a massed playing event, performing a special version of ‘Symphony 125’; the piece of music performed at the Royal Albert Hall.

In the evening, over 350 young musicians from across 45 city schools — over two thirds of the city’s schools — and thirteen music hub groups and bands performed an exciting programme of music to a packed out audience, including their own epic arrangement of ‘Symphony 125’, conducted by BSO CEO Dougie Scarfe and led by the song’s composer James Redwood.

Throughout July there will also be over 25 school concerts, involving nearly 1,500 young musicians. In total, over 2,000 young musicians will be involved in celebration events to mark the culmination of over 250 hours of workshops and lessons inspired by the Royal Albert Hall event.

Kath Page, Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Our celebrations this week have been an incredible way to mark the end of an inspirational year of music for the city. Huge moments like the ones we’ve enjoyed this year — from the Royal Albert Hall to Southampton Guildhall — are a great way to inspire our young musicians with huge new ambitions. And, thanks to the incredible work of our schools, music leaders, instrumental teachers and workshop leaders, Southampton Music hub is helping make those dreams a reality by helping every child in the city make life-changing music every week.”

On Twitter, Councillor Darren Paffey said:
“Such a privilege to be there to hear Southampton’s young musicians perform with such passion, sensitivity and commitment. The Guildhall was absolutely bursting with talent tonight! Well done to everyone involved”

Image Gallery:

Mental Health Awareness training helping music teachers and hub partners to better support young musicians in Southampton

On Friday 24 May — the final day of last half term — Southampton Music Services Staff and Southampton Music Hub partners came together for a Mental Health Awareness Training morning led by experienced mental health nurse and trainer Sonia Piper. The training gave music teachers and hub partners an introduction to the mental health challenges that young musicians in the city may be facing — including anxiety, depression and self harm — and began to explore ways that music-making can be used to help improve wellbeing for all.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
”This training was a brilliant next step in achieving the hub’s core mission of using music to improve the health and wellbeing of the children, young people and communities of Southampton. It was great to be joined by hub partners — including Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Chinese Arts, Southampton City Council, SSMA, Sound Pop Academy and SoCo — who are all working together to bring the life-changing power of music to every child in the city.”

Learn to be mindful with a new song in the Everybody Sing Song Bank
Take a Walk Outside Cover.png

Today Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Hubs bring another brand new song to the Everybody Sing Song Bank. ‘Take a Walk Outside’ focusses on mindfulness and encourages singers to treat themselves with kindness. The song takes singers on a journey from negativity, frustration and anxiety through to finding a calm and peaceful mindset.

The song is accompanied by another new podcast episode, helping teachers and music leaders to teach the song to young singers with vocal warm ups , games and other ideas to bring the song to life.

Southampton Youth Strings enjoy a weekend of music and adventures

Southampton Youth Strings recently spent a week-end away at Fairthorne Manor, enjoying a challenging programme of rehearsals, including expert tuition on folk playing designed to develop their musical range, stamina and resilience.

Running alongside the music there was the chance to take part in some of Fairthorne’s adventurous activities, including a Vertical Assault course, Aerial Runway and Archery. The evenings provided lighter entertainment with games and a quiz.

The weekend finished with an informal concert to parents much enjoyed by all.

Families get messy and noisy at paint drumming workshop

On Saturday 23 February families from across Southampton came together at The Ashby Sure Start Centre to make a whole lot of mess, and a whole lot of noise together at Southampton Music Hub’s free paint drumming workshop. Playing, and splashing, along with songs from The Greatest Showman, Shawn Mendes and more, families turned their hits in to huge pieces of shared art by tapping splashing, smashing and crashing through pools and puddles of paint.

Some of the families taking part said:
”It was really fun — I can’t wait to do it again”
”It was messy and fun — I loved it”
”The paint brings a whole new dimension. It was fun, relaxed, and a great way to spend time together”

Bring the whole family to Messy and Noisy: an exciting new paint drumming experience this half term
Workshop Flyer February 2019.png

On Saturday 23 February, Southampton Music Hub is bringing an exciting new paint drumming experience to the Ashby Sure Start Centre. Messy + Noisy is a chance for families of all shapes and sizes to come together, to make a whole lot of mess and noise — sorry — music and art.

From the young to the young at heart, the Southampton Music Hub team will help everyone learn new drumming skills — turning hits in to huge pieces of shared art.

All paint and drumming equipment is provided, but participants are asked to wear clothes they’re happy to get (lots) or paint on.

Explore emotions and resilience with two new songs in the Everybody Sing Song Bank

In a bumper edition of the Everybody Sing Song Bank, Southampton Music Hub brings you two new health and well being themed songs this month.

The two songs — ‘Resilience’ and ‘Tell Me What Emotions Are’ — were written by Jo Downs: ‘Resilience’ encourages young singers to keep on trying at whatever they do; and ‘Tell Me What Emotions Are’ helps singers to use their voice in different ways, to express different emotions.

Both songs are accompanied by a short podcast episode for teachers and music leaders: each one including a new vocal warm up (the Warm Up of the Week) and a singing game or round (Simple Silly Starters) alongside hints and tips on how to get the best from each song.

Ukulele is "the best hobby... in my 70 plus years"
David Martin Ukulele.JPG

When David Martin joined the Sholing Ukulele group two years ago, he wasn’t expecting to find a hobby that would open up a brand new world of music-making.

The group, run by Louise Owen, is open to Ukulele players of all ages, and abilities, and introduced David to what he describes as “probably the best hobby I’ve ever had in my 70 plus year”.

Since joining the group, David has expanded his musical interest, playing in two other bands, and helping to bring together other community ukulele players.

David says: “From this beginning, my Grandson and his godfather have also been inspired to pick up a ukulele and have both have caught the ukulele bug. We all go off to gigs together. I have counted that I have played at 42 gigs or jams in the last three months — about half were for charitable organisations. One was for Children in Need in which twelve of us from Uke Box Glory (one of the bands I play with) played live on BBC TV.”

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra delight audience of school children with anniversary celebration show

On Thursday 24 January pulls from across Southampton, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Hampshire came together at Portsmouth Guildhall for the annual school’s concert from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO).

The audience were entertained by music about celebration: commemorating the recent 125th anniversary for the BSO. The audience then became the performers and joined the BSO to sing the songs ‘Musical Fireworks’, written by James Redwood, and ‘Ode to Joy’, composed by Beethoven.

Kath Page, Manager for Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Hubs, says:
“This afternoon's concert was a wonderful opportunity for children to see and appreciate a full sized symphony orchestra and understand that music comes to life when you see it live. The interactive concert from BSO gave children the opportunity to really use their imagination and see instruments that they had never seen before.”

Helen Mead, Music Teacher at Shirley Warren School, says:
“The concert was a fantastic opportunity for over 60 pupils from our school to experience live orchestral music. They were engaged and excited throughout. The year 3 pupils are walking round school singing the Ode to Joy afterward.”


The BSO School’s Concert is one of many inspiring and inclusive live music experiences available to Southampton Schools on the Stadium Tour.

Get hands on with the Bassoon as part of the Beyond Ambition programme
Poster  Flyer Template - Wind Bands - without Text.jpg

Southampton Music Services, lead partner for Southampton Music Hub, is offering future young musicians the opportunity to get hands on with the Bassoon in a free taster session on Saturday 2 February, from 1.30-3pm, at Woodlands Community College.

The free workshop is part of the Beyond Ambition programme: with workshops and masterclasses designed to get children and young people playing ‘endangered’ instruments.

This hands on Bassoon workshop is ideal for young musicians at the start of their musical journey — those currently learning an instrument with their whole class in First Access projects In2Music or SoundBites — and is also open to any future young musicians who might be interested in getting started on this exciting, and lesser known, member of the woodwind family of instruments. No experience is required.

Also part of the Beyond Ambition programme are two masterclasses for more experienced players:

Richard Taunton Sixth Form College Choir launch Southampton's Mayflower 400 Celebrations

On Monday 21 January, the Mayflower 400 project was officially launched in Southampton, and as part of the prestigious and very well attended event in Central Library, Richard Taunton Sixth Form College (RTSFC) Choir was invited to perform by Southampton Music Hub. The choir performed two pieces: Blow the Wind Southerly and I am Sailing. 

The Mayflower 400 commemorations seek to unite the Southampton community and surrounding areas, inspire creativity, drive economic growth, enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding and education of this pivotal moment in history. Driving this is the need to engage with young people and help them to understand Southampton’s relationship with the sea. 

Kath Page, Hub Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“The Mayflower project is about a journey and what better start to our present Mayflower journey than to engage with the wider community through listening to young people singing about the sea. The choir performed beautifully and they should be extremely proud.”

Miriam Kenny, Head of Music and choir leader for RTSFC, says:
“We are delighted to have been asked to perform. I asked the pupils to research songs about the sea and these were two of the songs that they found through their research. One of our singers, Rosie Mellett, wrote and taught the arrangement of We Are Sailing. When asked why she had chosen this particular piece, Rosie said she loved the lyrics, and felt it represented how the Mayflower story is ongoing in Southampton and how culture will keep on going. It was fun to teach and everyone helped out.”

From the Youth Music Blog: a Synthesis project update

In a blog post titled “Developing self-efficacy and collaboration in iPad Bands: a reflection on the first twelve weeks of the Synthesis Project“ on the Youth Music Network, Matt Brombley, Synthesis Project Manager, writes:

In September 2018, Southampton and Isle of Wight Music Hubs launched the Synthesis Project: a Youth Music funded project to help young electronic musicians overcome the challenges they face in life by making music together in iPad clubs, bands and orchestras. In the first twelve weeks of the project, 20 participants have taken part in over 50 hours of electronic music-making.

The band sessions have seen a number of emerging themes — many of which have challenged the whole team to reconsider their preconceptions of what a music-making session can be —  but there are two key pairings of musical and personal development which have had a profound effect on both participants, and session leaders:

1. Self-expression and self-efficacy

2. Composition and collaboration

Celebrating successes from 2018; looking forward to 2019
Christmas 2018 Update Graphic.JPG

The start of the new school year in 2018 has seen some incredible musical moments: both in Southampton and in other international music venues. This year, Southampton’s young musicians really have been putting themselves on the map!

Kath Page, Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“As we share some of our highlights from the start of this year, we also look forward to 2019, working with schools, partners and families to bring life-changing music to every child in our city.

Next year, we are delighted to be sharing the music performed by pupils from across the city at the Albert Hall in 2018 with every child in Southampton, leading to our own massed celebrations at Southampton Guildhall in July 2019.

From everyone at Southampton Music Hub we wish you a very Merry Christmas and an exciting music filled 2019!”

Summer 2018 Review:

News highlights of the year:

From 2018, to 2019 and beyond:

The Everybody Sing Song Bank and Podcast went from strength to strength in 2018, and in 2019 it gets even better!

More new songs and podcast episodes are coming, including songs themed around resilience, and wellbeing, so that children, schools and families go beyond simply enjoying the health and wellbeing benefits of singing together; building a shared understanding of how they help each other to be happier and healthier.

The Stadium Tour brings inspiring musical events touring across the city, and in 2018 it was a bigger and better than ever — hundreds of events in schools across the whole city. The plans for 2019 are even bigger, including two huge celebration events at Southampton Guildhall in July 2019. And, beyond that, there are plans for the Stadium tour to join in as the city celebrates Mayflower 400 in 2019 and beyond.


Launching in 2018, Southampton’s Family Music Programme had some huge achievements in 2018: a huge massed playing event at the Music Fayre, and a huge celebration event at Southampton’s first Family Proms. There are big plans for 2019 in the works — watch this space for more news coming soon!

Matt Brombley
Bitterne Park School bring Festive Feelings to Southampton High Street

From 5.30–6pm this evening — Wednesday 19 December — singers from Bitterne Park School filled Southampton High Street with the sounds of Christmas music, sharing festive feelings with shoppers and families visiting the city centre in the final week before Christmas.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“Bitterne Park School did themselves proud this evening: sharing their musical talents with the city in a show of festive goodwill. It has been a pleasure to work with Go Southampton and Southampton Music Trust to make this series of performances happen this year — long may the partnership continue!”

Talented Young Musician from Southampton secures place in National Children's Orchestra
20180420 Lucy Bassoon.jpg

Talented young musician, Lucy Gowans, has been offered a place in the under 13, National Children’s Orchestra for 2019. 

 Lucy plays the bassoon in three Southampton Music Hub ensembles — Southampton Wind Band (SWB), Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCS) and Southampton Youth Orchestra (SYO) — as well as the violin in Southampton Youth Strings (SYS).  Lucy is also a music award holder.

Zoe Hunting, Service Manager for Southampton Music Services, says:
“We are always delighted to hear of young musicians from Southampton achieving at a national level. Lucy is a dedicated young musician who gives so generously of her time and talents to Southampton’s ensembles and she is an inspiration to the city’s younger players. We wish her all the very best in this exciting venture.”

New string ensemble to launch in 2019 with FolkActive
Folk Active Group Flyer.png

In January 2019, a brand new folk string group launches: the FolkActive Youth Ensemble. The group is for intermediate (grade 3+) violin, viola, cello and double-bass players, and will be led by Chris Nichols of Threepenny Bit.

Music will be leant by ear and then used to explore the wider world of folk music. There will be a book for participants to take home, as well as handouts with extra music covered too.

Sessions will run on once a month, on Sundays, from 10am-1pm, at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, starting on Sunday 13 January 2019. The cost is just £15 per term.