Posts in Music in the Community
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
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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.”

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
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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.

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
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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"
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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.”

Get hands on with the Bassoon as part of the Beyond Ambition programme
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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

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!”

New string ensemble to launch in 2019 with FolkActive
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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.

Festive feelings arrive at Westquay Retail Park thanks to two young buskers

On Friday 14 December, two young musicians — woodwind players from Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCS) — entertained Christmas shoppers and families in the city centre with a busking performance of festive music outside Decathalon in Westquay Retail Park. A key thoroughfare for shoppers traveling between Westquy and Ikea, the two performers delighted gathered onlookers and those passing by.

This performance was part of a series of musical events in Southampton City Centre, organised by Go Southampton and supported by Southampton Music Trust.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“This was a wonderful performance from two very talented young woodwind players, and a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to enjoy music at this festive time of year.”

Festive feelings come to Guildhall Square as Sholing Ukuleles rock around the Christmas Tree

This evening — Wednesday 12 December — Sholing Ukulele Group brought festive feelings to Guildhall Square, rocking around the Christmas Tree with a rousing set of Christmas and festive songs. The performance, from 5.30-6pm, was part of a December music programme organised by Go Southampton, and supported by the hub and Southampton Music Trust.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:

“Even on a cold December evening, the Ukulele group from Sholing brought a warm excitement that entertained onlookers, skateboarders, shoppers and even attracted passers by to join in singing along.”

St Johns School bring festive feelings to Southampton City Centre

For half an hour this evening — Monday 10 December — St Johns School choir filled Southampton City centre with the beautiful sounds of singing, bringing festive feelings to a busy crowd of parents, shoppers and onlookers. The street concert is the first of five organised in collaboration with Go Southampton and Southampton Music Trust, and will see four city centre spaces play host to music from schools and other young musicians in the lead up to Christmas.

From 5.30-6pm, 30 young singers performed a delightful mix of festive classics, carols and family favourites.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“It is a pleasure to work with Go Southampton on this project. Music is such a magical part of the Christmas season, and this is a great way for young musicians to share their talents with the city.”

Southampton's wind and brass bands perform joint concert

On Saturday 10 November two of the Southampton Music Hub’s flagship ensembles — Southampton Wind Band (SWB) and Southampton Youth Brass Band (SYBB) — presented a joint concert of a wide variety of music from all genres at Chandlers Ford Methodist Church.

Zoe Hunting, Service Manager for Southampton Music Services, say:
“Congratulations to both groups on their stunning performances and a magical evening of music. This was the first of what we hope will be a regular feature in the hubs concert programme of joint performances where students and their parents or carers can appreciate the music making of fellow young musicians from across the hub’s wide variety of orchestras, bands and other music groups.”

Celebrate the upcoming Christmas season with a festive concert for the whole family
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On Saturday 8 December, Southampton Youth Concert Sinfonia (SYCY) present “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”: a festive, family concert at Turner Sims, Southampton. Starting at 7pm, the program features family favourites, including music from “The Grinch”, “The Chronicles of Narnia” and a narrated version of “The Night Before Christmas”.

Matt Brombley, Projects and Partnerships Manager for Southampton Music Hub, says:
“As anyone who was lucky enough to catch their performance of “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” last year will know, SYCS is a phenomenal group of young musicians, who, under the direction of Anna Robinson and Kevin Withell, have an incredible ability to capture and delight audiences of all ages. For all generations, this will be a spectacular concert that will bring the magic of Christmas alive.”