Okehampton Music Centre

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Okehampton Music Centre is an initiative to encourage young people to get more involved with music. We aim to make learning an instrument affordable for all and to develop players, so that our local, regional, and national ensembles thrive in the future.

We believe that children’s musical journey should start as early as possible. We have groups from 3 to 18 years. If you have a child younger than 3 and you would like them to get involved please get in touch.

Please click on the relevant age group from the list below, to see what we can offer your child(ren).

Junior Music Centre – Age 3 to 7 years (Academic year – pre-school to year 2)

Senior Music Centre – Age 7 to 18 years (Academic year – year 3 to year 13)

Home Education Group

The benefits of engaging in music have been well documented with many studies demonstrating great academic and social outcomes. We believe that Okehampton Music Centre provides fantastic opportunities for young people to make musical progress, explore their creativity and to develop their self-esteem. We hope to ignite a love of music that will last a lifetime through music making, singing and having fun!

Junior Music Centre – Age-3 to 7 years (Academic year-preschool to year 2)

Your child will learn the fundamentals of music to give them all the foundations they need to start learning an instrument. Using songs and rhymes along with fun games and actions they will learn skills such as – keeping a steady beat, pitch matching, dynamics, rhythm and tempo, structure form, harmonies and lots more. The classes that we offer also support the national curriculum for Music education in schools.

Sessions are held during the term time, at Community Links office which is based at The A30 Business Centre. Every Monday after school during term time as follows :-

Age 3 to 5 (academic age – preschool and reception) – 4:00 to 4:30 Age 5 to 7 years (academic age – years 1 and 2) – 4:30 to 5:15

We charge £2 per child per session.

The address for the A30 Business Centre is A30 Business Centre, Higher Stockley Mead, Okehampton EX20 1FJ.

To register your child(ren) for the Junior Music Centre please click this link registration form and complete the form, a member of the team will then contact you to confirm a place.

For more information about the Jolley music series that we use in our teaching please click on this link Find out how Jolly Music can make a difference in your class. (jollylearning.co.uk)

Home Education Group – Age 3 to 7 years

We are happy to run exclusive home education music sessions, please contact me at Isobel@communitylinks-sw.co.uk if you would like to start a group.

We try to have a good balance of flexibility and fun, while also having structure and a plan that enables Musical development. Its also a great time to make new friends and meet other Home Educating families in the area.

As with the Junior Music Centre, we use songs and rhymes along with fun games and actions to teach skills such as – keeping a steady beat, pitch matching, dynamics, rhythm and tempo, structure form, harmonies and lots more.

For more information about the Jolley music series that we use in our teaching, please click on this link Find out how Jolly Music can make a difference in your class. (jollylearning.co.uk)

Sessions cost £2.00 per child per session.

Senior Music Centre – Age 7 to 18 (Academic year 3 to 13)

Pupils will receive high quality group instrument lessons, at Okehampton College on Thursdays after school. Instrumental lessons on various instruments are available for all children in years 3 to 13, including those who are home educated.

New student intake takes place each September. Due to running group lessons we usually don’t take new students mid year but we will try to where possible.

As well as instrumental lessons we also offer weekly Workshops and a choir.

We have mentoring opportunities available for students in year 10 upwards. If your child would be interested please click this link for more information – Mentor-Program

For details of cost and instrument hire please click this link – Cost and Instrument hire.

To join or find out more about the Music Centre please contact our Coordinator, Isobel Plusnin isobel@communitylinks-sw.co.uk. You can also contact Isobel if you are interested in volunteering with us or if you would like to donate an instrument.

If you would like your child to join Music Centre this September (2023) please click this link registration form . We would ask that you complete the application form before 18 August 2023 if possible.

Keep an eye out for taster events, news and opportunities below.

Instrumental Lessons

We teach orchestral instruments, many of which are considered “endangered”. This is often due to a shortage of teachers, the cost of the instruments, and because they are some of the trickier instruments to master. Learning one of these instruments is a great advantage as it results in our students being sort after and brings them so many performance opportunities and later on will open up career opportunities if they chose to go into Music as a profession.

We teach the following instruments :- Viola, Cello, Double Bass (year 6 upwards), Trombone, French Horn, Oboe, Bassoon Recorder and flute.

We aim to plug the gap in ensembles in our schools, the local community, at County level, and even nationally, by developing a new generation of viola, cello, oboe, bassoon, trombone, tuba and French horn players. Recorder is taught as an entry level instrument to those considering the oboe or another woodwind instrument.

To meet our teachers and see what the instruments are like, we have prepared this short video Music Centre Advert – YouTube

Pupils are taught in small groups, and learn the skills required to play in an ensemble right from the start, as well as developing good technique. We also encourage pupils to learn to read music notation and develop a practice ethic which will enable them to make good progress.

Costs and instrument hire

We understand that instrumental lessons are expensive, and our aim is to remove the financial barriers for families that can prevent their children from learning an instrument. We charge a weekly fee of £2 per child. This covers their instrument lesson, Workshop and Choir.

If you need to hire an instrument we can arrange this for you. Various membership options are available to ensure all families can afford for their children to participate as follows.

Bronze Scholarship – For students that have their own instrument – no charge for hiring

Silver Scholarship – We will provide an instrument at the cost of £40 a year.

Gold Scholarship – We will provide an instrument and Music Centre will cover the whole cost of the hire.

There is no means testing or complicated bursary applications. We trust families will choose an option that is both manageable to them, and supportive of the ethos of our project.

We do not want financial issues to be a barrier for any child, so please do not hesitate to contact us in confidence if you have any concerns about costs.

Workshop

There is so much more to being musical than learning an instrument. The workshops focus on encouraging a love of music, an understanding of theory though games and activities, as well as a friendly environment in which to develop pupils’ musical creativity. In the first year of Music Centre students will receive a clear introduction to many musical concepts including:

  • pulse/beat
  • rhythm
  • pitch – the pentatonic scale
  • principles of solfa and handsigns
  • simple time signatures
  • musical terms for dynamics

Twice a year we will have larger workshop groups where students will be invited to use their instruments in the workshop, this brings all the different instruments together, providing a mini orchestral experience.

As well as the obvious musical benefits, the workshops provide a great social experience, bring together different age groups and schools. For our primary school pupils, it’s a great place to make friends from other schools, many of whom will transition to the same secondary school.

Choir

Singing is one of the most accessible ways to enjoy music, and our choir is going from strength to strength. Pupils are taught how to look after their voices, how to hold parts in rounds or multi-part songs and develop a repertoire of music that is fun to sing. New members are always welcome at the choir, and we would also love to hear from experienced singers who would like to help in the choir as student mentors.

Mentor Program

We encourage students in year 10 and above to volunteer with the Music Centre as mentors. Mentors play a vital role at the Centre by encouraging new and less experienced players particularly in the Workshops. They offer a helping hand not just during music centre but also in the wider College community, which helps when students chose to transition into Okehampton College.

Mentors are taught to lead workshops and they are encouraged to help with teaching and performance. Many of our past mentors have benefited from the experience they have gained and it has given them evidence for further education applications, job references and Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Performances

We aim to have regular informal performances to celebrate pupils’ progress with parents, funders and the wider community. We have a concert at the end of the Spring and Summer terms. Our concerts are relaxed and a great place to learn to conquer those stage nerves. We also perform at Okehampton United Charities’ annual Celebration Evening and have participated in performances with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Exeter’s Great Hall.

External Events and Next Steps

We feel that it is important that pupils get to experience the sound of a full orchestra played at a professional level. We organise trips to see Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and encourage pupils to go to watch Exeter Children’s Orchestra and Devon Youth Symphony and Concert Orchestra so that they can see their next steps. Several of our pupils have progressed far enough to join in with these orchestras, and we are thrilled that they are getting even more involved in music making.

Our Partners

We are grateful to Okehampton United Charities, Devon Music Education Hub (DMEH) and the Arts Council for funding our project. Also thank you to www.soundwaves-sw.co.uk who provide us with low cost instrument hire and help with repairs. We are very fortunate to be gifted rehearsal and performance space by Okehampton College.

We also have links with Devon Youth Concert and Symphony Orchestra who have included Okehampton Music Centre in their outreach work. It is fantastic for our pupils to sit beside more experienced pupils and to experience a fuller orchestral sound.

We also watch closely for opportunities with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and have already been to see them play in the Great Hall, Exeter, as well as join in with a workshop and performance with them.

Many of our pupils have caught the orchestral bug, and are also joining in with Exeter Children’s Orchestra which rehearses on a Saturday morning.


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