Beat goes on for music service pupils

Wolverhampton Music Service is helping to ensure the beat goes on for its pupils during the coronavirus lockdown.

With schools currently closed to the vast majority of pupils, the service has gone digital, creating over 150 tutorials posted online on its YouTube channel – https://bit.ly/2ze5G4Y – catering for all instruments and levels.

It is also launching #WMSHomeconcerts, putting together performances by pupils, teachers and alumni to broadcast on YouTube over the coming weeks. The first event takes place this week featuring Year 13 students who were invited to send in short videos of them playing music. These have been edited into a pre-recorded hour-long concert which will be broadcast at 6pm tomorrow (Wednesday 6 May).

And in two weeks' time it will be hosting a ‘virtual’ version of its annual Singing In The Rain showcase, a celebration of the vocal talents of pupils in the city's primary and special schools which ordinarily would be held in Queen Square. This year, the songs will be broadcast on YouTube at 11.30am on Tuesday 19 May – the same time and date the Queen Square event was scheduled to have taken place. It will give children at home and school the chance to get involved in some singing.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago tutors joined together to serenade pupils from home with a special remote performance of the Stevie Wonder classic Sir Duke; the resulting video can be seen at https://bit.ly/3fmWuvC.

Ciaran O'Donnell, Head of Wolverhampton Music Service, said: "Our staff miss their children and the schools they work with, and we are doing all we can to help them continue to learn at home.

"There are now almost 160 online tutorials which are tailored to students of all ages and are proving really popular, and through our new #WMSHomeconcerts programme we hope to involve as many of our musicians as we can. We're starting with our Year 13 students which will be particularly poignant for staff as we probably won’t have a chance to say a proper goodbye to them this year.

"Naturally, we hope it won't be too long before we can work more closely once again with all our wonderful pupils and schools but, in the meantime, we are pleased that we are able to continue to support them all from afar."

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "It's great to see the creative ways that schools across our city are keeping in touch and supporting their pupils at this time. Music is a particularly important part of a young person's education, and our Music Service is doing all it can to ensure students can continue their learning journey – and showcase their talents – throughout the coronavirus lockdown."

Wolverhampton Music Service provides quality teaching for children and young people across the city, including the chance to perform with Wolverhampton Youth Orchestra and Wolverhampton Youth Wind Orchestra. To find out more, please visit www.wolverhamptonmusicservice.org.uk.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

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