Schools Newsletter

September 2023

Welcome to our first newsletter of the new academic year! Please see below for information about upcoming events and opportunities. You will find information both about Surrey Arts activities and also that of other local, regional and national partners. Do get in touch via if you need any further information.

John Stephens

Curriculum Manager Surrey Arts and Lead for Culture Box Surrey


  • Surrey Arts: The Start of a Musical Journey
  • Two key events for Surrey schools at the Yehudi Menuhin School
  • Calling all Surrey Young Composers!
  • Surrey Arts Welcomes Lin Marsh for the 2024 Primary Music Festival Concerts!
  • Royal Opera House Create and Sing 2024
  • Surrey Arts launches new vocal group for Care Leavers
  • Tuned Percussion for hire & Yamaha Electone Electric Organ offered
  • Surrey Arts CPD for teachers – full list of CPD events already confirmed for Autumn 2023

Surrey Arts: The start of a musical journey

Everyday we hear music through our phones, or on radio, television, film, social media, advertising or gaming. Apart from the many benefits of learning to play an instrument – such as having a positive effect on all aspects of a child’s learning – it can create amazing opportunities and be an exciting journey leading to a variety of careers. Inspiration to learn can come from hearing a piece of music, seeing someone perform or even finding an instrument in a school cupboard. 

Surrey Arts have helped to start the journeys of thousands of young people for over 50 years and teach in schools and music centres across the county. We help young people to develop their playing skills, express themselves and create music. 

We are passionate about ensuring all young people can benefit from learning to play an instrument, so we provide a range of support such as; 

  • Enabling families to pay for lessons and activities in instalments to spread the cost 
  • Providing concessions available for families on low incomes, Looked After Children and Surrey Young Carers to help support costs. 
  • Link with a number of local charitable trusts which offer financial support to encourage young people to learn music.
  • Providing low cost instrument hire, and free hire to those on a concession.  

In addition to lessons, there are also other opportunities to play and develop skills in one of Surrey Arts’ 40 ensembles which cater for all different abilities and instruments all over the county. 

In a recent survey comments from customers were very complimentary about the quality of service Surrey Arts provides:

  • ‘The teachers are really enthusiastic, patient and friendly and obviously inspired by sharing their musical skills with others. My son looks forward to his lessons every week. Thank you!’
  • ‘Lessons are fun, inspiring, varied, encompass a wide range of music, are well organised & carefully structured, are tailored to each child’s ability and interest.’  
  • ‘Amazing teacher – really well organised and wonderful service.’

We would appreciate if you could forward the above article to your parents and direct them to the Surrey Arts website to register for music lessons or ensembles.  

If you would like to explore music lessons at your school, contact Surrey Arts by email:

Two key events for Surrey schools at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham

Composition Workshop in The Menuhin Hall

Audience: KS4 and KS5

John Cooney (head of composition) runs a lecture-recital aimed at GCSE/A level composers, with live demonstrations from our students. Working through the year to record participants’ compositions in the spring term. Thursday October 5th is the inaugural session for the year, with a 10.30 start, time for lunch, and then an invitation to watch that day’s lunchtime concert starting at 13.15 start.

Learning Carols and The Snowman

Audience: All

On Friday 8 December, the Yehudi Menuhin School are inviting Surrey schools to join their double bill: learning carols with their Junior Orchestra accompanying, and a screening of The Snowman with live music.  There are two opportunities to join this event, with showings starting at 10.30 or 13.30, each an hour long.

For further information and to arrange for your school to enjoy either of these events, please contact, Community Partnerships Coordinator at YMS.

Calling all Surrey Young Composers!

Audience: older primary upwards

The 2024 Surrey Hills Young Composer Competition is now open for submissions from composers aged 18 and under (at the closing date of 23 February) and living or studying at a Surrey postcode. Submitted works should be for piano (solo or four hands) and between 2.5 and 5 mins long on the theme of ‘Celebration’, to mark the Surrey Hills International Music Festival’s 15th season in May 2024.

The winning work will be premiered as part of the festival’s 2024 programme, at The Menuhin Hall, Stoke d’Abernon on Thursday 16 May, and the winner and two runners-up will receive concert tickets and cash prizes.

A shortlist of entries will be judged by an eminent jury including composers Huw Watkins, Stephen Goss and Natalie Klouda, alongside the Festival’s Artistic Director and pianist Wu Qian, and results will be announced in March.

For more details on how to enter and full Ts & Cs, please visit Surrey Hills Young Composer Competition 2024 – Surrey Hills International Music Festival ( or email with any queries.

Surrey Arts Welcomes Lin Marsh for the 2024 Primary Music Festival Concerts!

Audience: Primary

We are delighted to announce the return of beloved composer, conductor and educator, Lin Marsh as our guest Music Director for the 2024 Primary Music Festival concerts! Schools can look forward to a programme packed with favourites from the world of music theatre and film, as well as Lin’s own catalogue of much-loved songs. 

Keep your eye on your email inbox for the 2024 dates and application forms, and be sure to get your application submitted quickly to ensure your school’s place! Visit our website to find out more.

Royal Opera House Create and Sing 2024 

Inspired by Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute

Audience: KS1 and KS2

Create & Sing (is an accessible approach that combines singing and drama to build pupils’ self-expression, creative collaboration, performance confidence, voice, movement, and memory skills. It is part of the award-winning ROH National Schools Programme.

You can get your school involved by attending the Surrey CPD day: a full day of certified, in-person training with ROH professionals. No familiarity with opera is needed. Suitable for class teachers and Music Leads.  4 October, 9am – 3pm at the Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham. Find out more and book your FREE place

Highly Commended in the Teach Primary Awards, 2022

“When the Royal Opera House say that opera is for everyone, they really walk the talk. Clearly structured lesson plans with all supporting interactive material make using these resources a faff-free experience for teachers.” Teach Primary 2022 judging panel

Find out more on the ROH website

Surrey Arts launches new vocal group for Care Leavers

Audience: Post 16

Nu Vox is an exciting new group for Care Leavers in Surrey aged 16-25. We are launching the group with a taster session at Phoenix Cultural Centre, Woking on 26th October 2023 as part of National Care Leavers Week 2023. The group will be led by a talented care experienced leader. If you know a young person who would be interested, please encourage them to sign up via this form:

Tuned percussion for hire 

We have 2 whole class sets of Percussion plus tuned percussion for hire.  The sets include a range of bass, alto and soprano xylophones and metallophones – perfect for whole class music making! 

If you would like to hire one of these sets for a term, or longer as required, please contact our Instrument Hire store on

Offered: Electone Yamaha Electric Organ

Following the relocation of Surrey County Council, this Electone Yamaha Electric Organ was removed from the decommissioned County Hall and now needs a new home.

If anyone knows of anywhere it could be useful, please email


Creating a primary school music development plan with the Surrey Curriculum Evaluation Tool

Audience:  Primary

Tuesday 19th September 4pm-5.30pm via Zoom

Session leader:  Alex Bondonno

This session is a repeat of our workshop on creating Music Plans which we ran last Spring, but now referencing the Surrey Local Area Music Plan. The National Plan for Music Education indicates that all schools should have a music development plan in place by Sept 2023. We will guide you through approaches to putting a plan in place using the Surrey Music Curriculum Evaluation Tool as a guide. This will be a discursive session where you can reflect on your development goals working in groups with other teachers.

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form

Vocal Health and Confidence for Teachers

Audience:  All

Wednesday 20th September 4pm-5.30pm 

Session leader:  Esther Jones

Venue:  St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Linkfield Lane, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 1EA

Start the school year off with vocal health and confidence! Led by Esther Jones (National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and recent presenter at our Surrey Music Conference) this is a session full of tips and techniques to keep your voice healthy when speaking and singing, and to build your confidence in exploring your singing voice. An invaluable session for all those who use their voice for hours each day in working with children.

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form

An Introduction to the Original Scheme for Primary Charanga

Audience:  Primary

Tuesday 26th September 4pm-5.30pm 

Session leader:  Tim Bond

Venue: St James CofE primary Weybridge, Weybridge KT13 8PL

Explore the learning activities in the Units of Work and how the Original Scheme is structured.

In this overview you will discover how the learning is structured and progresses across the whole Scheme. We will look in detail at the learning activities in the Units of Work and the supporting documentation. This session is ideal for those who are new to Musical School or the Original Scheme.

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form

Primary Music Network

Audience:  Primary

Wednesday 27th September 4pm-5.30pm via Zoom

Session Leader:  Alex Bondonno

For all primary music teachers and music leaders in Surrey schools to discuss practical ways to provide a music provision in their school. We invite primary schools to present case studies and facilitate discussion on the current challenges, needs and seek to find solutions. Will include a presentation from Kapow Music. Full agenda will be confirmed near the time. Send any points you would like discussed or case study ideas to

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form

New Music Coordinator Workshop

Audience:  Primary

Monday 2nd October 4pm-5.30pm via Zoom

Session Leader:  Alex Bondonno & Kate Sweeney

New to being a music coordinator? Want practical ideas on how to take on this role at your school? Perhaps you have been in the role for a while, but would like more support and ideas? Whether you are a musician or not taking on the challenge of leading music at a school can be a daunting task, but highly rewarding! This workshop will give you practical ideas on how to be an effective music leader for your school, looking at curriculum, instrumental uptake, choirs and ensembles and just getting music happening in your school.

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form

Royal Opera House Create and Sing CPD Workshop Day

Audience:  Primary (KS1 and KS2)

Wednesday 4th October 9am-3pm

Session Leader:  Royal Opera House

Venue: Yehudi Menuhin School, Cobham Road Stoke D’Abernon, Cobham KT11 3QQ  

Create & Sing is an accessible approach that combines singing and drama to build pupils’ self-expression, creative collaboration, performance confidence, voice, movement, and memory skills. It is part of the award-winning ROH National Schools Programme. Teachers are invited to attend a full day of certified, in-person training with ROH professionals at no charge. No familiarity with opera is needed. Suitable for class teachers and Music Leads. 

Find out more and book your FREE place

Delivering ‘In House’ whole class ensemble teaching at your school

Audience:  Primary

Wednesday 25th October 4pm-5pm via Zoom

Session Leader:  Alex Bondonno

Through 2023-24 we will be running a series of workshops looking at developing teacher skills to deliver ‘in house’ Whole Class Ensemble Teaching style music lessons at your school. This session looks at what this might mean for your school, including potential benefits and problems you might face in delivery and support might need when teaching a whole class on instruments as a specialist music or generalist teacher.

Sign up via Autumn 2023 CPD form


Introducing the Music of the 2024 Primary Music Festival – Wednesday 15 November, 4-5.30pm

Singing and Teenage Vocal Change – Thursday 30 November, 3.45-5.15pm