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An exciting time to join Surrey Arts

Surrey Arts are currently going through a transformation to improve its delivery to the county of Surrey. This transformation includes rebuilding a service that is fit for purpose, creating stronger partnerships with schools so that they can respond to new ways of working and build on recent innovation in the sector. As a result a number of new roles have been created to support this vision.

Sarah Lee, Head of Service says ‘We want to ensure that all young people across Surrey have access to high quality music and arts activities. We have exciting plans to grow, diversify and modernise our offer and to help achieve this we have created a number of new exciting roles.’

If you want to make a difference to music education in Surrey and be part of an inspiring, creative arts service then you may be interested in one of the following roles:

Surrey Arts Area Manager

Surrey Arts are seeking an experienced music educator and leader (in any discipline or music tradition) to develop relationships and manage activity in areas across Surrey. This exciting role requires someone who can forge effective working relationships with schools and communities across the Region as well as being innovative and passionate about achieving outstanding musical outcomes for young people.

You will also work with the Surrey Arts Senior Leadership Team, Surrey’s Property Team and other stakeholders to find a venue for a new Area Centre and will lead its development as a beacon for music and arts education in the area. In line with our commitment to diversify our offer and reach underserved communities, you will share our ambition for a significant part of its programme to be co-created with local people and will be responsible for making this a reality. 

For more information please visit the link at: 

Music Curriculum Lead Teacher

Surrey Arts are seeking a demonstrably successful music educator and leader with extensive experience of working in school settings to fulfil the position of a Curriculum Lead who can cover secondary, post-16, and SEND schools to support the delivery of the music curriculum.

The successful applicant will join our Curriculum Team for Surrey Arts Music services and will be working closely with the Inclusion Manager, Vocal Strategy Manager and Digital Music Lead. A significant part of the role will be to develop the Schools’ Music Education Plan and undertake supportive conversations with music leads and senior leaders in schools to strengthen their curriculums and schemes of work, which may involve some demonstration and team teaching.

Qualified Teacher Status is required, along with substantial experience of good practice in at least one key stage of your area of focus and an awareness of curriculum requirements at all key stages.

For more information please visit the link at: 

Instrumental Music Teachers

For teachers with skills and availability to teach one or more of the following:

– Percussion: 1-2 days (Farnham, Guildford and Camberley) daytime and after school teaching as well as Saturday morning. 1:1 and small group teaching; drum kit and orchestral percussion.

– Classical and Contemporary Guitar: 1-2 days (West Surrey, Mid-Surrey or North Surrey) daytime and after school teaching. 1:1 and small group teaching.

– Whole class instrumental teaching: 1-3 days (County-wide) daytime teaching of whole class instrumental learning in ukulele, recorder or orchestral instruments.

– Cello, and some Double Bass: 1-2 days (East Surrey) daytime and after school teaching. Mostly 1:1 with some small group teaching.

– Piano: 1-2 days (East Surrey) daytime and after school teaching. Mostly 1:1 with some small group teaching.

You will teach both online and face-to-face and be part of a forward looking team developing innovative and student centred learning opportunities. For more information please visit the link at: 

Primary Music Festivals Return in 2022

After a two year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Primary Music Festivals will be returning in 2022. The festivals have been running for over 25 years and produce magical evenings for schools to come together and sing in front of packed audiences in Surrey venues such as Dorking Halls.

With George Jones retiring, our new conductor, Cole Bendall, has put together a wonderful programme of music including “My Planet, Your Planet”, by composer Teresa Jennings which uses music to remind us all of how important it is that we look after our planet and our environment. The second half of the programme will feature a mix of traditional songs from all corners of the world – bringing a message of unity and understanding in celebrating all that we share. Scores will be made available from mid-November.

The festivals are very popular and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so don’t delay and join us at one of our 9 events for schools in the following areas:

  • Wednesday 23 March 2022: Woking/Godalming at Dorking Halls
  • Monday 25 April 2022: South East Surrey at Dorking Halls 1 school place remaining
  • Thursday 28 April 2022: Mole Valley at Dorking Halls 1 school place remaining
  • Thursday 5 May 2022: East Surrey at Dorking Halls 1 school place remaining
  • Monday 9 May 2022: Elmbridge at Dorking Halls FULL
  • Monday 16 May 2022: West Surrey at Princes Hall, Aldershot FULL
  • Monday 23 May 2022: Epsom & Ewell at Dorking Halls 1 school place remaining
  • Wednesday 15 June 2022: Mid Surrey at Dorking Halls
  • Thursday 16 June 2022: Surrey Borders at Dorking Halls

Find out more about the festivals, how to register and the support resources available.

Music disability charity OHMI celebrates ten years of inclusive music-making  

Disabled music charity The OHMI Trust, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in matching disabled musicians with the adapted instruments they need to make music.  

The charity was established in 2011, with no money, only two trustees, and two volunteers. Fast forward ten years, and this small but ambitious charity has much to celebrate.  

It is unique in the breadth of support it offers to disabled child and adult musicians, with its impact felt across teaching, research and development, and awareness raising. The charity’s biennial competition, which supports the development of musical instruments that can be played without the use of one hand or arm, attracts entries from across the globe. Its popular Music-Makers and Inclusive Access to Music-Making programmes gain momentum each and every year, reaching new musicians across England and Wales. Its hire scheme offers an impressive 300 instruments and pieces of enabling equipment; a number that will only grow through the development of further instruments through OHMI’s research partnership with Queen Mary University, London and Birmingham City University. It is this wide-ranging work that led to the charity receiving recognition in The House of Lords.  

These impressive milestones will be marked at OHMI’s 2021 Competition Awards and Tenth Anniversary Celebrations, taking place on Saturday, 25th September. The event, which will be held at Aston University, will also be live-streamed from 6pm BST, and is expected to attract musicians and representatives from musical organisations from around the world. 

The event will include performances from the talented OHMI musical community, as well as an announcement on the winners of the 2021 Competition, along with demonstrations of their equipment. 

Melissa Johns, British actor and disability activist, best known for her roles in Coronation Street, BBC drama Life, and, most recently, Celebrity Masterchef, will be hosting the event.  

As Rachel Wolffsohn, OHMI’s Manager, explains, 

“Melissa is a proud champion of the rights of disabled people, so she was the perfect choice in helping OHMI to bang the drum for inclusive music-making. Hosting the event, for the first time, as a blended live and broadcast event, will allow us to share the celebrations with a global audience, reflecting the truly international nature of the competition entries over the years.” 

Registrations for the event can be submitted here: https://bit.ly/3ANUZ3A.  

Funding secured to support music opportunities for displaced children in Surrey

Surrey Arts is delighted to share the fantastic news that, in partnership with Big Leaf Foundation, just under £45k in funding has been secured to support displaced children in Surrey.  The funding from Youth Music will support a Syrian Youth Ensemble (Together at Home) and Music Connects, a project which brings asylum seeking children and local young people together to make music together.

Syrian Youth Ensemble 

The project will use music as a tool to increase life opportunities for Syrian refugee children who are now living in Surrey. Surrey Arts will equip the service to deliver one to one ensemble and performance opportunities with supported pathways into future music activities. 

The new programme will support the children with music and life skills so that they can access the diverse range of opportunities available to them through Surrey Music Hub and partners. The programme will fund specialist support for the participants and the embedded professional development ensures that this expertise is shared so that as a service Surrey Arts is better equipped to support more children from refugee backgrounds into the future.

Music Connects 

Music Connects is a collaborative song writing project for young people from local and displaced communities, who will work together across language and cultural barriers to write, perform and record a song reflecting the input of everyone in this diverse group. The project will be led by professional musicians from different musical backgrounds. 

Surrey Arts Inclusion Lead Jim Pinchen said “This funding is highly competitive and we’re delighted and grateful that Youth Music recognises Surrey Arts as an a key organisation to lead on this important strand of work”

This project is backed by Youth Music, thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

About Youth Music

Youth Music is a national charity funded thanks to the National Lottery via Arts Council England, players of People’s Postcode Lottery and support from partners, fundraisers and donors.

Easter Music Programme for 2021

Usually at this time of year we are getting ready for the annual Surrey Arts Easter Music week, a fun packed week of a variety of residential and non-residential music courses and workshops. Unfortunately due to the current lockdown the week has had to be cancelled for a second year. However, following the success of last summer’s online music and art activities (SMASH) we will be running an exciting week of workshops and videos from Monday 12 – Friday 16 April. These activities will include music production & music composition, multiple singing workshops, arts workshops, piano tasters, Celtic folk strings and much, much more. Registration is required for the live sessions and you can watch the recorded video tuitions for free by following Surrey Arts on social media. The timetable and registration details are now available.

Special Pilot Programme of Award-Winning “Singing Playgrounds”

In 2021, Surrey Arts is bringing the award-winning project Singing Playgrounds to Surrey primary schools through a new Covid-19 friendly online resource created by Ex Cathedra Education. 

Schools will have access to an online resource including a series interactive teaching films, demonstrations, 30 KS1 and KS2 lesson plans, and instrumental backing tracks. At the press of a button teachers will have the Singing Playgrounds team within the classroom, on the whiteboard, leading and teaching the children.  

Singing together releases oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) while reducing cortisol (a stress-related hormone). Singing-play is a very special way for children to improve their wellbeing, develop musicianship and vocal skills as well as personal and social skills.  

Singing Playgrounds is brilliant. I wish I could wave a wand and have it magically appear in every primary school in the country now.’  Howard Goodall CBE, National Ambassador for Singing 2007-2011

Schools enrolling on the pilot programme will receive one year’s access to the online resource at a discounted rate of £50 (half off the usual £100/year). Your one-year subscription will start from the beginning of the Autumn 2021 term.

To enrol your school at the special discounted rate you will need to apply through Surrey Arts using the application form available here. Register now to begin a new subscription starting with the Autumn 2021 term.

Online Activities for Half-term

During February half-term Surrey Arts is providing an online programme of musical activities which will run from 15 – 19 February. Pre-recorded sessions will be released throughout the week via Surrey Arts’ social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) as well as a LIVE demo of musical instruments. No need to register, just join us on social media.

Monday 15 February
10am: Percussion – Make your own instruments!
Explore beat-making with everyday items you have at home and create different sounds. Learn a beat! Mix up your sounds!

12pm: Flamenco with a Middle Eastern Twist
An introduction to flamenco music and dance with a Middle Eastern twist with Sara Khoroosi, Fergus Paton and Waffa Paton.

2pm: Guitar ‘A single chord song’
Learn to play a song using just one chord with James Harrison.

Tuesday 16 February
10am: Introduction to piano jazz improvisation
Dave Marsden provides an introduction to Jazz improvisation with the blues scale in C.

12pm: Music from Africa
An insight into just a few of the immense rhythms and music from the vast African continent with Liz Ikamba and Muntu Valdo.

2pm: Percussion – Simple rock rhythm
How to make and build simple rock rhythm using just hands and feet with Surrey Arts’ drum tutor, Ginger.

Wednesday 17 February
10am: Introduction to drum-kit
Percussion tutor Sandro Granda introduces the 5-piece electric drum kit, providing a short breakdown and demonstration of each drum as well as a variety of rudimentary principles and techniques commonly used when playing the instrument.

12pm: A beginner’s guide to piano
Are you thinking about starting piano lessons or have a piano or keyboard at home but are not sure where to begin. In this video you’ll be shown some simple ideas suitable for beginners, to help you get going.

Thursday 18 February
10am: Guitar – A two chord song
Play a song by learning two guitar chords with guitar tutor James Harrison.

12pm: Music from Latin America
Sandro Granda and Franklin Quezada present Music from Latin America. Intro Song: Tinku, played in the Quechua language. Tinku means meeting-encounter. Outro Song: Orquidea, composed by Hugo Blanco (Venezuela), performed by Carlos Rangel.

2pm: Percussion – Big bash drumming
Description: An introduction to drumming through the fantastic world of Drumline!
Equipment: A pair of drumsticks and a practice pad/snare/table/chopping board/something to hit!

Friday 19 February
10am: Body percussion
Surrey Arts’ percussion teacher Mike Wheeler gives a demonstration and mini-lesson to help you get started with body percussion — use your body to build up a groove!

12pm: Music from the Middle East
Raghad Haddad and Bassel Haddad present Music from Syria and the Middle-East, with a number of guest musicians from the London Syrian Ensemble (performing Tahmil Hijaz) demonstrating many of the instruments discussed throughout the video.

2pm: Piano – Learn to play Happy Birthday
Learn to play a simple version of Happy Birthday, with Surrey Arts’ piano teacher Simon Gould

Singing Picnics return for Summer 2021

Surrey Arts are delighted to see the return of Singing Picnics after last year’s events were cancelled due to the coronavirus. Surrey Arts has been hosting these informal singing events for primary schools across Surrey for the last few years giving young people the chance to sing and have fun together outdoors.

Singing Picnics are a fun-filled and informal way for KS2 children from your school to enjoy singing with others in a beautiful outdoor setting with other schools from your area. Children play singing games, perform songs to each other, sing together, and enjoy a picnic lunch followed by more singing games. 

Singing Picnics provide opportunities to:

  • Perform a song to others in an informal setting
  • Listen to the performances of others
  • Sing a group song learned by call and response on the day
  • Engage in singing games led by vocal tutors
  • Engage in healthy outdoor activities.

Children from schools prepare one song to share at the picnic, and are taught other songs and singing games on the day by professional vocal leaders.

Singing Picnics are currently planned for Elmbridge, Tandridge and Runnymede, and we will be releasing details of three more Singing Picnic locations in the upcoming weeks. Find out more about the picnics on the events page.

The application deadline for the Elmbridge Singing Picnic is Friday 26 February 2021 and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To attend please email surreyarts@surreycc.gov.uk.

Please be assured that the events will be following government guidance on the safe management of outdoor events very closely.  Surrey Arts will regularly update risk assessments in the light of this guidance to ensure the health and safety of those who attend.  The event will not go ahead if it isn’t safe to do so.

Ensemble Open Rehearsal Week

Ensembles are a fantastic way to develop techniques and skills as well as making friends and having fun with other musicians. Surrey Arts has a variety of groups across the whole of Surrey for all abilities, from beginners to those who have reached Grade 8 and above. 

Since we have been in lockdown, Surrey Arts ensembles have moved online which has been greatly appreciated by students and parents: ‘Now more than ever, the power of music is invaluable, and the Wind Band meetings my son has attended via Zoom have been outstanding.’ 

Leading up to Christmas many of the ensembles recorded films for a three day online concert which was a new way to perform to parents and families. You can see these films on the Surrey Arts Youtube Channel.

From Saturday 6 February to Saturday 13 February there is the chance to visit our ensembles online via Zoom and take part in a rehearsal.

If you are currently learning an instrument or enjoy singing please contact Alison Harding alison.harding@surreycc.gov.uk. There are details provided below about each ensemble and their current Zoom rehearsal time. New members are welcome at any time, so if you can’t make these dates please get in touch and we will offer an alternative session.

West Surrey

Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Juniors:
Beginner to Grade 2
Saturday 6 February
9.30 – 10.30am

Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Intermediates:
Grade 2 to 5
Friday 6 February
11am – 12pm

Camberley Youth Wind Orchestra Seniors:
Grade 5+
Saturday 6 February
9.30 – 10.30am

Surrey Percussion and Rhythm Crew (SPARC):
Less experienced players
Saturday 6 February
12.30 – 1.15pm

West Surrey Training Wind Band:
Grade 2 – 5
Thursday 11 February
5.30 – 6.30pm

West Surrey Wind Band:
Grade 5+
Thursday 11 February
5.30 – 6.30pm
South West Surrey

Surrey Youth Training Choir:
Aged 9 to 13
Wednesday 10 February
6.45 – 7.30pm

Brass Routes:
Beginner – Grade 2
Tuesday 9 February
6 – 7pm


South West Surrey

South West Surrey Concert Band – Juniors:
Grade 1 to 4
Saturday 6 February
9.30 – 10.30am

South West Surrey Concert Band – Seniors:
Grade 5 to 8:
Saturday 6 February
9.30 – 10.30am

South West Surrey Youth Orchestra:
Grade 5+
Wednesday 10 February
6.45 – 7.45pm

South West Winds (Woodwind, Brass and Percussion):
Beginner – Grade 4
Wednesday 10 February
5.30 – 6.15pm

Prima Strings:
Beginner – Grade 2
Wednesday 10 February
5.30 – 6.15pm

Opus Strings:
Grade 2 to 4
Wednesday 10 February
5.30 – 6.15pm


South East Surrey

Reigate String Orchestra – Preludes:
Beginner – Grade 1.
Thursday 11 February
4.15 – 5pm

Reigate String Orchestra – Juniors:
Grade 1 to 3
Thursday 11 February
5.15 – 6pm

Reigate String Orchestra – Intermediates:
Grade 3 to 5
Thursday 11 February
6.15 – 7pm

Reigate String Orchestra – Seniors:
Grade 5 to 8
Thursday 11 February
6.15 – 7pm

Mid Surrey Wind Band (Woodwind, Brass and Percussion):
All abilities
Tuesday 9 February
4.30 – 5.30pm

Blast Off (Wind, Brass and Percussion):
Beginners
Thursday 11 February
5 – 5.45pm

South East Surrey Area Winds (Wind, Brass & Percussion):
Grade 4+
Thursday 11 February
6 – 7pm


North Surrey

Junior Wind Band:
Grade 2 to 5
Saturday 6 February
10 – 11.00am

Senior Wind Band:
Grade 4+
Saturday 6 February
10 – 11.00am

Crafty Clarinets:
Grade 5+
Saturday 6 February
11.30am – 12.15pm

Junior String Orchestra:
Grade 1 to 4
Saturday 6 February
9.45 – 10.30am

Senior String Orchestra:
Grade 4+
Saturday 6 February
9 – 9.45am

Junior Guitar Ensemble:
Beginner to Grade 3
Saturday 6 February
9.45 – 10.45am

Senior Guitar Ensemble:
Grade 3+
Friday 12 February
6.15 – 7.15pm


County Ensembles

UP! Orchestra Orchestra:
For young people with SEND
Saturday 13 February
10.30am – 12noon

Surrey County Youth Jazz Orchestra:
Grade 6+
Wednesday 10 February
7 – 8.30pm

Surrey Advanced Brass Ensemble:
Grade 6+
Sunday 7 February
2 – 3pm

Surrey County Youth Orchestra:
Grade 7+
Friday 12 February
7 – 8.30pm

Surrey Youth Choir:
Grade 5+
Wednesday 10 February
7.30 – 8.30pm

Surrey County Youth Percussion Ensemble:
Grade 6+
Saturday 6 February
1.15 – 2pm

Surrey County Youth Wind Orchestra:
Grade 6+
Friday 12 February
6.45 – 7.45pm


Vocal and Percussion

Surrey Percussion and Rhythm Crew (SPARC):
Less experienced players
Saturday 6 February
12.30 – 1.15pm

Surrey Youth Training Choir:
Aged 9 to 13
Wednesday 10 February
6.45 – 7.30pm

Together at Home for SEN:
Ages 9 – 19. Attending Special Schools in Surrey.
Tuesday 9 February
5 – 6pm

Just So Singers:
SEND choir for ages 9 – 19
Wednesday 10 February
5 – 6pm


Visit Surrey Arts to see regular rehearsal times

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