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SMASH Activities 2022

The Surrey Music and Arts in the Summer Holidays (SMASH) activities programme is now available for registration. The activities are taking place in four locations across the county so there are more opportunities to experience DJing, brass and wind instruments, singing, ukulele and being part of a band. The activities are a great way to try different musical instruments and start your musical journey. All instruments and equipment are provided and no previous experience is required to join in and have fun.


26 July at Westfield School in Woking
27 July at Three Rivers School in Hersham, Walton-on-Thames
28 July at Hazelwood School in Oxted
29 July at Glebelands School in Cranleigh


The programme of activities is the same for each location with the exception of Discover Wind and Discover Brass.

The DJ Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
The DJ Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £30
The Band Experience for 11 to 16 year olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £30
Discover Wind (Woking and Walton-on-Thames only) for 8 to 11 years old. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Discover Brass (Oxted and Cranleigh only) for 8 to 11 years olds. 9.30am until 12.30pm. Cost £20
Ukulele Jam for 8 to 11 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20
Singing the Musicals for 8 to 14 year olds. 1.00pm until 4.00pm. Cost £20

Further details about the programme and how to register are available on the Surrey Arts website

Watch our Easter activities short film to see some of the activities.

Success for Surrey Students

It’s been a great year for four Surrey Arts’ students who are members of the Mid Surrey Wind Band. Lucian Green, Duncan McGee, Ryan Troop and Toby Ellwood-Gross have all been accepted into the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO). NCO is made up of young musicians aged 8-14, who come together in three National Symphony Orchestras for residential orchestral activity and in four regional Projects ensembles for non-residential orchestral weekends. 

Their tutor Ian Stott said ‘I’m so pleased to see so many brass students making such amazing progress in the Dorking area. These students have been learning for between 2 and 3 years. I am very proud, as their teacher, of their progress into the National Children’s Orchestra, especially as it is rare for state sector students to get to this level. To have 4 from the same town is wonderful! All 4 have learnt through Surrey Arts.

These successes are a testament to our tutors who dedicate their time to improve the skills of students and enable them to follow their musical ambitions. 

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 FULL
  • Monday 25 April 2022: South East Surrey at Dorking Halls FULL
  • Thursday 28 April 2022: Mole Valley at Dorking Halls FULL
  • Thursday 5 May 2022: East Surrey at Dorking Halls FULL
  • 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 FULL
  • Wednesday 15 June 2022: Mid Surrey at Dorking Halls FULL
  • Thursday 16 June 2022: Surrey Borders at Dorking Halls FULL

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:  

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

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.

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