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SMASH Activities 2021

This summer we are partnering with Active Surrey as part of Surreys Club4 programme by providing three weeks of music, dance and food holiday activities for children across Surrey. Each day there will be music and dance activities led by professional teachers and performers and participants will be provided with a hot meal and snacks as part of the course and explore how we can eat more healthily!

Participants aged 8 to 18 years old can register for single days or a whole four-day course and the activities will focus on:

Dance: Street / Jazz / World: Keep active and healthy, dancing to amazing music and performing.

Music: Rock Bands, World Percussion, Your Voice: Each day take part in music workshops exploring and performing in different styles. Play as part of a rock band, sing in the Your Voice choir and perform drumming from West Africa and South America.

Grand finale: Every Thursday at the end of the four-day programme there will be a performance open to friends and family. Participants will perform the music they have learnt and created during the course of the week.

Dates and venues

St Bedes School, Redhill: Monday 26 to Thursday 29 July

Cordwalles Junior School, Camberley: Monday 2 to Thursday 5 August

Three Rivers Academy, Walton-on-Thames: Monday 9 to Thursday 12 August

Times: 10am to 2.30pm

Cost: £45 per day or £135 for 4 days in one week

Free places are available for eligible free school meal children.

Find out about eligibility criteria for low income support,

To register please complete the registration form

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 summer 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

The deadline for applications taking advantage of the introductory rate for the start of summer term is Wednesday 21 April 2021.

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

Double nomination for Surrey Arts at Music & Drama Education Awards 2021

Surrey Arts are delighted to be shortlisted for not one but two national awards at the Music & Drama Education Awards 2021. The Music & Drama Education Awards celebrate the extraordinary contribution made by professionals, companies, charities, schools and other organisations to the lives of others through the medium of music and drama.

Head of Service Sarah Lee says ‘We are hugely proud to be shortlisted for two awards! We have an amazing inclusion team who have worked really hard to support young people during these challenging times. We are passionate about the impact music can have on young people’s lives and we are thrilled that our commitment has been recognised through this nomination’

Surrey Arts have been shortlisted in the category for Outstanding Musical Initiative with the Surrey Arts Online Inclusion Programme and the UP! Orchestra shortlisted in the Excellence in SEND (Music & Drama) category for their Music of Black Origin Programme.

Jim Pinchen UP! Orchestra Programme Lead said ‘We know that music of Black origin continues to inspire our children and young people and it’s been a privilege to explore the roots of some of these genres with out talented participants. We were delighted that our programme has been recognised and selected by the judging panel and we look forward to sharing our learning with colleagues and children and young people across our diverse county in the future. 

The organisers write: “The Surrey Arts Online Inclusion Programme has been shortlisted in the category Outstanding Musical Initiative and the UP! Orchestra for their Music of Black Origin Programme has been shortlisted in the category Excellence in SEND (Music & Drama).  This is a tremendous achievement against extremely tough competition this year, congratulations! 

The awards will be premiered live at 6.00pm on the 24th March 2021 at https://www.musicdramaedawards.com/ and Facebook Live.”

UPDATED DATES Join the Royal Opera House for Create and Sing, Surrey Music Hub 2021

Due to the current lockdown some of the online training dates for Create and Sing have been changed.

Join the Royal Opera House for a two-part virtual CPD training course exploring our Create and Sing creative learning programme (KS1-KS3). Our specialist ROH drama and music practitioners introduce the programme, pedagogy and resources and guide teachers through effective approaches to supporting students’ creative learning by exploring opera.

Create and Sing is an innovative drama and singing programme supporting young people’s creative learning and giving voice to their creativity. Our nationally and freely available teacher training and resources engage schools in a creative process leading towards creating opera in the classroom. Teachers are not required to have specialist music training as our free certified training and unique online resources help guide them through the programme every step of the way.

Watch our video here to hear what teachers say about the programme.

Create and Sing’s Covid-19 adaptations

Due to the current lockdown, the Royal Opera House have had to revise the CPD schedule, moving dates to the end of this term and the start of next. Please note if you had previously booked onto a CPD the dates may have changed (more details below). Only one Surrey date has changed, but the online Surrey sessions will also be opened up to other schools nationally.

Create and Sing has adapted this year, with training taking place through virtual twilight sessions and schools projects starting in the summer or beyond. Create and Sing virtual training brings teachers together to explore, learn, share and have some fun during this difficult time of separation.

With many schools facing curriculum time pressures but also looking for a special, engaging and rewarding project for the summer, the training focuses on our Explorer (5-week lesson plan) schemes of work. These lead teachers and students through creative learning programmes with a range of curriculum links. Teachers do not need to commit to running a school project this summer to attend the training; all are welcome.

To Register…

Create and Sing works with partner organisations to bring teachers in local areas together for training. Where possible we ask teachers book on to their area training dates, but if you are unable to make these, there are also nationally open dates below. Places are free, booked via Eventbrite and allocated on a first come first served basis:

Surrey Music Hub dates

Create and Sing Carmen part 1

18/03/2021 16:30 – 18:30 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roh-create-and-sing-carmen-cpd-surrey-music-hub-part-1-of-2-tickets-131844643879

Create and Sing Carmen part 2

21/04/2021 16:30 – 18:30 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roh-create-and-sing-carmen-cpd-part-2-of-2-surrey-music-hub-tickets-131845301847

National training dates

Create and Sing Hansel & Gretel part 1

17/03/2021 16:00-18:00 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roh-create-and-sing-hansel-gretel-cpd-open-nationally-part-1-of-2-tickets-136815678377

Create and Sing Hansel & Gretel part 2

29/03/2021 16:00-18:00  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/create-and-sing-hansel-gretel-cpd-open-nationally-part-2-of-2-tickets-136816105655

Create and Sing Carmen part 1

18/03/2021 16:30-18:30 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roh-create-and-sing-carmen-cpd-open-nationally-part-1-of-2-tickets-136816540957

Create and Sing Carmen part 2

21/04/2021 16:30-18:30 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roh-create-and-sing-carmen-cpd-open-nationally-part-2-of-2-tickets-136816432633

Surrey Arts lessons moved online during lockdown

A new year and another lockdown! Before the end of last term, the Surrey Arts team had been working really hard programming in lessons but the latest lockdown has meant many lessons due to take place in schools will now be changed. Fortunately the online learning platform Surrey Arts introduced in April last year is available and there are many advantages to continuing to learn in this way.

Here are some of the reasons why the Surrey Arts online teaching can be really beneficial:

  • Musical activity and learning is a big boost for well-being, especially during the winter months
  • By moving online, your child’s musical learning won’t be interrupted, so they will continue to progress
  • Our teachers now have a lot of experience teaching online and can help children and parents/ carers with any concerns and we also offer a technical support phone line for parents/carers experiencing technical difficulties
  • Many students and parents/ carers have told us that the online lessons have helped them to become better players and more secure in their own learning
  • Music lessons are a great brain break for children during a day of school work
  • Parents/ carers have told us that they enjoy being able to hear what their children are doing in their music lessons
  • Children enjoy seeing their teacher online. In paired lessons they also get a chance to see their friends.

Surrey Arts have received many positive comments from parents who have seen the benefits of having online lessons during the lockdowns:

‘The online lessons have helped give structure to our weeks and have meant that the children have continued to make progress with their music. Having a weekly lesson has meant that they have continued to practise – it would be too easy for them to just drift away from practising if there had been no lessons.’

‘It has been brilliant to continue lessons during the “lockdown”, and my child has progressed as a result. Practicing without the incentive of lessons was hard so it was great to do zoom lessons.’

There are also many links to Surrey Arts online teaching and introduction to instruments on the Surrey Music Hub website Online Learning – Surrey Music Hub

Join Surrey Arts and the Royal Opera House for Create and Sing 2021

Create and Sing 2021In Spring 2021, Surrey Arts will join forces with the Royal Opera House to bring a two-part twilight CPD training programme exploring the ROH Create and Sing Carmen scheme of work (KS1-KS3). Specialist ROH drama and music practitioners will introduce the programme, pedagogy and resources before guiding teachers through effective approaches to supporting students’ creative learning by exploring opera.

Create and Sing is an innovative drama and singing programme supporting young people’s creative learning and giving voice to their creativity. The nationally and freely available teacher training and resources engage schools in a creative process leading towards creating opera in the classroom. Watch the summary video here.

Teachers are not required to have specialist music training as the free certified training and unique online resources help guide them through the programme every step of the way.

Create and Sing’s Covid-19 adaptations

Create and Sing has adapted this year, with training taking place through virtual twilight sessions in the Spring term and we encourage schools to plan to begin their projects in the summer or beyond.

For schools facing curriculum time pressures, we are recommending the Explorer (5-week lesson plan) schemes of work, with an emphasis on the quality and not quantity of creative work being produced. The practitioners will explore with teachers approaches to singing and drama activity within Covid-guidelines, however, teachers must shape their projects to fit their individual school risk assessments. 

To Register…

Go to the Eventbrite pages below to register your free place. Please note this is a two-part virtual training course delivered across two twilight sessions. Attendees need to register for both the events below. There is more information about the virtual training is given on the Eventbrite pages. We also ask that you nominate a ‘deputy attendee‘ who will stand in for you in case you are unable to make the training.

Part 1: 18th March, 4-6pm: 

Part 2: 22nd April, 4-6pm: 

If you have any questions, please get in touch via createandsing@roh.org.uk and​we look forward to welcoming you to the programme.

Surrey Arts and Stringbabies celebrate 10 year partnership

Surrey Arts and Stringbabies are celebrating 10 years of delivering string music lessons to our youngest musicians within Surrey. From humble beginnings starting with a pilot scheme involving a key stage 1 school class, Stringbabies has grown and evolved and Surrey Arts now has a dedicated team of trained specialist Stringbabies teachers delivering to key stage 1 children within schools across the county.

Stringbabies founder Kay Tucker said ‘Surrey Arts became the first Music Service in the UK to deliver Stringbabies and over the intervening years it has had a major part to play in helping the programme to develop and improve (for which I am very grateful!).’

This holistic approach to string teaching has been a huge success in getting younger pupils to take up all string instruments. With its clear and gentle approach to rhythm, pitch and musicianship it has produced a really firm foundation in all areas of music. It was very clear at the start that students had a better understanding and musical awareness, enabling them to develop and become confident players. Many of the original students are enjoying playing within Surrey Arts ensembles and have become fine players.

Head of Service Sarah Lee said: ‘It is through strong partnerships that we can expand our delivery to providing opportunities for young people to learn. Stringbabies has provided a strong platform for young musicians and we look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come.’

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