We had the pleasure last week of being invited to go along and listen to the musically talented children at Abercorn School. Abercorn School is based in Central London where they teach children from the age of 2 and a half through to academic year 8 – the entire populace of this school participate in the thriving music department that provide an integral part of their education.
The Howarth Education department hires over 80 instruments (one for every child in Years 5-8) to Abercorn School each year to facilitate their students’ musical endeavors. It was lovely to see these instruments being played in such a constructive environment.
“Established in 1987, Abercorn’s aim is to give children the best start in education by providing a friendly, caring and inspiring academic atmosphere.
The school has gained an enviable record of excellence and achievement for boys and girls from two and a half to 13 + years of age. We guide both pupils and parents through the education process to ensure your child attains the highest standards.” Abercorn School
The students start their musical tutelage in Year One where all of the children are introduced to the recorder, laying the integral foundations of theory and music practice at an early age.
“During Years 2, 3 and 4 pupils develop their knowledge of the fundamental musical concepts of rhythm, melody, and harmony which they explore through singing, movement, percussion and performance. They begin to develop a vocabulary of musical terms and are introduced to a variety of instruments” Abercorn School
After four years on the recorder the children advance onto the Bb Clarinet, receiving a 30 minute group lesson a week meaning that 50% of their time in music lessons is dedicated to the instrument, whilst the rest is dedicated to the music curriculum. Due to the considerable focus on musical education at Abercorn School, 25% of Year 2-8 students are learning an additional instrument in one-to-one lessons on a whole host of instruments; these include: piano, flute, clarinet, drums, violin, viola, cello, voice and guitar. The array of musical activity at Abercorn means that they are performing above and beyond the national average. It is obvious that the instrumental training established in their early years has a positive impact on their general musical knowledge and understanding.
In the lesson we were privileged to observe, clarinet teacher Luisa Rosina guides the Year 5 students, who have only been learning the clarinet since September this year, through the process of assembling the clarinet before moving on to the notes G to C, played to various rhythms. It was apparent that the group lesson enhanced their ensemble skills and ability to assist each other in their learning.
All of this wonderful music making is headed by Director of Music Barry Hopwood. Mr Hopwood is very proud of the flourishing music education at Abercorn School, and emphasised that the children have a great sense of achievement in the End of Term productions where they perform together, unaided by their teachers.
“The service that we get from Howarth of London is superb! Not only do we get excellent quality instruments for our students to play on, but all the staff there are extremely helpful and a pleasure to work in partnership with, especially when it comes to returning 83 instruments for their annual service.”
We would like to thank Mr Hopwood and the children at Abercorn School for inviting us to observe their lesson and for making us feel welcome.
Photography by Olivia Wild