Norham High School rocks!

We ran a very successful “enrichment day” for year 9 students at Norham High School on Wednesday 3rd July. A total of about 60 students took part over 4 sessions during the day.

Nearly all the students got up to have a go at playing “We Will Rock You” on either a cornet or a trombone and, as you can see from the photos, had a lot of fun.

Well done to all those who had a go, especially those who took some persuading but did it in the end! It’s always better to have a go at new things when the opportunity arises. Who knows where it might lead?

Each session started with a short introductory talk about music and how important it is to all our lives.

Music is all around us: TV theme tunes; film scores; sports events; birthday parties; weddings; funerals; even the King’s Coronation.

It’s in our DNA to want to sing, make music and dance!

After a quick demo by our tutor playing the cornet and trombone, we discussed how they work to produce a sound. Then everyone tried buzzing into a mouthpiece before getting up in smaller groups to learn the 4 notes of “We will, we will rock you”: F, E, D, C, D D

Big Gig 2024

Children from our brass group at Wellfield Middle School took part in the Big Gig 2024 at Newcastle’s Vertu Arena, along with over 1,000 other children from schools across Newcastle, North Tyneside and beyond.

The theme this year was “Hello Sunshine” with 10 great hit songs, including: Mr Blue Sky; Surfin USA; Here Comes the Sun; Walking on Sunshine; Happy; and of course: Schools Out!

Our band played along as a backing to a professional live band and had a great time, as you see from the photos!

Putting children first

Participating in one of our brass groups should always be fun as well as educational.

Children should always feel safe and able to express themselves, gaining confidence and new skills.

No child should ever be punished or humiliated for attending or not attending one of our brass groups.

Our tutors should never be placed in a situation where they have the hard choice of speaking out or being complicit in the punishment or humiliation of children.

We recognise that schools must have rules about the conduct of children attending lunch-time or after-school activities, including showing commitment once they have signed up. The school needs to know where children are and whether they have gone home or not for example.

But we never want children to feel coerced into attending one of our sessions if they do not wish to do so. No child can benefit, learn or grow if they do not want to be there.

Yes, showing commitment and persevering through difficulties are life skills, but so is learning about yourself, what you like and don’t like, and knowing when to quit.

Backworth Park Primary

Sadly, the after-school brass group will no longer be running at Backworth Park Primary School from this half term.

Backworth Park was the first school we approached in 2016 and we were enthusiastically welcomed by the then Head Teacher Carol Crerar and we started with 23 children from years 4, 5 and 6!

Over the years we performed at many school events, at Whitley Bay Christmas Lights switch on, at Seghill Christmas Lights switch on, at Whitley Bay Playhouse, at the Wansbeck Music Festival twice.

The brass group came to an abrupt end in 2020 with the covid lock-down but restarted in 2022.

It is difficult to count the total number of children who have participated in the brass group, but it must be nearly 100. From the smiling faces and feedback most of them enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Of course, some tried it and found it wasn’t for them, but that’s part of learning too!

The current group of children were looking forward to performing at the Newcastle Big Gig at the Vertu Arena in June, but the school has decided to stop running the after-school brass band, for reasons we are not able to go into here. It is a great shame that the school does not feel able to continue, but we wish all the children and staff well.

Special thanks must go to the staff who have supported the brass band over the years, including Carole Whittle who has been a member of the brass group and helped run it since we started in 2016.

A ukulele in a brass band?

We started the new year at Backworth Park Primary by demonstrating our cornets and trombones to all years 3, 4, 5 and 6. A total of 12 volunteers bravely got up in front of everyone and had a go at one. Now we have 18 new members of our brass group that meets every Tuesday after school!

To demonstrate how to make the sound that comes out of a brass instrument, we started with a ukulele! How do we make a sound with a ukulele? Answer: we pluck a string, the string vibrates very fast (in a blur) and makes the air around it vibrate.

The room is full of air. We can’t see it but we can feel it if we wave our hands about or the wind blows. Billions and billions of tiny molecules of gas, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and other gases, vibrate and a wave of sound travels out across the room like ripples on a pond when you throw stone into it.

The sound wave reaches our ears and makes our ear drum vibrate. The ear drum is a tiny membrane just like the surface of a drum. When the vibration reaches it, signals travel from the ear along nerves into our brain and we hear sound! Which when you think of it is absolutely amazing and mind blowing!

We pluck the string, it vibrates and makes the air around it vibrate sending a sound wave across the room to our ear and into our brain. BUT … cornets and trombones don’t have strings! So how do we make sound with a brass instrument? With our lips by buzzing!

 

Did you know that sound cannot travel through space because there is no air in space and nothing to vibrate. But sound can travel through a wall, the ground or your body!

Big Gig Newcastle 2023

Students from Wellfield Middle joined nearly 2000 other pupils from local Primary and Middle Schools at the Big Gig Newcastle 2023 held at the Vertu Motors Arena on Scotswood Road, home to the mighty Newcastle Eagles Basketball team, last Wednesday 21st June.

With a rock band playing a selection of 1980s songs, we played and sang along. Wellfield’s brass band and the guitar group all had a fantastic time. After a full morning’s rehearsal, family members were allowed in to hear a great run-through performance of all the songs:
Never Gonna Give You Up; Girls Just Wanna Have Fun; Don’t Stop Believin’; (Working) Nine to Five; Summer of ’69; Ghostbusters!; Eye of the Tiger; Livin’ on a Prayer; Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

Rock on Wellfield!

Wellfield Music Event

Our wonderful little brass band at Wellfield Middle School took part in an amazing music concert at the School on 25th May. Music teacher Mrs Gibson did a brilliant job of organising the event and leading the brass band and choir.

The band played: Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley; Never Gonna to Give You Up by Rick Astley; and Mamma Mia by Abba; the last a joint performance with some of the choir. Great playing and lots of fun. Very proud parents, family and teachers!

Wellfield Middle School

We are delighted to be starting a new after school brass band club at Wellfield Middle School.
Seven children from year 5 attended the first session on Monday (Halloween!) and we hope to have a few more next week. The children have been learning to play pocket trumpets with Miss Gibson, the Curriculum Lead for Music, as part of their “whole class” musical instrument tuition.

However, five of them immediately wanted to try the trombone, which caused a slight problem as we’d only taken four trombones along!
We’re looking forward to a great half term, hopefully with a performance in school at the end of term!