Our work with Neighbourhood Schools

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Spitalfields Music has been producing Learning & Participation projects with schools in our local neighbourhood for over three decades. We work directly with schools, fostering collaborative initiatives and creating bespoke musical projects. We’ve found that using singing and song writing has enabled us to reach children who don’t have any prior musical experience. Find out about our projects from the end of last year, and what we’ve got coming up below.

Past projects

Primary Big Sing - Autumn Term 2023

At the end of last year we brought 210 children from six primary schools across Tower Hamlets together for the Primary Big Sing. Following an introductory INSET session with teachers to familiarise the material, we went into schools and our seasoned vocal leaders Naveen Arles and Leanne Sedin led dynamic workshops with the students, leading up to their final performance, where students came together to showcase their hard work.

Spitalfields Voices - Autumn Term

In collaboration with Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service, this project’s main aim was to break down the above barriers to attendance and to establish good relationships with parents/carers and students, with the aim of building a core choir cohort from within the borough’s schools. We brought together 41 students from Tower Hamlets aged 11-14 who learnt brand new material throughout the term. Alongside our Newham-based youth choir NewYVC and adult community choir Sing Tower Hamlets, they gave an incredible performance to a sold-out audience in December 2023!

What's coming up in 2024

Swanlea School: Year 7 Immersive Singing Project

Swanlea School, one of our most long-standing Neighbourhood Schools, has commissioned Spitalfields Music to produce a singing project which will involve every one of their 240 Year 7 students: teaching them vocal repertoire from across the genres, and inspiring a love of singing. Students will be building up to a performance at school to parents/carers at the end of the Spring Term.

Spitalfields Voices: Spring Term

Spitalfields Voices is back this year, and we’re aiming to give further development and voice training to students in Tower Hamlets. This term, the project will culminate in a shared workshop and performance with NewYVC and Southbank Centre Youth Voices at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in March, a brilliant opportunity for students to showcase their progress and musical talent in an iconic venue.

Music and Mindfulness

We’re revisiting Osmani and Canon Barnett Primaries this term to guide them further along their Music and Mindfulness journey. These sessions include a broad introduction to using creative music-making in the classroom, as well as a mindfulness toolkit of practical activities and ideas for teachers and learners to use once the session is over. We want to place mindfulness and wellbeing at the heart of primary schools’ day to day activity, using the music and PSHE curriculum as open and inclusive access points for all children and teachers.

Primary Big Sing 2024

The latest iteration of the Primary Big Sing will take place in the Summer term of 2024, and will involve over 200 children from different schools across Tower Hamlets. Led again by our dynamic vocal leaders Leanne Sedin and Nav Arles, the project aims to inspire a love of singing, and to promote well-being through the power of singing communally with others. The Primary Big Sing will culminate with a performance in Spitalfields Music Festival 2024.

Royal Academy of Music Schools’ Tour: Temporal Harmonies Inc

Continuing our partnership with the Royal Academy of Music’s Open Academy, we are very excited to welcome ensemble Temporal Harmonies Inc to perform at Tower Hamlets primary Neighbourhood Schools in this year’s Schools’ Tour. The ensemble (Mikołaj Piszczorowicz cello; Lydia Walquist flute; Xiaowen Shang piano) will be visiting Neighbourhood Schools, introducing them to contemporary classical music through an immersive and interactive workshop experience.

Cries of London - in conjunction with Spitalfields Music Festival 2024

The Cries of London have echoed around London’s streets for centuries, as street traders sold their wares and enticed passers-by to come and buy whatever they might have for sale. First documented in medieval times, each street trader would have his or her distinctive cry, or recurring phrase, which eventually through repeated use, acquired a musical quality.

The Carice Singers will be performing Berio’s Cries of London in the Summer 2024 Festival, and we wanted to introduce some of our Neighbourhood Schools students to this fascinating topic, which links into many different part of the school curriculum: history (as the East End has always played a very significant role in this aspect of history), music (collecting the modern-day ‘cries’ and composing new ‘cries’), and art (creating new versions of Wheatley’s famous prints of the ‘Cries of London’ which will be displayed in the Carice Singers concert venue).


For more information on our Neighbourhood Schools programme, please contact our Programme Manager Alexandra Jackman: ku.gro.cisumsdleiflatips@namkcaj.ardnaxela