Music’s greatest wonders and hidden secrets are being explored in a new series of daily lessons.
The David Ross Education Trust has launched the #DRETlistentothis campaign as a means of enriching pupils’ lives as they adjust to a different way of learning.
Every lunchtime, the trust has sent out a guided video introduction to a great piece of music, followed by a complete performance.
Simon Toyne, the trust’s executive director of music, talks through the key components of a musical score, gives tips for trying it at home, and signposts further online resources.
Every Monday a professional musician makes a guest appearance to introduce a new piece of music.
The tutorials aim to breathe new life into music, old and new. The campaign hopes to inspire and build a sense of unity by encouraging children and their families to tune in at the same time each day.
Simon said: “Great pieces of music have an infinite power to intrigue and inspire, as well as to entertain. They also connect us deeply with our shared humanity over history. Music can keep us company and discovering a new piece of music can be like developing a new friendship.
“We hope the campaign will bring solace and connection at this strange and unsettling time.”
Participants can discover why the bass line of Pachelbel’s Canon is so important, how John Lennon and Paul McCartney created a song using just five pitches, how five centuries of culture can be heard in just 115 seconds, and plenty more besides.
The trust is a network of unique and diverse academies, working with 34 primary and secondary schools across the country. Its schools range from smaller primaries with around 50 children to much larger secondary schools in the centre of urban areas.
Simon has been executive director of music at the trust since 2015. He is responsible for the development of a music programme for over 13,000 children across the state primary and secondary schools in the East Midlands.
For many years he was director of music at Tiffin School, Kingston, where his work with the Tiffin Boys’ Choir achieved widespread acclaim, performing with the leading conductors and orchestras in the country and touring worldwide.
Simon conducts the Chapel Choir of Malcolm Arnold Academy and the DRET Youth Choir, working with the Gabrieli Consort, Britten Sinfonia and Nevill Holt Opera, and has developed the award-winning ‘Singing Schools’ programme.
He is a member of the government’s expert panel for developing a model music curriculum, a director of the Rodolfus Foundation Choral Courses, and is president of the Music Teachers’ Association.
Simon hopes that music becomes the great healer as the school trust shares the wonder of great works of art with its pupils, staff and families during lockdown.
to join in with the campaign or for more information.