Music Partnerships

At Westminster, music is an integral part of school life. Over the last decade, the Music Department has sought to develop meaningful and sustained partnerships with local communities, charitable organisations, venues, institutions and individuals in order to provide as many opportunities as possible for both our pupils and those within our wider community to be inspired by and through Music. With the support and guidance of the School’s recently-appointed Music Partnerships Coordinator, Rebecca McNaught, the hope is to continue to grow Westminster’s Music Partnerships programme, cultivating existing links and creating many new ones.

Most recently, partnerships have provided additional music teaching and support for young children within London, as well as various larger-scale performances and events. In 2023, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective was welcomed to the School’s Manoukian Music Centre to give a performance of Carnival of the Animals to pupils from local primary schools. The School also helped to coordinate the Gabrieli Roar Praetorius Concert, an event involving well over 400 children from across London and beyond. Taking place in Westminster Cathedral, young singers performed side by side with the professional musicians of the Gabrieli Consort and Players, and the School was able to provide dinner for 500 hungry musicians back in Little Dean’s Yard in between the rehearsal and the concert.

In March, the School returned for its annual concert at the Barbican, combining with local state primary and secondary schools to form a massed choir of over 200 pupils in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. The concert was a wonderful experience, though equally rewarding was the rehearsal process and the collaborative learning that took place throughout the term.

As part of Westminster’s Volunteering initiative, the Music Department runs workshops for a group of Sixth Form pupils who have chosen this Music participation work as a weekly co-curricular option. The Music Partnerships Coordinator has built a network of experienced workshop leaders to provide training for the pupils in a variety of different settings, including work in primary schools, with people living with dementia, and with neurodivergent children. Following this training, the pupils curate and deliver their own Music projects largely on Thursday afternoons and occasionally at other times for those unable to commit to this regular timeslot. Pupils in the Sixth Form have recently visited Burdett Coutts Primary School to give a workshop to Year 5, as well as performing in various locations within the Whittington Hospital through the Healthy Generations charity. There is also an exciting new partnership with the Evelina Children’s Hospital, where the pupils will be giving their first workshop before the end of this academic year. Elsewhere, the Choir is excited to be singing in the Tri-borough Music Hub’s “Music Makes Me” Performance at the Royal Albert Hall alongside 1,000 performers, with our Music Participation pupils working at the same event as backstage runners.

In 2023-24, plans include events in partnership with Maggie’s Cancer Care Centres, and an orchestral project in collaboration with local primary schools, Pimlico Musical Foundation, and the Southbank Sinfonia at St John’s Smith Square. Given the uptake and enthusiasm for music volunteering at Westminster, there is real scope to expand these projects to involve many more pupils in the future.

For enquiries about music partnerships at Westminster, please contact the Music Partnerships Coordinator.

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