Opera North has been awarded a grant from Arts Council England and the Department for Education to deliver one of the four new In Harmony projects recently announced by ACE and In Harmony Sistema England.
Opera North will deliver the project at Windmill Primary School, impacting on 450 children in full-time education and the wider community in the Belle Isle area of South Leeds, from January 2013. It is the first In Harmony project in Yorkshire and the only one nationally that will be delivered by an opera company, and will include a significant focus on singing as well as instrument playing.
In Harmony Opera North (Leeds) will focus on the children and wider school community of Windmill Primary, aiming to transform aspirations and learning outcomes for children through an immersive programme of high quality music tuition, and regular performance opportunities. The school, where 92% of children come from families classified as ‘hard-pressed’ and 60% are eligible for free school meals, was selected through extensive consultation with the Local Education Authority, based on the potential to create the greatest impact for children and their families.
All 300 children in Windmill Primary School will take part in transformational music activities, both within curriculum time and as free extra-curricular activities. From the outset, all Year 1-6 pupils will have the opportunity to play in an orchestra and receive their own instrument. For younger children, the focus will initially be on daily singing activities, which will develop musicianship skills.
Other workshops and outreach activities will range from a community choir to pop-up performances by musicians from the Orchestra of Opera North in shops and living rooms, extending the reach of In Harmony throughout the local community to include adults and older children. Opera North intends to focus on music-making within the family and will also deliver sessions for parents and 0-4 year olds in local Children’s Centres.
In Harmony is a social and music education programme inspired by Venezuela's El Sistema, adapted to an English context. In Harmony uses music to bring positive change to the lives of children in disadvantaged areas of England, delivering benefits across the wider community. The programme, currently funded by the Department for Education and Arts Council England, has ongoing projects in Lambeth and Liverpool, and is launching additional projects in Leeds, Newcastle and Gateshead, Nottingham, and Telford and Stoke.
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