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Sixth school joins In Harmony

The Stephen Longfellow Academy in Leeds has become the latest school to join In Harmony Opera North taking the number of pupils engaged in the award-winning music education programme to 1,800 each week.

A member of The GORSE Academies Trust, The Stephen Longfellow Academy aims to enhance opportunities for vulnerable young people throughout the city by working with students of all ages and backgrounds who have found it difficult to maintain a full-time place in mainstream education. By placing In Harmony Opera North at the heart of its primary provision, the academy is looking to engage every child with music-making from as early an age as possible.

“Developing team-work, communication skills, self-discipline and creativity, as well as fostering perseverance and self-esteem are key skills that participation in high quality music lessons, taught by experts, will develop. Who knows, we may even unearth an, as yet, undiscovered talent!”

– Debra Seekings, Head of Primary at The Stephen Longfellow Academy

Richmond Hill Academy pupils meet the Orchestra of Opera North. Photo credit Tom Arber

In Harmony Opera North currently enriches the lives of the pupils at six schools across south and east Leeds, with every child learning to sing and to play an orchestral instrument during three hours of weekly music learning. Windmill Hill Primary School became the first In Harmony school in 2013, followed by Low Road Primary SchoolNew Bewerley Community Primary School and, last year, Richmond Hill Academy. To enable the young musicians to continue their music education when they transition to secondary school, sessions are also provided at The Ruth Gorse Academy in the city.

“Being an In Harmony school has given children a increased sense of pride in their school. They show increased concentration and focus and are growing in confidence all the time.

“The programme has also given us so many amazing opportunities to celebrate all that is best about the school with our parent and wider community.  For a school that previously had such a bad reputation, the effect of being able to showcase the wonderful music their children are making cannot be underestimated.”

– Anna Mackenzie, Headteacher, Richmond Hill Academy

Embedding music in a school in this way has been shown to impact positively on both pupils and staff, as well as the wider community, raising aspirations and confidence and aiding the development of creative problem-solving and communication skills.

“What In Harmony taught me is that if you believe you can, you know you can.”

—  Elysha, pupil at Low Road Primary School

An uplift in attainment and behaviour has also been seen at every participating school, including a marked improvement in the pupils’ SATS results.

“I firmly believe that learning an instrument gives a child a wide range of invaluable and transferable skills and I feel that these have the potential to have a significant impact on future success.”

– Anna Mackenzie, Headteacher, Richmond Hill Academy

Opera North In Harmony at New Bewerley Community Primary School ©Tom Arber

In support of the pioneering programme and to ensure it can continue to inspire young people in areas of the city where they might otherwise struggle to access high quality music provision, a special Let Music Inspire campaign has been launched this Christmas:

  • £15 could provide a year’s worth of music books
  • £50 could provide a set of percussion for a class
  • £150 could provide one child with their own clarinet
  • £500 could provide transport for 50 children to perform in concert

Donate now

Donations can also be made by calling 0113 223 3553.

“I hate it when you pack away your instrument. It’s like opening your Christmas present and wrapping it back up!”

– Tyler, In Harmony Opera North



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