‘Birmingham Band Slam’ – school pupils showcase band musicianship skills for first time

Students at ARK Kings Academy will showcase the results of their Band Musicianship Programme at a showcase event on Wednesday 9th July.

The pioneering Band Musicianship Programme started in January giving each student in Year 7 and 8 the opportunity to learn singing, guitar (including bass guitar), keyboard and drum-kit. Working alongside specialist teachers the students have developed their skills in each instrument and have now formed bands which will perform for the first time at the event in front of parents, friends, other students, teachers and members of the local community.

Paul Bull, Head of Music at ARK Kings said, “I’m delighted with the success that we’ve seen with our Band Musicianship programme at ARK Kings Academy. This is a unique programme which has given, and will continue to give, our students a wonderful opportunity to learn several new instruments, develop their music skills and build their confidence. At ARK Kings we are committed to providing the best possible musical education – music is a life skill that can open new doors and expand the horizons of our most talented young people”.

Nathan Portlock is the specialist teacher appointed to lead on guitar skills. He said, “It’s great to be involved in such a ground-breaking initiative. I’ve worked in music education for over seven years and I’ve never come across a school programme like this. It’s exciting because it provides every pupil aged 11 to 13 with a place where they can learn to compose, collaborate, play and even record new original music. Too often musical interventions in learning are short term affairs that target a small number of pupils. This approach creates healthy competition across the entire year group – it is said that talent is universal but opportunity isn’t – not at ARK Kings!”

The Band Musicianship Programme has been so successful that it will continue next year and incorporate the new Year 7 intake so that it spans Years 7-9. The programme has been incorporated into the existing music curriculum and students have the option to take up additional instrumental tuition in Years 10 and 11.

This will be a busy week for some ARK Kings students who will also be performing in the annual ARK music gala on Monday 7th July which brings together students from across all ARK schools to play at a special concert at the world renowned Barbican Centre in London.

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