Inspire, engage and rebuild

Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils

We know how difficult this last year has been for our young musicians and singers. It is nearly a year since pupils have been able to play music together at School, SMC or as part of Solihull Music Service group.

I am extremely proud of SMS/SMC staff for rising to the challenge and working incredibly hard to create online resources, deliver online lessons and limited ensemble provision. However, we are very aware that some pupils have not been able to engage due to the nature of their instrument and ensemble they play in.

With that in mind I am determined that we are ready to “GO FOR IT” when we come out of this third lockdown and be ready to rebuild and make music.

So, with that in mind we have a “two-pronged attack” to reengage existing pupils that have not been able to access musical opportunities during the pandemic, and we hope recruit new pupils for the future.

  1. SMC – Working in partnership with the Rock and Pop Festival Trust I am delighted to announce we are creating “inspire and engage” sessions with ex Solihull students that have gone on and had very successful careers in music/theatre. These sessions are open to any pupil and are not instrument specific. I would also like to invite parents to these sessions to remind them that music does not need to just be a ‘hobby’ but has a feasible and successful career path. Please click on the names below for details: We are very grateful that they have agreed to do these sessions for us.

         Fred Cox –     Becoming a Record Producer –     February 27th 11.30am

         Mike Dunne –   Becoming a West End musician – March 6th       11.30am

         Lorna Want –  Becoming a West End Star! –       March 13th       11.30am

         Jimmy Sims – Becoming a Session musician –   March 20th       11.30am

I hope you will join us for all these sessions, and it will prove a turning point for restarting our music making this year. The details on how to sign up are included in the links – get involved and ask questions!

  1. Working with Coventry and Warwickshire Music Services I am creating midweek sessions to inspire our young musicians. The aim behind these sessions is to get our pupils ready to start playing again and to remind them of the musical ensemble opportunities available to them as we get a clearer picture out of “lockdown.” We hope there will be 6 of these instrument specific sessions. The first one is planned for this Thursday 11th February at 7.00pm for all our Brass players. Details are available here. 

11th March Confirmed: String workshop with Alex Lang details here:

Please keep an eye on our website and twitter feed and GET INVOVLED – These are amazing opportunities!

Best wishes

Mr R Jones

Solihull Music Service Update (With very exciting news)

Dear Parent, Carer and Pupils
As we head into the 2nd month of 2021 in Lockdown, we wanted to share some exciting news that we hope will inspire, engage our musical pupils (especially those that have not be able to engage) as we prepare to (hopefully) come out of this current situation, and so we can start to rebuild our musical ensembles and SMC.

We are delighted to announce we are working in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Music Service’s and the National Rock and Pop Festival Trust.

Starting on Thursday Feb 11th we will be hosting free online sessions with some of the countries greatest musicians (across all three authorities) to engage and inspire pupils existing pupils and those that have not be able to engage online.

At 7.00pm (11th Feb) Solihull will be hosting the first of these sessions featuring Mike Lovatt:
‘Award-winning trumpet player Mike Lovatt is widely regarded as one of the finest trumpet players in the world, building an enviable wealth of experience, performing and recording with artists and bands such as Michael Buble, Robbie Williams, Oasis, Shirley Bassey, Quincy Jones The BBC Symphony and Concert Orchestras, London Brass, and The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Espoo Big Band Helsinki, London Symphony Orchestra, San Fransisco Symphony, Pacific Symphony, National Symphony USA – just to name a few!”

During the session Mike will be able to share the benefit of his knowledge of 30 years in the in the industry and will talk about his own experiences and inspiration’s as well as discussing brass techniques and warm ups. This is a must for all you brass players out there and also for anyone who wants to know more about the music industry. Mike is also happy to take questions and I know it is going to be an exciting and enjoyable session for all who attend.

We expect demand to be high and there are only a limited set of places available, so please sign up fast to avoid disappointment.

Please reply to ajones@solmus.solgrid.org.uk for a place stating your name, instrument played and which Music Service you attend. I would also like to invite you to submit any questions you may have when signing up.

On March 11th Warwickshire will be hosting a session for our string players with Alex Lang
On March 30th Coventry will be hosting a session for our woodwind (sax) players with Jess Gillam

The National Rock and Pop Festival Trust will also be hosting a series of sessions on Saturday’s starting after February half term featuring some of Britain’s most amazing musicians that started in Solihull. Further information will follow in a separate post.

Welcome to 2021! Updated 5th Jan

Dear parents/ carers and pupils.
Well what a difference a day makes! As of January 5th we find ourselves in another national lockdown!

SMS staff will be meeting over the next few days to see how we can support our schools, pupils and parents during the next 6 weeks. Our one to one after school lessons will move online and SMS staff will be organising online lessons where possible for daytime students.

We ask for your patience over the next few days as we plan our course of action, but we are confident that we will be able to support the musical pupils of the borough as we go through this difficult period. We will update you as more information becomes available.

If you have any questions please email messages@solmus.solgrid.org.uk as the office phones are not manned at this moment in time

Saturday Music Centre and SMS ensembles will not be able to start until Solihull is placed back into a lower tier (2 at a minimum) and again we will update you as the term progresses.
SMS staff have worked extremely hard to create free online resources for pupils to access and they can be found here: SMS ONLINE RESOURCES and SMS TEACHING YOU TUBE CHANNEL.
Stay safe everyone and keep up to date by following us on Twitter @musicsolihull

Best wishes

Solihull Music Service – Happy Christmas!

Dear Parent, Carer, Pupils

As we approach the end of a long and hard term, we would like to thank you for your ongoing support and I hope (on top of school-based lessons, online lessons and 1-1 at SMS) that SMS Ensembles, Saturday Music Centre (SMC), Arden, Light Hall and St Peters can restart in the New Year
The proposal to reopen SMC and SMS ensembles will not be considered until we are out of tier 3! We continue to work with Light Hall, St Peters and Arden to find a solution moving forward next term.
However, despite the challenges we faced we thought I would share some of the highlights we have achieved this term.

  1.  SMS has continued to deliver in most schools this term despite the difficulties this presents. This shows the value schools place on music, SMS and our staff.
  2. One to one lessons after school have continued at our Lyndon school setting and online lessons offered to those at Arden School.
  3. Despite not being able to restart Saturday Music Centre and our weekly ensemble offer online sessions have been taking place to engage with those pupils and have been made into an online resource.
  4. The SMS you tube channel continues to develop and is a great online resource.
  5. Today SMS is sharing some really positive online performances to raise a smile and spirts as we head into the Christmas break. You can see these here:

Soul Matters:


Saturday Music Centre:https://youtu.be/aGpGFB5wymM (Saturday 19th 10.00am)
Con brio strings:https://youtu.be/dqHBqDUpkb0 (Friday 18th 12.00pm)
Junior strings:https://youtu.be/bCaq6JK7M8g (Friday 18th 12.00pm)
SMBC Carol Concert​:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHVuTuSEE1U

Solihull Music Service Update December 11th 2020

Dear Parent, Carer and Pupils.
Face to Face lessons: will restart at Solihull Music Service from Monday 7th December.

Our recorded online sessions on a Saturday for guitars is here and for ukuleles is here. (the 28th November session is being edited). Guitar sessions take place every Saturday at 9.45am (LINK) and the Ukuleles at 10.30am (LINK)
Online Ensemble Rehearsals: SMS conductors of weeknight groups will have been in touch about either arranging an online rehearsal (if appropriate), meet with the students or will be trying to organise a Christmas performance.
Online rehearsals
Guitarisstas 1st December
Junior Brass Band 3rd December
Solihull Youth Brass Band 3rd December
Junior Winds 7th December
Guitarisstas 8th December
Junior Brass Band 10th December
Solihull Youth BB 10th December
Guitarisstas 15th December

We will update you further with more exciting developments for Christmas as we get closer to the end of term.

Best wishes everyone and stay safe!