SMS Update 14th May 2020

Dear Parents/Carer/Pupils.
We hope this still finds you well in these strange times?
I am just emailing to update you on a few things and to let you know of some opportunities we are creating for our pupils.
SMS Instrumental Staff 
All SMS staff should have made contact with you either directly (or via your school) to check in on their pupils and if appropriate set some work for them. SMS staff are happy to receive audio recordings to listen to and to feedback on. We are continuing to create and build on some fabulous online resources for pupils to access for free, and I hope your SMS teacher has selected some of these resources for your children to try!
We also understand that  your child may not have been able to do any music making due to other pressures at home and from school.
If for some reason your teacher has not been in touch please let us know and we will investigate for you.
SMS Ensembles
As staff we are looking into ways we can continue to engage with our ensembles and I am delighted that some of our ensembles are creating virtual performances. Two weeks ago Soul Matters released this performance of ‘Don’t Stop’ and I am delighted to announce that on Friday 15th May Jazz Matters will be releasing their performance of ‘Against All Odds’ at 9.00am.
Jazz Matters – Please click this link from 9.00am Friday 15th May
Here is a sneak preview:
SMS staff are also working on other virtual performances opportunities for their ensembles over the coming weeks.
Saturday Music Centre:
SMC staff are really missing you all on a Saturday and we hope we can return and see you all soon (admittedly in a different way!). With that in mind, we as staff are still working and have launched several projects for SMC pupils. Mr Webb is creating a mass ukulele performance to ‘Sweet Caroline’ Mr Beatty is working on a performance with electric guitar group, Mr Salt is working with all three of his groups and Mr Jones is nearing completion of an SMC Jazz performance. Other SMC staff are working on an SMC Rock orchestra performance of ‘Reach’.

All pupils should have had an email about these various projects – if you have not please contact the office. Reach and Sweet Caroline backing tracks are includedat the bottom of this post.

A massive thank you:
We as SMS staff would like to say a big thank you for all your support through these difficult times. I know we have not be able to accommodate everybody’s requests but we always aim to try and do the best by our fabulous pupils and we will continue to support you and them as schools gradually return.
When we have more information about the possibility of  school returning and how it impacts/works with SMS will update you as soon as possible.
Take care of each other and ‘Against all Odd’s’ we will see you soon.
Sweet Caroline

SMS Soul Matters – Spread some cheer!

Dear Parents/Carers and Pupils
We are delighted to share with you our first SMS ensemble virtual video – Soul Matters- performing Fleetwood Mac’s – Don’t Stop!
We hope you enjoy it…..and we will be looking to do more of these as we go through the term. Please share, sing along and have a good weekend! Lets celebrate something positive!

St Mary and St Margret’s Online Video

Dear Parents/Carers/ Pupils

Before the Easter holidays we embarked to create an online video using  year 5 students at St Mary and St Margret’s COE school as our test case! We are delighted with the outcome and hope we can start the ball rolling with other schools doing similar things as this helps pupils come together to perform and engage with music making. We hope it brings a smile and spreads some positivity in these difficult times……
Please enjoy the performance and share it! This is the link to the You Tube channel  or watch below:

Best Wishes
Richard Jones – Assistant Head Of Service

SMS update 27th April 2020

Dear Parents, Carers and Pupils

We have some exciting things to share with you this week as well as the on going development of our online resources. Please check back during the week.

Todays update is regarding online instrumental lessons:
I have been investigating the possibility of delivering direct online lessons to our pupils since the start of the current situation. After much research and advice from the council and teaching unions we have come to the conclusion that due to concerns about safeguarding and equity of access we are currently not able to currently offer this service.

I will keep this under review and as the situation changes. Other organisations in differing circumstances to ourselves may well have gone down this route but we will currently adhere to the advice we have received. We will not be charging parents for any of our tuition whist we are unable to teach but will continue to work on our free set of resource on our website.

We will  focus on other ways that we can deliver a learning experience to our students such as streaming lessons via YouTube or via tweeter/instagram where pupils can join in a lesson or play along to a teacher. SMS staff are also working very hard creating online tutorials and resources for their pupils as well as trying to keep in regular contact through parents or through schools.

I am aware that some of you are in contact with your childs tutor so we have written a guide to help you to help keep everybody safe

·       Please engage with music service staff on behalf of your children and please don’t ask the children themselves to directly email the member of staff.

·       Any tasks that we may request are suggestions. We understand the difficulty of the situation for many at the moment so please do not feel any pressure from us.

·       If you are sending video evidence –

o   Please make sure that children are appropriately dressed.

o   Please record the video yourself and send it yourself. Please do not ask your child to do this.

o   Please record in a space that is as visually neutral as possible with no other siblings in shot and no family photos visible.

o   Please be patient if you are expecting feedback as our tutors are also working under difficult circumstances.

o   Please only send video evidence if you have been requested to do so by the tutor.

Toby Smith – Head of Service


SMS update 20th April 2020

Dear Parents/Carers/ Pupils

Welcome back to the Summer term, we hope you all had a good Easter considering the circumstances we find ourselves in. We hope this finds you all safe and well.

SMS staff worked extremely hard in the two weeks before Easter creating online resources for your children/pupils to access over this difficult time. These will be continued to be added to over the coming weeks as well as some other exciting developments to try and ensure our young musicians stay engaged.

When you visit our you tube channel please make sure you subscribe and like as the more followers we gain the more possibilities it enables us to access. SMS have also set up an instagram site, which again we hope will enable young people to interact with SMS and the musical content we have to offer – more details to follow.

You will no doubt have heard various news headlines about when schools may be allowing children in again. The government was very quick to shut down the reported 3 weeks. From discussions with members of Childrens Services earlier, the feeling is that, the absolute earliest for children to return would be after May half term and even then it wouldn’t be a full return to normal lessons.  We will keep you informed the more we know but until the government release a plan for coming out of lockdown we won’t know for sure.

As the weeks go on our staff will be making contact with you all, either directly or via your school to set some work and to check in. We also hope to start creating some online performances using SMC/SMS ensembles and schools to encourage pupils to practice, perform and to share!

String and guitar Warwick Arts Centre concerts have been cancelled (as I am sure will be the one in June) so our WCET children will unfortunately not get their final celebration this year. We will have to think about some sort of closure for them going forward all other events planed for May and June (Small group concerts, Rock and Pop nights) have also had be cancelled.

For those of you that are looking for some musical activities to do as a whole family please click on this link and have a go!

More online resources will be sent out via our Twitter feed over the coming days.

We will continue to update you as the situation develops and to keep you informed.

Look after one another and stay safe.

Best wishes