Welcome to the autumn 2018 Sound Foundation Somerset bulletin where we look back and celebrate a busy summer and give you a head start on what’s to come over the next few months.


A Global Summer with Actiontrack

A full summer for Actiontrack has brought World and Popular Music projects to students from over 20 schools across the county.

Annual World Music Residency: The Turbans - an internationally renowned band of expert musicians from across Eastern and nearby Europe took Holyrood Academy in Chard by storm with a week of workshops to over 650 pupils covering Flamenco, Eastern modal improvisation and Bulgarian singing. The residency climaxed with the full band playing to a highly appreciative (and by the end of it worn out) crowd of students, staff and the local community including support from student musicians and participation from a 30+ student choir who took part in the workshops.

Javanese Gamelan: Residencies brought Gamelan workshops to students from over 13 schools and included performances to audiences as part of school concerts and celebrations.  These workshops are based in a ‘host’ secondary school and open to local primaries.  Please contact us if you’d like to host or visit next (academic) year.  Five residencies are available each year and three are already programmed.

To find out how your students, school or academy can benefit from engagement with any of the above projects or residencies running over the next academic year please contact Nick Brace at Actiontrack, action.track@btconnect.comTel: 07785564092.


Singing Festivals are a great hit  

Somerset Music's Singing Festivals were held in Sedgemoor, Taunton and West Somerset during June and July giving pupils from over 30 schools the opportunity to perform in front of an audience of family and friends. Each event ended with all the schools joining together to present a massed choral piece which was greatly enjoyed by both the choirs and the audience. It was wonderful for them to see the results of all their hard work and to see how much the children enjoy taking part. To find out more and register to take part in 2019 please contact a member of the team on 01823 348262 and to learn about how the county's Singing Strategy is developing click here


‘On The Record’ Ten Years On!

This summer saw the release of ‘On The Record 9 - “How we…?”’ and the writing and recording of ‘OTR 10 - Movement’ - for release in early autumn.  These projects run twice a year to give students interested and keen to develop their song-writing, instrumental skill, recording and production of music of any genre in a professional studio context and get to grips with the rigours of session playing and studio work. You can hear the fruits of their labours, and tracks from previous albums through online release at www.ontherecordproject.bandcamp.com Hard copies available from action.track@btconnect.com


Concern grows for decline in arts GCSE and A Level entries

2018 results saw a 10% decline in arts subject GCSE entries 2017 to 2018. 17% fewer students have opted for music GCSE in the past 4 years and arts A Levels: entries down -24% since 2010. For a full breakdown by subject and comprehensive policy round up and commentary on this decline visit and sign up to the Cultural Learning Alliance who, this month published an evidence briefing with ASCL to show how arts engagement improves the life chances of children. 

A growing number of voices are expressing concern within and beyond the education sector. Read ISM overview here and about geographical disparities here 

Sign up to the BACC for the future campaign here and join the discussion.


New Year starts at CYMT 

The Autumn term 2018 at CYMT promises to be action-packed with excellent music lessons and concerts for all. Centre for Young Musicians Taunton is a division of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, providing high quality sustainable musical training for all young people on Saturdays in term time at Richard Huish College, Taunton, accessing some of top music education facilities in the country . Students can start any time, beginners to advanced, and there are no auditions. Bursaries are available including travel bursaries for students in West Somerset.  Contact CYMT on 07754217993 or taunton@cym.org.uk @CYMTaunton is on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter


Primary Music Conference 2019

Somerset Music will host next year's Primary Music Conference on Friday 17th May 2019 at Dillington House, Ilminster. The conference offers the chance to develop your teaching skills and choose from a range of practical workshops. Find out more here.

"Thank you so much! I feel completely enthused and looking forward to taking all this back to school'' 2017 Delegate


Courses to Inspire at Jackdaws

Did you know that Jackdaws runs one day courses for instrumentalists and singers that give you the chance to learn from the expertise of world-class tutors and enjoy delicious home cooked lunches without giving up a whole weekend? Perfect for teachers in need of a recharge and added inspiration or families looking to enjoy some time together. The courses offer excellent value for money and take place at their beautiful home in Great Elm near Frome. Find out more here   


Out There – a new programme for older teenagers in or out of education/employment

Actiontrack and Take Art have recently secured funding from Youth Music to offer music sessions to the young people who are not in education, training or employment (16+) and for FE music students who need additional music support. These sessions are bespoke and flexible. Contact Nick at Actiontrack for further information action.track@btconnect.com 

Take Art and Actiontrack continue to deliver My Tunes bespoke music sessions and workshops for young people at risk of exclusion and/or in care or alternative provision. Sessions can take place at Actiontrack’s recording studio or within the relevant setting. Find out more here


New Youth Jams at the Brewhouse

September saw the start of new weekly open music jamming workshop for 9 – 16 year olds  at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton. Led by Nick Brace from Actiontrack the sessions exploring music together using instrument, voice, improvisation and sometimes music technology.  Perfect for anyone who wants to play, sing and make music and maybe try something new. Find out more here  


Artsmark Partners Grow In Number

2018 has seen a growing number of music and arts partners sign up as Artsmark partner organisations across Somerset. If your schools are applying for or renewing your Artsmark status check out these two such offers from SPAEDA and CYMT. Learn more about Artsmark, the creative quality standard for schools, accredited by Arts Council England, here and sign up RIO's newsletter to learn more about the scheme across the south west and other news and initiatives relating to arts and education here.


Sing Up Somerset!

Somerset Music are working in partnership with Sing Up to offer a subsidised annual membership to this well-established and comprehensive online vocal resource which has 600+ songs in its song bank as well as many useful teaching aides.

This is just one aspect of the new county wide Singing Strategy for 2018-19 to enable both teachers and pupils to progress in their use of singing within schools and abilities/opportunities respectively. To find out about the range of exciting training and performance opportunities for students and staff (join the Teachers' Rock Choir!) visit here 


BSO launch 2018/19 schools programme.

Find out about this year's concert programme and access teaching resources here