Sheffield Music School is a registered charity in existence for over 30 years, dedicated to providing the highest quality music coaching for the talented Young Musicians of Sheffield and the surrounding area. Housed at Sheffield High School, sixty students and nine staff bring musical vibrancy and excellence to Saturday mornings. With a strong focus on chamber music and solo performance, the school encourages the best from its members in a fun and informal atmosphere.
We have a very talented and diverse staff who are teachers, performers and composers in their own right with special interests varying from modern jazz to organ and choral music. We aim to develop a number of skills for the students including choral, general musicianship and aural. Junior Music School students fill in weekly listening diaries and take part in many activities such as improvisation, composition and performance.
Sheffield Music School aims to provide this service for the lowest possible cost, and offers a number of scholarships. It is our policy that nobody should be unable to attend for financial reasons. To this end, we are always looking for grants and financial support and would welcome any help.
Many of our students go on to study music at Music College or University, and we hope that all of our members carry with them a love of music throughout their lives.
Term Dates for 2016-17
Music School term dates for 2016-17 are now available on our diary page.
Workshop with Naomi Atherton
Music School will be holding a workshop on 4th July led by Naomi Atherton, horn player with Ensemble 360.
Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Naomi took up the horn at the age of eight. She went on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Michael Purton and Derek Taylor. Whilst in her first year at college she won the brass final of BBC Young Musician of the Year.
Highlights of her solo career have been with the BBC Philharmonic and the Ulster Orchestras, also performances of Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with Robert Tear, Neil Mackie and most recently James Gildchrist and the Manchester Camerata. This performance was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 under the baton of Douglas Boyd.
Naomi has been principal horn of Manchester Camerata and Northern Chamber Orchestra for many years, but has also appeared as guest principal with such orchestras as the Goldberg Ensemble, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English Northern Philharmonia, Northern Sinfonia and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared at many festivals including Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Bath and the BBC Proms.
Music School Students' Exam Success
Several Music School students have been very successful in their recent music exams:
- Adam West - Grade 8 Oboe: Distinction (136)
- Kaethe Uken - Grade 8 Clarinet: Distinction (139)
- Betsy Middleton - Grade 5 Singing: Distinction
- Kate Thickett - Grade 5 Theory: Distinction
- Stephen Dawson - Grade 7 Violin: Distinction
- Nicky Leathard - Grade 4 Alto Saxophone: Distinction and Grade 5 Theory: Pass
- George Breakwell - Grade 6 Trumpet: Distinction
- Ana Cokljat - Grade 4 Piano: Distinction
- Corrina Barnett - Grade 5 Theory: Pass
- Jake Snowden - Grade 5 Theory: Pass
- Joseph Martin - Grade 5 Theory: Distinction
Congratulations to you all on doing so well.
Some of our former students have been reflecting on their time at Music School. Go to our new Former Students page to find out what they thought.
Term Dates for 2014-15
Music School term dates for 2014-15 are now available on our diary page.
Music for Youth 2014
Congratulations to Hannah Blumsohn, Imogen Cassels and Michael Withers who have got through to the national finals in July.
Here's what the judges thought of their performance:
Wonderful opening. Great control of rhythm and dynamics. Very good technique. Nice articulation. Good shape to melodic line. Balance is very good. Great energy in the rhythmic work. A very mature, musical approach to this difficult music. Wonderful contrasts in technique, dynamics and style. Phrasing is terrific. A well controlled, powerful sound when required with wonderful subtle changes in dynamics, shape and phrasing. You hold the attention of the listener throughout with sparkling music and wonderful technique. A captivating ending. Congratulations and thank you
Next Steps. An outstanding performance. Continue to work together producing great performances with music in a wide range of genres.
Change of Venue
From September we will be moving premises to Sheffield High School.
The school's address is 10 Rutland Park, Sheffield, S10 2PE. Find us on this Map.
The school have requested parents not to drop children off on Rutland Park on Saturday mornings. There are other roads nearby that would be no problem at all. They are: Ashgrove, Clarkehouse Road, Clarkegrove Road or Southbourne Road.
On the first week Zoe will meet all pupils at Ashgrove, the School's music department, to show the pupils where they will need to go for Junior music school or choir.
September 2013 - Another Music School Year Begins
The new Music School year begins on Saturday 14th September - see our diary for all of this year's rehearsal and concert dates.
Success for Music School students in Theory exams
The first group of Music School students to take their ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exams have been very successful:
- Kier Durrani - Merit
- Eva Gurney - Distinction
- Paul Kirk - Merit
- Joseph Miles - Pass
- Harriet Salat-Groves - Merit
Congratulations on doing so well.
If you're interested in doing Music Theory, we run small classes (up to 5 students) every Saturday morning during term time. Contact Zoe for more details.
We've just uploaded some new pictures of Junior Music School to our Gallery Page - have a look to see what sort of musical fun and games they get up to during rehearsals.
There are also lots more comments from parents and former students in our Testimonials section
January 2013 - North of England Education Conference
The Wind Quintet and Clarinet Duet from Sheffield Music School entertained delegates to the recent North of England Education Conference throughout the evening at the Sheffield Winter Garden and Millenium Gallery.
It was a great experience for the students to play at such an event, and they all really enjoyed and benefited from it.
Thanks to Joy Newbould for taking the photos. Visit our Gallery Page to see more.
We received many positive comments on the evening. Go to our Testimonials section to read more.
Having now been able to draw breath after the North of England Conference, I just wanted to write to you to extend a big thank you on behalf of our conference speakers and delegates and from all of the NEEC team for your entertainment contribution at our Evening of Conversations.
The quality of the musical performances throughout the evening was exceptional and your young people's performance was really outstanding and appreciated and commented upon by many of our guests. You brought a high quality musical interlude to our event.
The professional attitude of your young people and leaders was a real credit to your organisation and I would not hesitate to use your services again in future. Thank you so much, please do pass on my message to the musicians and well done to you all!
North of England Education Planning Team
Lunchtime Concert in Sheffield Cathedral
Several soloists from Music School will be performing in a lunchtime concert at Sheffield Cathedral on Tuesday 20th November from 1:15 to 2:00. Admission is free - see the Sheffield Cathedral website for more details.
September 2012 - Another Music School Year Begins
The new Music School year begins on Saturday 15th September - see our diary for all of this year's rehearsal and concert dates.
Well done Robbie
As well as retaining his place as the youngest clarinetist in the National Children's Orchestra, Junior Music School musician Robbie Jansen has recently taken part in a charity concert to help raise funds for Safe@Last. Check out this article and video in the Sheffield Star for more details.
David Ward sadly passed away in December 2011. He was a loyal and steady presence at Sheffield Music School for over thirty years – the longest-serving member of staff by a long chalk. He helped hundreds of young people to know and love music, in theory as well as practice. In offering what one student described as 'inspirational arrangements', David made choral singing fun. He made Baroque music 'more playable', urging students to 'play it as it is', in an engagingly warm way. He left his mark on those he helped grasp the higher grades of music theory, but mostly in the hearts of those who sung collectively under his inspired guidance. David not only enabled children to sing more and better at Sheffield Music School; he helped them to love music itself, through arrangements that went with the grain of ability. His amiable, happy presence will be sorely missed.
Congratulations to Robbie
Great news for Robbie Jansen who has been offered a place in the National Children's Orchestra under-11's. Robbie, aged 8, is currently a Junior Music School musician and is very excited about playing in such a fantastic orchestra. Well done Robbie, all at Sheffield Music School are very proud of you.
March 2011 - Junior Music School Performance Class
Junior Music School held a performance class on 5th March. Here's a report by Lydia Blackburn and India Humberstone:
There were many different varieties of different pieces. Lots of jazzy pieces were played and were all enjoyed by the audience, although there were a couple of lovely sad minor pieces played and these were very emotional.
Sophie played a very advanced piano piece and everyone enjoyed this. Overall it was a good performance class and there were many brave attempts, playing difficult music. It was a big achievement by everyone who took part.
February 2011 - Workshop date re-arranged and more photos
The World Music workshop with Henrik Linnemann and John Ball which had to be postponed due to the snow before Christmas has been re-arranged for the 2nd April. Visit our Diary Page for more information.
We've also got loads of new photos on our Gallery Page taken at our end-of-term concert and at the Crucible.
January 2011 - New Online Quiz
Go to our Fun Page to check out Zoe's latest quiz.
Don't forget - you can always look back at any of the older quizzes you missed.
Further success for Music School students in Autumn term exams
Music School students have once again been very successful in the ABRSM Autumn term exams:
- Harry Birch - Grade 6 Piano: Merit
- Sophie Birch - Grade 1 Violin: Distinction
- Sophie Birch - Grade 2 Theory: Distinction
- Sam Castle - Grade 5 Piano: Distinction
- Max Croft - Grade 4 Viola: Merit
- Martha Cooper - Grade 7 Piano: Merit
- Charlotte Hetherington - Grade 8 Singing: Merit
- Jamie Hopkins - Grade 7 Jazz Soprano Saxophone: Merit
- Robbie Jansen - Grade 2 Theory: Pass
- Tilly Jansen - Grade 2 Violin: Merit
- Robert Jelinek - Grade 2 Singing: Distinction
- Daiwei Lang - Grade 6 Piano: Distinction
- Frankie McDermott-Reid - Grade 5 Guitar: Merit
- Evie Morrison - Grade 5 Piano: Pass
- Caitlin Nichol - Grade 7 Piano: Pass
- Rebecca Peace - Grade 7 Oboe: Merit
- Kate Plowright - Grade 4 Oboe: Merit
- Meg Plowright - Grade 6 Flute: Pass
- Joe Thickett - Grade 6 Alto Saxophone: Distinction
- Zoe Wilkinson - Grade 5 Singing: Pass
Congratulations again on doing so well.
November 2010 - End of Term Activities
It's going to be a busy few days for Music School students in the run-up to Christmas this year.
Firstly we're delighted to be returning to Stephen Hill Methodist Church in Crosspool for our End of Term Concert on 4th December.
Saturday morning Music School on 11th December will be a World Music Workshop led by Henrik Linnemann and John Ball. This event is open to all young musicians.
Our final event before taking a well-earned Christmas break will take place on the evening of 11th December. Sheffield Music School students have been invited to play in the Crucible Foyer before a Music in the Round concert by the Carducci String Quartet. Music School students performing will receive free tickets for the concert.
More details of all these events are on our Diary Page.
Summer term exam success for Music School students
Once again, Music School students have been very successful in the ABRSM Summer term exams:
- Harry Birch - Grade 5 Violin: Pass
- Ruby Bowler - Grade 4 Piano: Distinction
- James Bradley - Grade 5 Piano: Distinction
- James Bradley - Grade 5 Theory: Distinction
- Lucy Bradley - Grade 8 Alto Saxophone: Distinction
- Sam Castle - Grade 5 Violin: Distinction
- Mia Cokljat - Grade 8 Piano: Merit
- Martha Cooper - Grade 8 Violin: Merit
- Ashley Garfitt - Grade 8 Clarinet: Distinction
- Fran Hales - Grade 6 Pop Singing: Distinction
- Tom Hewitt - Grade 6 Flute: Pass
- Dominic Heyes - Grade 3 Theory: Merit
- Robert Jelinek - Grade 2 Theory: Distinction
- Siobhan Lister - Grade 5 Piano: Merit
- Caitlin Nichol - Grade 8 Violin: Pass
- Emily Peace - Grade 5 Piano: Merit
- Emily Peace - Grade 6 Singing: Distinction
- Lily Seaborne - Grade 7 Violin: Distinction
- Lucy Seaborne - Grade 6 Cello: Pass
- Lucy Seaborne - Grade 4 Piano: Pass
Congratulations to you all on such wonderful results.
September 2010 - Another Music School Year Begins
The new Music School year begins on September 18th - see our diary for all of this year's rehearsal and concert dates.
This term we have a lot of new students joining Music School, and also 3 new members of staff tutoring ensembles - Kris Garfitt, Gina Walters and Shelagh Webb. Learn more about them on our staff page.
Unfortunately we've been forced to increase our fees slightly this year to make ends meet, but we've also changed the way the family discount is applied so now all families with more than one student at Music School receive a 10% discount, irrespective of which section the children attend. Full details are included in the letter from Trustees.
19 June 2010 - Junior Music School Performance Class
Last Saturday Junior Music School held a performance class where everyone performed a piece to an audience of their fellow students and staff.
Here's what Emily Marks thought of the morning:
Further success for Music School students in Spring term exams
Music School students have once again been very successful in the ABRSM Spring term exams:
- Charlotte Hetherington - Grade 8 Bassoon: Distinction
- Charlotte Hetherington - Grade 7 Singing: Distinction
- Katie Withers - Grade 7 Flute: Distinction
- Stephan Jelinek - Grade 7 Clarinet: Distinction
- Naomi Fearon - Grade 7 Viola: Merit
- Fran Hales - Grade 7 Cello: Merit
- George Thickett - Grade 7 Clarinet: Pass
- Pete Hall - Grade 7 Clarinet: Pass
- Fran Hales - Grade 6 Piano: Pass
- Joe Thickett - Grade 5 Clarinet: Pass
Not to be out-done, our Junior Music School students have also been very successful:
- Dominic Heyes - Grade 4 Trombone: Merit
- Dominic Heyes - Grade 3 Piano: Merit
- Max Croft - Grade 3 Viola: Merit
- Alex Bradley - Grade 1 Piano: Distinction
Congratulations to you all on such wonderful results.
27 March 2010 - Jazz Workshop with Nicola Farnon
On the 27th of March members of Sheffield Music School were joined by jazz vocalist and double bassist Nicola Farnon. The workshop got off to a flying start with Nicola performing her rendition of 'Fever'. Not only did this set the jazzy tone for the rest of the morning but it left us in awe of the fact that she could play the double bass and sing at the same time! Nicola soon had us all involved, clicking along to a melody – a task which sounds a lot simpler than it actually turned out to be. The aim was to click on the 2nd and 4th beats of the bar however it turned out that as stereotypical 'classical' musicians we felt the urge to be regimented and click on the 1st and 3rd beats of the bar; completely going against the rules of jazz.
As a contrast, the morning then continued with some group work. This enabled the juniors and seniors to come together in mixed groups to tackle the next task. Each group was given a few notes of a melody and so it was shared out, passing round the groups in turn. Nicola accompanied us along with Phil and Music School's very own Chris Noble. After several practises the end result sounded pretty polished if not a little improvised by ourselves: however we were to find out that improvisation is the key to jazz.
The morning concluded with us all working together, looking specifically at improvisation and performance. Nicola and the rest of the double basses, accompanied by the piano and the drums provided a consistent baseline and rhythm section while the rest of us interjected with the melody. In-between the melodic sections people were given the opportunity to perform improvised solos and this covered both voice and instruments. Some of us got really into it and decided that stepping and clicking on the 2nd and 4th beats (of course) was absolutely necessary at all times throughout the performance.
After the big finale of the piece, which involved everyone making as much noise as possible and the occasional appearance of jazz hands, we all said a big thank you to Nicola for what had been a truly fabulous morning. It has to be said that great fun was had by all and we all went away having had our eyes opened to the world of jazz.
Congratulations to the Castles!
Sheffield Music School students Sam and James Castle were joined by older brother Harry (a past student of Music School) in winning at this year’s Worksop Music Festival.
- Sam, who is 9, won the under 12 violin class with a fine mark of 88 (distinction).
- James, who is 11, won the under 16 cello class with an excellent mark of 86 (commended).
- Harry, who is 12, won the under 14 and under 16 violin classes, with 86 (commended) and 90 (outstanding), and also went on to win the under 16 piano repertoire class, with 88 (distinction).
- The boys also came together to form a Piano trio and performed No.4 and No.6 of the Frank Bridge Miniatures. They once more triumphed and earned another fantastic mark of 88 (distinction).
Well done boys!!
23 March 2010 - A Full Weekend of Music
It's been a very busy musical weekend for the students of Sheffield Music School, with many of them playing 3 concerts in 3 days.
The first event was the Music School End of Term concert on Saturday night. This included many fine performances from chamber and jazz ensembles and soloists, but perhaps the most amazing item of the evening was the Junior Music School performance of Dvořák's Symphony No.8, it’s great, mate! The skill and confidence of their playing was wonderful, and their progress since the last concert speaks volumes for both the sudents' hard work and the dedication of their tutors Gemma, Tim and Tom. A recording of their performance will be appearing on our Gallery page soon.
Many of the students were also involved in the Sheffield Music Service Gala Concert held in the City Hall on Sunday night. This included performances by the Senior Orchestra, flute choirs, and clarinet ensembles.
The final performance of the weekend was at the "Tune in - Year of Music" event at The City Hall on March 22nd where students from Sheffield Music School played in the foyer and VIP lounge. Zoe and the rest of the staff would like to congratulate everyone on their wonderful playing. Many people commented on the skills and musical flair that the musicians from the Music School demonstrated, and thought that their presence helped lift the festivities. Well done to you all!
All in all a very successful but tiring weekend, and Music School is taking a well-earned rest until 24th April after this weekend's jazz workshop with Nicola Farnon.
Scholarships for Music School Students
Congratulations to James Castle and Georgina Boot on being awarded music scholarships to attend Mount St Mary’s College in September 2010. The following is a quote from Lucy Kitchener, Director of Music at Mount St. Mary’s:
"We are delighted to welcome James and Georgina as music scholars to Mount St Mary's College from September 2010. They both show exceptional promise, and have already achieved a good standard as a result of their hard work and commitment. We look forward to seeing their involvement in the wide range of musical activities on offer here at The Mount."
Mount St Mary's College is a Jesuit boarding and day school for pupils aged 11-18. It is not academically selective, and its ethos is to nurture and develop all aspects of young people. Music has a very high profile within the college and local community, and each year the college awards a number of music scholarships for pupils of exceptional talent and promise. The music department has a strong choral tradition, and 25% of pupils at the school sing in one of the five choirs. In addition, there are numerous instrumental ensembles run by specialist teaching staff. Choirs and ensembles are heavily involved in the extensive concert programme in school, as well as participating in various local and national festivals. It has taken part in large scale cooperative ventures with other schools, and encourages pupils to perform regularly.
Winter term exam success for Music School students
- Rachel Ward - Grade 8 Flute: Distinction
- Rachel Carlile - Grade 8 Viola: Distinction
- Charlotte Hetherington - Grade 7 Bassoon: Distinction
- Ben Grant - Grade 7 Cello: Distinction
- Siobhan Lister - Grade 7 Cello: Distinction
- Lucy Bradley - Grade 7 Flute: Distinction
- Jenny Grant - Grade 7 Violin: Merit
Congratulations to you all! What amazing results.
February 2010 - Sheffield Music School and CSYO
Music School have been offered discounted tickets to attend the next CSYO concert on the 10th April 2010. The concert will be at Ecclesall Parish Church and the programme will include Symphony no.10 by Shostakovich. The tickets are for side pew seats which are very close to the orchestra, so you will feel part of the experience! Tickets are for Music School students only and are priced at £2. If you would like to reserve a ticket please contact Zoe for further information.
January 2010 - New Head of Junior Music School
It was with great sadness that we said goodbye at the end of last term to Selina Slater. As Head of Junior Music School, Selina was a wonderful inspiration to our younger students, and also provided great support to Zoe in taking over as Director.
On a positive note, Gemma Hankins has agreed to take over as Head of Junior Music School. Gemma has been working alongside Selina with the juniors for some time now, and her leadership skills and enthusiasm will continue to inspire. Tim Page will also join Gemma and Tom Spencer as a member of staff in Junior Music School, and we look forward to watching his creative flair rub off on the youngsters.
17 December 2009 - Sheffield Oratorio Concert
Two ensembles and a soloist from Sheffield Music School performed in Sheffield Oratorio's Christmas Concert at St Mark's church in Broomhill. The pieces included Kummer's Rondo from Duet No.2 by our cello duet of Lucy Seabourne and James Castle, the 1st movement from Telemann's Sonata in F minor by bassoon soloist Charlotte Hetherington, and Felix Arndt's Nola played by the clarinet quartet of Stephanie Peacock, Clare Carlile, George Thickett and Pete Hall.
There were many good comments made about the performers' abilities, and after the concert Music School received a generous donation from the Sheffield Oratorio president and his wife for which we are very grateful.
5 December 2009 - Successful Workshop
A report from Rachel Ward, one of our students, on the workshop held on the last day of the Music School term:
The Dalcroze method is improvising with your whole body as well as singing and playing. We had a workshop in Dalcroze with Helen Wenham, an ex member of Music School. We started with a warm up to get us all to loosen up. This was pretty hilarious as some of us had terrible balance! We then split into pairs and had to copy each others movements to the beat of a drum, making sure we did our movements forwards, backwards, left and right.
We then got into a circle and had to think of movements for either 2:4, 3:4, or 4:4 time. Some people thought of crazy movements which were kind of impossible to do gracefully. Whilst Helen went to work with the juniors, we had to get into groups of 4 and come up with a canon either in 2:4, 3:4, or 4:4. This was quite hard, as none of us in our group were very good at thinking of movements to do, and putting it into a canon was sometimes quite challenging as some of us ended up at the same time.
Seeing what everyone had come up with was very funny, as some of the guys just decided to do a weird version of Y.M.C.A.
It was a very fun morning, and would definitely like to do it again, although I was in pain for the next 4 days! Helen was lovely to work with and it would be great to have her back at music school.
"The morning was a very good, and very fun experience, and taught me that music is more than playing an instrument or singing." Tom Bradley
28 November 2009 - End of Term Concert
An audience of over 100 enjoyed our End of Term Concert held at the Salvation Army Citadel on Psalter Lane. All of the students enjoyed performing as part of their ensembles and choir in this great venue.
For the first time in several years, we also recorded the concert and produced a CD. Go to our Audio Gallery to listen to some of the tracks.
TopJoin Sheffield Music School
Sheffield Music School is open to all children playing at Grade 2 or above. The fees are £10 per morning for Juniors, £22 per morning for Intermediates and Seniors, and are payable every half term. There is a 10% reduction for more than one family member in Music School, and some subsidised places available for those on low income.
For more details about joining contact the Director of Music School, Zoe Barker.
Sheffield Music School is very grateful for the sponsorship provided by the following:
- Alexander Technique teacher Kathryn Charlton
- Mount St Mary's College - Spinkhill, Sheffield S21 3YL Tel: 01246 433388
If you would like to find out more about sponsoring Sheffield Music School, please do not hesitate to contact Zoe Barker.
TopLinks to What's Happening Musically in Sheffield
- Music in the Round
- Sheffield Jazz
- Sheffield City Hall
- Sheffield University Music Department
- Sheffield City Council - Sheffield Music Service
- City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra
- Sheffield Chamber Orchestra
- Sheffield Young Singers
- Middlewood Sessions
TopLetters to Members
The essential bit for parents - copies of all those letters that disappear into the dark depths of instrument cases:
- Letter to Parents - January 2013
- Letter to Parents - November 2011
- Letter to Parents - March 2011
- Letter to Parents - January 2011
- Letter to Parents - November 2010
- Letter from Trustees - July 2010
- Letter to Parents - June 2010
- Letter to Parents - 26 March 2010
- Letter to Parents - March 2010
- Letter from Zoe - January 2010
- Hoody Order Form
Sheffield Music School takes place at Sheffield High School, 10 Rutland Park, Sheffield, S10 2PE. Find us on this Map