One of the most difficult music events to organise during the pandemic was the Three Schools’ Concert. However, we managed to find time for musicians and singers from all three schools to meet and work together this week and the result was a very enjoyable concert with some wonderful music and a great feeling of community spirit.
Ben Harlan was inspirational in leading the orchestra in music by Purcell and Dvorak and this included many players form Dunhurst and Bedales. Dunhurst music scholars Tommy Hornsby and Eliot Santos (both Block 2) gave stunning solo performances on the cello and violin, demonstrating the musical ambition inherent in the artistic ethos at Bedales, and Bedales music scholar Leela Walton (6.1) gave a very mature and emotional rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Canzonettafrom his Violin Concerto. It was particularly wonderful to hear from Leela as she is one of our many musicians who joined in Dunannie and now lead the music in the senior school.
Music from our contemporary musicians demonstrated the variety of musical interests that we nurture at Bedales and Dunannie brought the house down with their song Baby Beluga which told the story of a little white whale. Singers form all schools then joined to sing Stand By Me by Ben E King with a solo from Joel Edgeworth and the concert ended with some rousing singing by everyone of the four gospel favourites.
We thought it was important for the Bedalians to inspire the younger musicians but it was clear on this occasion that that influence worked from the bottom up and the talents and enthusiasms of the Dunhurst and Dunannie pupils had a miraculous and enervating effect on our older musicians. We look forward to more three schools events in the near future as they are a wonderful way of celebrating what the Bedales community has to offer.
One of the most exciting things about the Music Technology A Level that we are now offering is that a significant amount of the course can be specifically tailored to each individual student’s musical passions. Whilst the final practical projects in 6.2 are set to structured briefs, there is a lot of leeway within that structure to explore different genres of music.
So far this term we have listened to and analysed lots of music recorded by successful Old Bedalians who started their musical journeys in the very studio our current students have their lessons in. Each student has also begun working on two personal projects: recording a cover of a classic song and composing a piece of music using all of the new equipment available to use in the Bedales recording studio, including a classic Moog Grandmother synthesizer. Although every project is unique to each student, there has been a real sense of collaboration with everyone sharing their particular musical skills to contribute to each other’s tracks.
Students have also begun to explore the most challenging part of the course – mixing large multi-track projects, and we have been lucky enough to source some amazing material to practice on featuring multi-tracks of classic songs by legendary artists. There is a real sense of enjoyment coming from the creation of exciting music and it is often forgotten that this all counts as actual schoolwork working towards a formal A Level as there is so much fun to be had.
Find out more about Music Technology A Level here.
When Bedales closed its doors to students five weeks ago, I set our students the task of producing some online content that would both help to keep them busy and also hopefully bring one or two smiles to the faces of the Bedales community. What has since followed has been one of the most meaningful and creative periods I have ever had the fortune of witnessing in all of my years at Bedales.
From spectacular original songs to fun covers, innovative video collaborations to hilarious outtakes. Students have been constantly learning new skills to turn their creative visions into very real end product. From how to record bands across three continents with limited equipment, using specialist music and editing software to create professional quality video, learning stop motion video techniques, researching how best to stream live concerts (more of which to follow in the coming weeks) and learning new ways to collaborate with each other during this unique period. We’ve been sharing the finished results on our social media channels, but if you’ve missed any, you can access all the videos on the Bedales Vimeo channel here.
From September 2020, students in 6.1 will be able to choose Music Technology as one of their A Level options.
Bedales has a rich tradition of students successfully following career paths into the music industry – from major label recording artists, instrumentalists and producers, to record label bosses, musical directors, music managers, A&R and sound engineers.
The Music Technology A Level course will teach students how great music is produced and give them the skills to create compelling music of their own. Delivered within Bedales’ successful and innovative Contemporary Music department, the course will provide the scope and framework for students to develop key skills and prepare them to work independently through personal and collaborative projects.
A different and inspiring night was had by four Bedales contemporary musicians as we performed at the Women in Business Awards in Windsor on 30 September.
The Women in Business Awards celebrates the tremendous work leading ladies have done to achieve their goals and to inspire other women to follow their own ambitions. The overriding message from the keynote speakers was that you can accomplish your goals if you work hard and put your mind to it.
We were invited to perform music to add to the ambience of the evening. Safi Kazim once again blew the audience away with her outstanding originals. Mabel Watson and Lila Levingston also impressed the crowd with their beautifully sung covers, and I accompanied them all!
We all thoroughly enjoyed our evening and it was interesting to meet such pioneering women who wanted to share their experiences with other successful – and aspiring – professionals. A big thank you to Tamsin Napier-Munn, Host and Manager of the Women in Business Awards, for inviting us to play at such a thought-provoking event, and we hope to be invited back next year!
Tamsin added: “The Women in Business Awards is one of the highlights of the year in the Thames Valley and the South, celebrating, encouraging and inspiring business women in the region who have had the courage to step up and be recognised for their achievements. This year, we were delighted to have four talented performers from Bedales sing and play for us, helping us create a wonderful atmosphere. A huge thank you to Mabel, Minna, Safi and Lila, for your professionalism and commitment to the evening. You are inspiring, hugely talented young women; thank you for sharing your talent with us.”
By Neil Hornsby, Head of Contemporary Music Photos by Sashia Monnier, Block 4
This Thursday saw the first big musical event of the year with Merry Evening in the Lupton Hall, a night of original songs, pop covers, classical music and magic! A wide range of great performances from budding rock stars in Block 3 to a rousing finale by The Upstanding Gents, our dynamic band of sixth form rockers. There were ten debuts out of 24 performances, roared on by an extremely enthusiastic audience. A memorable evening for all involved got what promises to be a great year for music at Bedales off to an exciting start!