Junior Music Festivals
Junior Music Festivals are two- or three-day events that take place at large venues in Reading and Basingstoke, incorporating many local schools and hundreds of Key Stage 2 children. The festivals are a wonderful collaboration between schools and students engaged in the Music Hub, sharing the passion for making music and giving opportunities to young people. They are guaranteed to be evenings full of joy, happiness and amazing achievements!
The children spend the afternoon of the concert rehearsing at the venue. Families can buy tickets for the evening performances, which are invariably sold out!
Festivals are held at The Hexagon in Reading (for Reading and Wokingham schools, and Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough schools) for around 1,000 singers over three days, and at The Anvil in Basingstoke (for West Berkshire schools) involve around 1,200 singers over three days. The next festivals will be:
- West Berkshire schools – Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 March 2017 at The Anvil
- Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough schools – Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 June 2017 at The Hexagon
- Reading and Wokingham schools – Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 November 2017 at The Hexagon
The programmes of songs are chosen to give the children a good range of appropriate vocal and learning challenges – usually with a theme, or from one work. Past pieces have included:
- Ecological musicals – Yanomamo; African Jigsaw
- School Musicals – Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat
- School Cantatas – Adam in Eden; Mighty Mississippi; Noah and his Floating Zoo; Along Came Man; Song of the Earth
- Opera – All the King’s Men
- Popular songs from screen and stage
The theme of the Reading/Wokingham and West Berkshire festivals in 2016 and 2017 will be Friendship with songs drawn from TV, stage and screen. Performances from individual schools will give them the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of friends and what they mean to us.
The singing is accompanied by an orchestra/band of our teachers and older students, giving the participants a full and exciting musical experience that would not be available within their schools. Concerts feature contributions from participating schools, with dance, choirs and work from First Access Projects. They are also a partnership with the Maestros Music Centres, whose bands, orchestras and ensembles always participate.
All of the materials for the Music Festivals are provided for schools at no cost:
- CD of exemplar recordings and backing tracks for practice
- Complete set of words with all instructions
- Teaching notes and advice
- Venue hire
We also provide two Area Rehearsals for groups of schools to meet in their locality and have a morning or afternoon with the professional conductor. These workshop experiences provide high-quality vocal and choral training for the children and help with rehearsal points to enhance their future learning. They are informative, stimulating and great fun and are popular with the participants and school staff.
Teachers get free CPD during the area rehearsals by observing the work of the conductor and gain:
- Developing confidence in their own work (i.e. validating what they already do)
- Rehearsing techniques and tips for further work, particularly in how to raise standards and quality and keep children engaged and how to pace work
- Simple technical advice for improving their children’s singing which is of benefit both for the JMF events and their general work in schools. This has contributed to the steady improvement of singing at KS2 in a growing number of schools over the last ten years
Schools responsibilities are:
- To transport children to two area rehearsals and to the concert venues on performance day
- Administration within school and communication with parents
To read the feedback that we have received from schools following previous Junior Music Festivals, please click here.
All organisation, administration and budgeting is managed by the Maestros Schools Events Coordinator and a team of staff. If you would like to find out more about our Junior Music Festivals please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.