An academy’s determination to bring music into the lives of all its students is on song following a major commitment to the subject.
A total of 400 young people at Bede Academy in Blyth, have taken up an instrument or joined one of the many music groups at both Bede’s primary and secondary sites.
Director of music Helen Kerr said: “We made a commitment to encourage more students to learn to play and have the experience of playing in an ensemble without the cost of private lessons that is often a barrier.
“Music is very much part of the Bede ethos and we want everyone to have the opportunity.
“A number have gone on to reach grade five in their instrument and some, like Oliver Barron, have reached grade eight.
“They all tell us they would never have done it if they hadn’t been given the opportunity in the first place.”
In last year’s GCSEs music was Bede’s top subject with all 17 students who took the subject achieving an A grade. Six have gone on to study music at A level.
The success of the music programme has been seen particularly in the wind band, which has now been able to expand into senior and beginner groups.
Kirsty Routledge, 14, of Blyth, who has reached grade three baritone, said: “I started with the trumpet but was able to change.
“Everyone is really enjoying wind band.”
Ellie Gibson, also 14, of Blyth, who is about to leap from grade one to five on the clarinet, said: “It’s a really good experience.
“Playing in the band helps you develop as a musician because you have to work together.”
Music clubs are held every evening at the academy and performance groups include a jazz band, orchestra, several choirs and the worship band, which plays every day in assembly.
On May 18 the choir will join colleagues from its sister school Emmanuel College in performances at Prom Praise at The Sage Gateshead.