Ark Music brings festive cheer to Ark primary schools

The Ark Music team has brought some festive cheer as part of its 12 Days of Create-mas programme.

With traditional Christmas and community events unable to take place this term, the two-week festival of creativity for Ark's primary school pupils aimed to fill this gap.

The programme opened with a Bhangra Tots dance party and the festival featured daily creative worksheets, interactive live streams, creative video tasks, dancing and drumming with Senegalese artists Mohamed Gueye and Salifou Camara, puppet-making with Polly Beestone and a closing soca party with Just Vibez! 

This term the team also delivered weekly singing assemblies and online ensemble rehearsals after launching a new programme of music. Dubbed 'Music Wednesdays', more than 1000 primary pupils across Ark schools came together through MS Teams during their morning assemblies. Classrooms could see, wave, and sing to each other. During the assemblies, pupils sang a mix of songs from around the world led by professional singers.

Margaret O'Shea, Director of Ark Music Programme, said: "This is the season for Ark's school communities to come together and enjoy the last weeks of term in a fun way with music and activities to inspire them.

"During a year of change and uncertainty, so many students missed everyday school life and routine. Enrichment activities like choirs and after school music clubs are so important as they help build young people's creative skills, develop their musicianship and let them thrive.

"We've worked hard with music teachers to ensure no child misses music as part of their education, so it's fantastic that we've been able to bring the Ark network together even for a short time each week."

After-school clubs also returned this term. The One Voice team who previously worked in Ark schools supporting weekly school choirs have adapted to delivering this online, and the Sounds Alive instrumental ensemble has helped young instrumentalists who want to develop their ensemble skills. 

In addition, the Music team has run five full days of interactive online workshops, where professional musicians have brought the curriculum to life. The workshops have ranged from body percussion sessions with Stomp cast member Alua Nascimento to composition workshops with British-Asian artist Shammi Pithia. 

Ark Music programme is currently working with almost 6,000 secondary students, and around 3,000 primary students, some beyond the Ark network. If you are interested in finding out more about becoming one of Ark Music’s partner schools, please email margaret.oshea@arkonline.org. You can find out more information about their work and support here.