Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival Education Report 2023

Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival Education Report 2023

The Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival was delighted to once again return to our five partner
primary schools to offer a series of music workshops in the summer of 2023, focusing on
composition and songwriting. The project culminated in a public performance where all 150
participating children were invited to perform their new songs. We have offered education
workshops in local schools for over 15 years, initially working with Peasmarsh and Beckley
Schools, and expanding to include Rye Primary School, St Thomas’ Winchelsea and Icklesham
Primary School in the past three years.

Following the impact of Covid-19 on the Festival in 2020 and 2021, when workshop could only
take place online and culminations in individual schools, we were particularly pleased to return to
a large scale public education concert for our five partner schools. In 2022, Rye, Peasmarsh and
Beckley performed in Peasmarsh Church, and St Thomas’s and Icklesham performed in
Winchelsea Church. This year, we brought all five schools together for a culminating
performance in St Mary’s Church, Rye this year, enabling all our participant schools to perform
together for the first time.

In 2023 our education work was led by experienced workshop leader Sam Glazer, assisted by
Tom Clarkson, and working alongside musicians in the Kleio Quartet, who had been engaged to
perform at the Festival.

Education activities in 2023

Our work in 2023 focused primarily on classical music composition workshops in five primary
schools in Rother, each school identifying a cohort of around 30 children to participate in their
The workshops took the form of a full day workshop in each school in June led by Sam Glazer,
and supported by a professional musician (Tom Clarkson and violinists from the Kleio Quartet),
During these workshops, each group of children wrote the lyrics and music for a new song, and
these formed the basis of our final concert. Following our experience in previous years, and
feedback from schools regarding pupil engagement, we were able to precede our one-day
workshops in 2023 with short ‘Inspire’ sessions in each school in May, during which Sam was
able to get to know the children ahead of the intensive workshop day. These sessions were
warmly welcomed by the schools and enabled more pupils to fully engage with, and therefore
benefit more from, the full day workshop.
Following the workshops, Sam then orchestrated the children’s newly composed songs for string
quartet, and provided materials to the schools to enable class teachers to rehearse the songs with
their students. These include recordings of the songs for the children to practise with and lyric
sheets for the children to learn.
Finally, each school was offered a part day refresher workshop, involving Sam and the Kleio
Quartet. These took place during the week of the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival, and
enabled the children to rehearse their songs with the string quartet ahead of the concert. These in-
school refresher sessions were incorporated into ‘sharing assemblies’ in four out of the five
schools, enabling the wider school communities to also become a part of the project, and many
more children to benefit from our work.
Finally, all five schools’ participants were invited to perform at a concert which took place during
the Peasmarsh Chamber Music Festival at St Mary’s Church, Rye. The programme for this
performance also featured the Kleio Quartet, who are award-winning professional musicians
( who had been booked to perform during the Peasmarsh Chamber Music
Festival. In this way the children were able to share the stage with professional musicians, being
accompanied by the Kleio Quartet as they sang, and hear works including string quartets by
Fanny Mendelssohn and Josef Haydn.
The five new compositions were beautifully constructed, and performed, and it was a pleasure to
see these children singing their own compositions and relishing the rightly enthusiastic applause
for their fantastic work. Additionally all participating children learned a new song which they
performed together.

Project Outcomes

The key outcomes of our 2023 education work were:
● Music composition workshops 150 participating children in Years 3 to 6
● Creation of five new works as a result of the workshops
● Public performance opportunity for all participating children
● Opportunity for parents, and festival supporters, to attend the public performance; a total
of 160 individuals took this opportunity up.
● We were delighted that four of the five schools incorporated sharing assemblies into the
refresher session in-school during the week of the festival. This enabled around 200
additional children from the wider school communities to be involved in the project.
● We issued an invitation to children participating in workshops to attend a public concert
during the Festival for free, with significantly subsidised tickets made available to
accompanying adults. This offer was taken up by a small number of families.
Impact on participants
In most cases, the children participating in the school workshops had not previously had the
opportunity to work with professional musicians on composition, neither had they had the
opportunity to perform alongside professional musicians. During their workshops the children
experimented with both singing and percussion and created their own songs for performance in
school at the end of the workshop (or a few days later in some cases). These provided valuable
performance experience.
Participants from all five schools then had the opportunity to perform in public alongside the
Kleio Quartet, who were in residence at the Festival in 2023, who also performed classical
repertoire they were due to perform in the Festival, bringing a curated selection of classical music
to the children, some for the first time.
Participants from Beckley School rehearsing with Sam Glazer and the Kleio Quartet in St Mary’s
The opportunity to perform helped build confidence among participants. One school commented
‘Three boys that would normally find this ‘difficult’ were really engaged and worked well in their
Another school commented that ‘Some children that I thought wouldn’t enjoy the experience,
loved it… my class cannot speak highly enough of Sam and the whole project’.
It is particularly heartening to learn that our work benefited children who do not always find it
easy to engage with class activity. This suggests that the workshops not only offered the
participants an experience and opportunity to participate in a way that they would not have been
possible in a regular school environment, but also that the teachers’ eyes were opened to the
potential and skill of these boys in particular.
We have found over the years that our inclusive approach to our work enables children who do
not always shine in the classroom to participate fully in the music workshops.

Financial outcome

We are very grateful to the funders of our education work in 2023: Kowitz Family Foundation,
Sussex Community Foundation, Rother District Council and the Rudi Martinus van Dijk
Foundation. Our grants were primarily spent on artistic costs of delivering our education work.


Grant income £5,000.00
Project leader planning / orchestration £1000.00
Workshop fees (project leader and musicians) £3,465.00
Concert fees (project leader and musicians) £1,330.00
Bus for children’s transport £595.00
Artists transport costs £329.00
Overheads/general manager costs Contribution by charity
TOTAL £6,719.00

Project challenges

The principal challenges during the period of the grant were logistical. The scheduling of three
workshop dates with each of the five schools is very challenging (the scheduling of the refresher
sessions are also a significant component of the in the overall rehearsal schedule of the Festival).
The other challenge surrounded the scheduling of the five schools’ rehearsals on the morning of
the concert day, which relied heavily on the two coaches (working as a shuttle) running to
schedule (they did!), and all schools arriving in good time for their rehearsal on the concert day
(they were!). Unavoidably two of the schools were onsite for a while between their rehearsals and
the concert, but the children and staff were all fantastically patient whilst their peers rehearsed.
Conversely, one of the schools didn’t have quite long enough between their rehearsal and
performance, so had a slightly hurried few hours. We will look at whether any of this could be
done differently next year, but the general view was that it went very well.

Future plans

We are in the early stages of planning the education workshops for 2024. All five of our partner
schools have indicated that they are interested in participating in our project. One school asked
whether the workshop might be split across two half days. We will investigate the potential for
this as we start to plan out our work in consultation with the schools. However, the Festival
remains fully committed to working with local primary schools, to offering inclusive workshops
delivered by first class professional musicians and which require no prior experience or musical
training, and to providing a public performance platform for participants, as we did this summer.
Anna Rowe
28 September 2023


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