Summer term is packed with events and music students at Britannica are busy preparing a series of performances for shows taking place around school and further afield. Among the upcoming highlights we have the school rock band (currently still nameless - suggestions on e-postcards please) travelling to Pudong on May 21st to attend the Battle of the Bands competition, which is taking place in the afternoon at the Annual Family Festival organised by ThatsShanghai magazine. The festival is a great day out and we would encourage the wider Britannica community to join us there to cheer on our students.

International day is coming swiftly upon us, and in class students are learning music from many different parts of the world. Students in KS2 have been looking at call-and-response chants from West Africa, traditional Irish melodies on the tin whistle and American blues songs. Our Year 9 students are developing a whole-class version of Fela Kuti’s (Nigeria) Colonial Mentality, a powerful and rhythmically complex Afrobeat tune. Parents attending the International event can look forward to seeing some of these pieces being performed throughout the day.

Preparations for the school musical are also now in full swing and we are excited to present a version of the Robin Hood story later in the term. We have a hard-working cast of solo singers, ably supported by members of Britannica Voices and a new team of budding sound engineers from Year 9.

On a personal note, I am particularly looking forward to the culmination of two long-form class songwriting projects. Year 6 are creating hip-hop music that will include live drum machines, beatboxing and bass playing – alongside lyrics they are penning about their current science topic. The group exploring ‘the digestive system’ have a particularly thought-provoking work-in-progress. Year 8, whose lyrics seemingly tend towards more abstract themes such as tormented love and nihilistic disconnection, are writing their own pop/rock songs, utilising a variety of practical, theoretical and digital composition methods.

These last two original music projects are particularly endearing because they highlight the immense creativity present in all our students at Britannica. Sometimes it is as simple as giving our young people the correct tools and space - and they will supply the magic.