There’s a rhythm to our learning...

Year seven pupil Sadie Robinson performed on stage with the Witchwood musicians during the School of Rock event at Todmorden High School
Year seven pupil Sadie Robinson performed on stage with the Witchwood musicians during the School of Rock event at Todmorden High School

VISITING musicians gave up their time to put on a performance described as “stunning” for year 7 and 8 students at Todmorden High School.

They a song-selection which included material by Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Ed Sheeran, among others, which went down well with their audience and Year 7 student Sadie Robinson joined them on-stage for a rocky cover of jazz legend Nina Simone’s Feeling Good.

The musicians have been put together by Manchester music venue The Witchwood, at Ashton-Under-Lyne, where bands including Snow Patriol, Ash and Goldie Looking Chain have trod the boards.

Positive feedback from the young Todmorden audience and inspired them to take their “School Of Rock” live music project into other schools.

The concert had been organised by expressive arts teacher Claire Sargeant and was not just about the power of music but also the importance of literacy and numeracy.

“It was about inspiring our students to see and understand the power and effect music has, if used correctly, to angage and build intellect. We wanted the musicians to talk to the students about literacy and song-songwriting, numeracy and the importance of sequencing, beats and rhythm,” said Claire.

Sadie stunned the musicians with her confidence and her fellow students with the power of her voice, said Claire, and said herself: “It was the most inspirational and fantastic thing to do in my whole life so far. Just to think they tried so hard at school, it has made me want to try harder too.”

The concert began with students writing a word down to describe the school, basing it on subjects, staff or an experience. Animator Richard Baxter spoke about the importance of metaphors in songwriting and had to create a beat poem from their words in 20 minutes.

Guitarist Ryan Smith and drummer Gaz Walsh spoke about how music plays a vital rile in their lives and how important mathematics isd to it (both and a grade A match GCSE to their names).

Claire Sargeant outlined nine positives music has on the brain, including building memory, reveieving anxiety (for example during exam time), supports maths and build confidence.

The school’s assistant head teacher Lynda Ferris saw the show and said: “I can honestly say it is one of my most memorable experiences at Todmorden High School.”