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Musical Opportunities

Welcome back to the new academic year where at Unsworth we want to offer your children the very best opportunities for music. I will continue to visit school every Tuesday working with individual Year groups and leading full school ‘Big Sing’ assemblies.

Today Year 2 had their first Ocarina lesson! The Ocarina is a small plastic instrument with 4 holes, and is an ideal instrument for KS1 children to learn.  Children will also learn about musical notation and elements of music such as ‘Pitch’ and ‘Rhythm.’

Year 3 had their second recorder lesson this morning. The children are already making amazing progress, as they are able to build on the Ocarina skills they developed in Year 2.

We are delighted to have on board exciting instrumental teachers offering a super range of instruments from children in Y1-6. In our assembly today we welcomed Dave from ‘Fidler Music’ who gave a fantastic demonstration to the children on learning the Ukulele and Guitar.  The children were spellbound when he started playing ‘ Despacito’ and other popular songs.  I can highly recommend ‘Fidler Music’ as they visit some of the other schools in our Music Collaborative and are very reasonably priced.  Each child in Y1 and Y2 has a letter about how they can sign up for lessons with this organisation.  Interested children in Key Stage 2 chose to take a letter home.

Year 5 had their Brass session today. We welcome back Mr Watkins, who is a Brass specialist and will be working with Y5 all year as part of the Wider Opportunities Programme.  Parents will have received a letter asking permission for children to take their instruments home, so please return the reply slip to school as soon as possible if you haven’t already done so.

Choral group will recommence at lunchtime on Tuesdays for any children in Years 5 and 6 that wish to come and sing. We do request that children who sign up for choir remain in it until the end of term, as we have already been invited to participate in numerous events, particularly in the run up to Christmas.  You may like to ‘Save the date’ Monday 11th December, as our choir will be performing at Bury Parish Church in the ‘Bury Hospice’ annual Carol Service.  This is always a wonderful event, and I know from experience, children do get very disappointed if they rehearse all the songs and carols, and are then unable to sing at the actual event.

If you wish to speak to me about any musical matters please call in between 8 and 9 am any Tuesday. We truly value music education at  School and strive once again this year to give your child the very best opportunities to shine.

Mrs Geelan


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A Musical New Year!

I must start the New Year by congratulating all the children who were involved in the Bury Hospice Carol Service at Bury Parish Church. The Hospice have written a letter of thanks to each school, and the total raised from this event was £2000.  This is an amazing amount of money and thanks go to all the parents and staff who supported this event.  The choral group also sang beautifully when we took them to Spurr House.  The children thoroughly enjoy performing for the elderly people and we will definitely be making a return visit before the end of the school year.

This term I will continue to work with Y2 and 3, teaching ocarina and recorder. Brass lessons and Fidler music will recommence from January 10th.  Please remember to bring your instrument to school each Tuesday.  As the weather is due to turn quite cold, please do not leave Brass instruments in car boots for long periods as the valves will freeze up!

In our Big Sing we will be learning songs about Technology and Internet safety, not forgetting to celebrate the Chinese New Year through song at the end of January. Always check the school ‘Twitter’ as we often share the children’s singing for you to enjoy.

A new singing group will be formed for any interested children in Years 5 and 6 and more information will follow about this in due course. We are hoping to collaborate with some local school choirs before the end of the school year and share our joy of singing with our neighbouring schools.

If you have any queries or questions about Music at Unsworth, please feel free to pop in and have a chat, I am here every Tuesday.


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Musical Impressions

Today I had the pleasure of shadowing the talented and charismatic Mrs. Geelan at Unsworth Primary School. As an NQT about to start his career as a secondary music teacher, I was astounded by the level of understanding of key terminology and musicianship that Mrs. Geelan instills in her pupils across all age groups. This, coupled with the respectful and inclusive nature of the school, provided a thoroughly enjoyable and welcoming day.
I would recommend a visit to all who are thinking of getting into teaching, or anyone else for that matter.

Thank you!

James Withington


Sing into Spring

Welcome to the start of the new term. As the weather starts to improve and the days get longer we like to sing about the Spring and New beginnings.  Our assembly theme this week is all about Creativity, so it was fitting that we found a song called ‘Creativity’ to perform in our singing assembly this morning.

Year 3 have done an amazing job of learning the song ‘Food Glorious Food from the musical Oliver. They are to perform it in their assembly on Thursday.  I am sure you will enjoy it and be impressed with their singing.

Although the children have had a break from school, I am impressed with how well they have settled back into their instrumental lessons today. Our Wider Opportunities Y2 Ocarinas and Y5 Brass sounded amazing so ‘Well done’ to all!  All our instrumentalists will soon be choosing their repertoire to perform at our annual Musical afternoon (date to be confirmed).  This year should be our biggest extravaganza to date and will of course include a debut performance from the guitarists and ukulele players who learn with ‘Fidler Music.’

As ever, if you have any queries or questions about music or instrumental lessons, please call in to school any Tuesday morning.

Mrs Geelan

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A Musical Masterpiece!

Our next large scale musical event will take place in July at Bury Parish Church. I have been asked to organise a ‘Youth Prom’ style concert which will obviously involve the choirs from the 5 schools in our Collaborative, alongside the Bury Young Voices Choir, and the Derby High School Band.

It is an exciting task to find repertoire for such events, challenging the children and introducing them to different genres of music. With great anticipation the Choral Group today began the task of learning the ‘Manchester Mash Up.’  This is a selection of songs all associated with Manchester that are ‘mashed together’ to create a 10 minute musical composition.  I have ensured the children mums, dads and carers will remember songs from the 80’ s and 90’s such as James ‘Sit down’ and Oasis ‘Don’t look back in anger.’

This fantastic musical masterpiece culminates with Elbow ‘A day like this.’ The thought of over 100 children performing this medley with a live band I’m sure will be another memorable night for our pupils, teachers, parents and carers.  To help the choral group familiarise themselves with these songs I have included a link for them to listen to and follow their lyrics.

Our instrumentalists are continuing to make super progress particularly in Wider Opportunities where we have classes learning Ocarinas, Recorders and Brass.

Now we have entered the season of Spring, I look forward to our weekly ‘Big Sing’ where the theme of our songs will be the festival of Easter and New Life.

Mrs Geelan


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The Merits of Music

It always gives me a great buzz when I arrive at Unsworth on Tuesdays to see children walking to school carrying guitars, ukuleles, violins and Brass instruments. I often think Tuesdays at Unsworth should be renamed ‘Tuneful Tuesdays.’ We really are very proud of the amount of music we manage to pack into the timetable each week, and the benefits music has across the curriculum.  I am usually greeted on a Tuesday by pupils who ask, ‘Miss, is it ocarinas today or ‘Is it Big Sing?  Music is so important to the children and on the odd occasion Big Sing doesn’t happen, they quite rightly express their disappointment, and demand an explanation as to why it hasn’t happened!

Our Music Collaborative has now been in operation for over ten years, and it is evident how music has developed across 5 schools building confidence amongst pupils as well as musical skills.

Our visiting music teachers thoroughly enjoy working at our school, particularly Mr Dixon who even visits us from a different authority. When asked about his visit to Unsworth Mr Dixon said he ‘thoroughly enjoys coming to work with such talented and committed pupils in Year 5, and the musical skills they develop lower down the school certainly benefit them when they start to learn a musical instrument.’

Today we have recorded many extracts of the children’s musical talents and hope you can take a moment to listen to and maybe even comment on some of our performances on Twitter. Tomorrow is National Sing Up Day, and we constantly remind pupils that we have been awarded the ‘Gold’ Sing Up award for the quality of our singing!

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New Year Music

I must begin the New Year blog by saying a huge ‘Well Done’ to our Choral Group for some fantastic performances over the festive season. They certainly brought joy to many people, whilst helping to raise funds for two of our local charities; Bury Hospice and Manchester Children’s Hospital.

I thoroughly enjoyed the school productions this year and congratulate all the staff and children involved in both the Infant and Junior performances. They certainly are a highlight of our Autumn term.

As we move into the Spring term, there are a couple of changes to my day at Unsworth. Reception had their first music lesson in the hall today where they enjoyed learning songs about ‘Winter.’  Next week, all the children in Year 3 will start to learn recorder as a class.  Instruments will be provided but they are to remain in school so children always have them for the weekly lesson.

Mr Dixon came to visit us today with lots of new songs to develop our Brass playing. He was so impressed with Y5 today, especially as they have had a 2 week holiday and probably not much time to practise their instruments!  Fidler Music lessons also recommenced today, and it is encouraging to see just how many children are learning to play Guitar and Ukulele.

I will be arranging another visit to Spurr House for the Choral Group this term. Both the children and elderly people thoroughly enjoy conversing with each other, and it seems a shame to only visit at Christmas when so much pleasure evolves from this for all concerned.

As ever, if you have any queries about music or instrumental lessons, do not hesitate to pop into school on a Tuesday.

Mrs Geelan

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Musical Moments

Today it has been wonderful to see the buzz amongst the children as they wait patiently for their music lesson with our new music company ‘Fidler Music.’ In just one day at school I have witnessed Ocarinas, Singing, Brass, Violins and Ukulele and Guitar playing.  It is wonderful the way our music department is expanding and reaching out to so many children.  I look forward with anticipation to our end of school year ‘Musical afternoon’ where we will once again display the talents of all our instrumentalists and singers.

Our Choral Group gave their first performance in assembly last week. They sang ‘You’ve got a friend.’  Even without a warm up or short rehearsal they sounded amazing and didn’t seem phased at all by their audience.  I look forward to preparing the children next term for all the Christmas concerts.  The music is already in place! Today we posted an audio tweet of our whole school singing a peace song. If you click the link in the tweet you can experience what our weekly big sing is like.

Y5 have made super progress in just 6 lessons and are able to play ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and ‘Castle March’ using the notes C, D and E. Mr Dixon is incredibly pleased with the progress the children have made and thoroughly enjoys coming to work with them each week.  Apologies for the delay with children waiting on instrument repairs.  These were quite major repairs that have now been carried out and we have been reassured these instruments are now good as new, and will be allocated to children.

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Playing and Performing

Music continues to be vibrant and exciting at Unsworth with lots to sing about! We love to celebrate every kind of festival  through singing, and to date children have enjoyed learning songs about the Chinese New Year, Comic Relief, Mothers/Special person’s day and St Patricks day.  Songs are often informative and give the children an insight into traditions and characteristics about each festival.

Unfortunately we have lost our lovely Brass teacher Mr Dixon for the remainder of this academic year due to his other work commitments as a performer, but we look forward to welcoming him back again in September.  The children do have a new Brass teacher and will continue to be supported by myself and Mrs Ali. Year 3 will continue this term with their ‘Wider Op’s recorder sessions.  The children are making super progress and continue to impress me with their note reading skills.  They are also learning songs from Ghana to theme in with work in class.

‘Ten Pieces’ is a project that has been put together by the BBC with the intention of introducing 10 popular pieces of classical music to young people.  Year 4 have had great fun exploring the music of Gustav Holst’s ‘Mars’ from the Planet Suite.   Using this piece for inspiration, they composed their own music based on Mars with percussion instruments, and concluded by learning to play ‘Mars’ on the glockenspiel with orchestral backing track.

Currently we are studying the ‘Hall of the Mountain King’ which you may know as the Alton Towers Theme tune! Our choral group continue to meet at the end of the school day and the choir performed John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ to the whole school in our ‘Big Sing.’ We enjoy singing a diverse repertoire of songs and always try and sing in parts even if we find it difficult at first! You can hear their performance by clicking the link on our Twitter feed.

Our Samba band will recommence next term, so any budding drummers be prepared to get involved.  We will also be holding our annual musical afternoon to show off the musical talents of all our pupils who engage in musical activities. As ever, if you have any questions or queries about the musical education of your child, or you need information about learning to play a musical instrument, please pop in any Tuesday morning.

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Brass and Singing

We think our new Brass teacher Mr Dixon is amazing!  After 2 lessons all the children in Year 5 are able to playing simple tunes using notes C D and E and read music from the stave!  What a brilliant start.  Please support your children on their instruments.  Most weeks a sheet will be sent home with music to practise.  By Christmas we are hoping to be able to play Jingle Bells.

Our whole school singing continues to develop and children are enjoying singing ‘Count on Me’ by Bruno Mars.  We have also looked at the song ‘Apples and Honey’ to celebrate the festival of Rosh Hashanah. I have loved popping into Reception with the keyboard and listening to the children sing a variety of Nursery rhymes.  We have played some musical games where the children listen to high and low notes.

Our new choral group have also got off to a great start!  They will be very busy particularly this term in preparation for a large scale carol service at Bury Parish Church on Monday 15th December.  This concert was a sell out last year, so please put the date in your diaries and we will let you know when tickets are available for purchase. I have thoroughly enjoyed the new term to date, and look forward to all the musical opportunities I hope to create for the children this new school year.

Mrs Geelan