How free enrichment programmes for Islington children are opening up doors and minds
This year, Islington’s schools are celebrating three years of free music education. Through a trio of programmes, thousands of opportunities for children of all backgrounds have been created: 11 by 11, which offers 11 outstanding cultural experiences to all children and young people in Islington by year 11; World of Work, a free programme of career-related activities for primary and secondary schools, which equips students with 100 hours of experience of the world of work by the age of 16; and Music Education Islington (MEI), a partnership with Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which offers high quality music education to all children and young people in Islington. We caught up with three students to find out how they’ve benefitted from the programmes.
Chandra and Raffy
Siblings Chandra and Raffy, aged 14 and 12, both attend a MEI Music Centre, as well as holiday activities such as orchestra and West African drumming. “I highly recommend joining MEI’s after school activities,” says Chandra. “There are lots of really big opportunities for people who love music. There is such a wide range of music genres that you can practice and learn from.”
Raffy, meanwhile, has found a whole new hobby through the programme. “I’d never played the trombone before and when they let me play it, I was very happy! It means a lot to me. It’s really special to be able to hire my trombone. “The music activities have helped me a lot – in school and in life in general. The teachers are very kind.”
Eleven-year-old Hussein is a pupil at Arts and Media School Islington and attends the MEI Music Centre, where he has been learning the violin for two years.
“My life has changed so much since taking part in MEI,” says Hussein. “I moved to London from Syria and doing music has changed me as a person. It takes so much effort to play the violin, so I have become more hard-working. I also like how music uses my imagination. I can imagine the orchestra as a sea and we can make sounds like thunder.”
Find out more about Music Education Islington and sign up via the Guildhall School website.