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In Harmony

About In Harmony

‘In Harmony’ is a social and music education programme that has been running in our school for the past few years.  It uses music to bring positive change to the lives of children, delivering benefits to the wider community. The programme encourages participation in music – in the form of the symphony orchestra – which can have huge personal benefits for the children involved, providing opportunities to grow and develop, both socially and musically.

Children are taught musical instruments by music leaders and they are then brought into full-scale orchestras and encouraged to play live in front of audiences from an early stage. We were selected as one of only four schools in Nottingham City to take part in this programme.

Children in Years 4, 5 and 6 currently all have the opportunity to learn how to play either a trumpet or a trombone taught on a weekly basis by teachers from the Nottingham Music service and a professional musician, as well as music students from Nottingham University. As well as the weekly class lessons, every Friday afternoon the children come together to play as a small orchestra. 

Family Orchestra Day

See our latest clips on You Tube

In Harmony Concerts

The children have participated in 4 exciting events since Christmas!

In January they played a concert at the Albert Hall for guests at the North of England Education Conference! The children played Dvorak’s  ‘New World Symphony’  Carlos Santana’s  “Oye Como Va”  and “When the Saints go Marching in” The whole concert was a spectacular success that earned the children many plaudits from the audience. A particular highlight was the ‘Largo’ section from the New World Symphony played by the Year 5 and 6 Gifted and Talented group.

On March 1st. 15 children gave up their Saturday to perform at a Governor’s conference in town. We received many comments regarding the quality of the playing and the children’s attitude and conduct was, as ever, exemplary!

On March 27th 60 children and 6 staff took part in a concert at the Albert Hall, this time for parents.  The opening rendition of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, complete with dramatic entrance and smoke machine was the most spectacular musical performance from Primary school children that any of us could remember! The children also played Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, Oye Como Va and We Will Rock You – all to thunderous applause!  An elite group of children from Year 5 and 6 also gave a completely note-perfect performance of ‘Happy’ that will live long in the memory of anyone lucky enough to have heard it


All the children in Years 4 – 6 are learning a brass instrument, either the Trumpet or Trombone. They have either 1 or 2 professionally taught lessons a week, depending on year group. The children have ownership of those instruments and are free to take them home during their time at Dovecote.  The children in Year 3 have a singing lesson once a week, taught by the In Harmony staff.

As well as the regular taught lessons, there are several events that take place during the year

Music Camp

On September the 12th, year 5 children went to the beautiful surroundings of Ilam Hall in Derbyshire for Music Camp. This is an authority run event and is designed to ‘fast track’ the children’s musical learning – with a particular focus on reading music.  The children learn a couple of pieces over the weekend and perform a concert in the Youth Hostel at the end of the weekend. For many, it is their first experience of playing in an ensemble or even playing to an audience.  It is always a very successful weekend and the children enjoy it very much.


In January, 25 children from Year 5 and 6 had a very exciting day out in London.  They got to meet children from the “In Harmony Lambeth” concert and then played a joint concert in the Queen Elizabeth Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall at the South Bank Centre.  Also present were members of the Venezuelan youth orchestra who joined in alongside the children! 

Creative celebration concert

A number of year 5 children went to the Albert Hall recently to play in a Creative Celebration concert.  They played a piece called “Toccata/Break out” which is incredibly fun to play. As impartially as I can be, I have to say that their performance was stunning!

24 Hour Play

Nottingham City Music Hub took part in a 24 hour music marathon at the start of July. This included children and staff from across the city taking part in a continual stream of music, starting at 11:00 on Friday morning, carrying on through the night and ending with a parade in the city centre on Saturday.

Dovecote were given the honoured position of starting the event off.  The children from Year 5 played continuously for half an hour without a single break, which is a lot harder than it sounds! They were shattered by the end but very proud of their efforts!

The event was covered by Notts TV and a number of the children were interviewed and featured on their news bulletin.


There was a large In Harmony presence at 3 different Christmas events this year.  The Year 2-4 Christmas performance had a group of children performing Silent Night.  At the Year 5-6 “Christmas at the Movies” concert at the church there were 2 pieces – “Winter Wonderland” and “Little Drummer Boy” (including an impromptu solo from Mr Yates!).

A number of children also performed in front of a capacity crowd at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall as part of “Christmas in the City”.

Great Orchestra Experiment

In March, the Year 4 children took part in the ‘Great Orchestra Experiment’. This is an interactive concert, which for most children is their first experience of seeing live classical music.  This year had a Star Wars theme, including lightsabre bows for the violins!  The children had learnt one of the pieces - Holst’s Jupiter – and were able to play along with the orchestra!

Top Brass

8 members of staff are now meeting once a week and have formed the Dovecote staff band – now known as “Top Brass”.  As well as performing at the Sports Hall concert they have also performed for children in assembly.  Many more public appearances are planned for next year!

Music Qualifications

A number of our Year 4 children have undertaken a Music Medal exam, a precursor to the Grade Exams.  Only last week we had 14 children do their Grade 1 or 2 exams for their brass instrument. We will have their results back in September and I am incredibly proud of their efforts.

As we enter the next academic year most, if not all, of those opportunities will present themselves again.  I already have 10 children booked in to come to Music Camp in September and there will musical opportunities at Christmas, including another chance to see the Dovecote staff band. We are intending to do another Parents’ concert in the Sports Hall at Easter again, and there will be an opportunity for any child that wants to, to do their Grade exams next summer!

Genre Of The Term

As part of a push to widen the children’s musical experiences we have also started something called “genre of the term”. This is a style, or area, of music that the whole school listens to for a few weeks. We introduced this at Christmas and so far we have had “Big Band/swing”, “Holst”, “Female Singer-Songwriters” and “Music of South America”.

Next year we are planning, ”Music from the 1980’s”  “Music from musicals” “Music from the Caribbean “The Great American Songbook “Hans Zimmer” and “The Beatles”.

I will put further details on the website but it would be brilliant if parents could listen to some of this music with the children and discuss it!

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