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Sage Gateshead to expand In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead music programme

Posted on 29 September 2017

More children and young people in the west end of Newcastle will learn instruments and engage with orchestral music with the expansion of In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead, Sage Gateshead announced today.

The school based, music-making programme, which has been running successfully at Hawthorn Primary School in Elswick since 2012, was today launched at Bridgewater Primary School in Scotswood. It will also run at its attached nursery and nearby Rye Hill Community Nursery.

Members of Royal Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of Sage Gateshead, visited the school and performed for pupils. They also answered questions about learning an instrument. The orchestra has been involved with the programme since its inception.

Delivered by Sage Gateshead and funded by Arts Council England and Department for Education, In Harmony Newcastle Gateshead is one of six projects in England and ensures every child is immersed in music on a weekly basis. It aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities using the power and disciplines of group music-making.

Musical skills, confidence and self esteem, educational attainment and health and well being are improved through learning about and taking part in orchestral music-making.

Pupils at Hawthorn have travelled across the region and beyond performing with Opera North at the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds, at Wansbeck Music Festival and St James’ Park and with Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra as well as Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead. The school now has 12 music ensembles, which includes a full orchestra and a choir. The project has also resulted in a new orchestra for the community – West Newcastle Symphony Orchestra. This summer 20 pupils passed the ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) exam ranging from Grade 1 to 3 and so far five pupils have gone on to successfully audition for Sage Gateshead’s Centre for Advanced Training Weekend Music School.

At Bridgewater Primary School pupils in year one will be able to learn the violin, viola or cello and reception children and nursery pupils will receive weekly music-making sessions. The children have regular opportunities to learn, perform and attend performances with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Next month children from Hawthorn Primary Symphony Orchestra will also perform for pupils at Bridgewater Primary and Rye Hill Community Nursery.

Wendy Smith, Director of Creative Learning at Sage Gateshead, said: “The In Harmony programme has been incredibly successful over the last five years at Hawthorn Primary School and we are delighted to be able to extend the programme to include more children and young people in west Newcastle.

“The children at Hawthorn Primary School are fantastic young musicians. They work really hard at school and show incredible commitment to learning and playing music. We know that orchestral music making helps with their confidence, well being and education, as well as giving the children and their families a real sense of achievement and pride.

“We are excited to see children from Bridgewater and Rye Hill pick up their instruments for the first time meet musicians from Royal Northern Sinfonia and join the In Harmony programme.”

Sam Robson, Head Teacher at Bridgewater Primary School, said: “We are really excited about working with Sage Gateshead on the In Harmony project this year. It is an amazing opportunity for our children to learn to play an instrument, be part of an orchestra and work with musicians.

“We have watched in awe as the orchestra at Hawthorn, one of our Trust Schools, has developed and blossomed and we can’t wait for this to happen for our children too. We believe strongly in developing the whole child and giving them rich opportunities in the Arts as well as in their academic learning.

“We are very proud to join the ‘Geordie Symphony!‘”

Further information about In Harmony at Sage Gateshead can be found here:


Media contact:
Emily Taylor, Communications Officer
M. 07793 762 879 T. 0191 443 4617

Notes to editors:
Future media opportunity:
Thursday 19 October
2.30pm – 3.30pm Hawthorn Primary Symphony Orchestra Strings go to Bridgewater Primary School to do a performance plus a Q&A.

Sage Gateshead is an international home for music and musical discovery located in the North East of England. Its local, national and international concert programme runs all year round and incorporates all kinds of music. Music-making and learning activity takes place not only in Sage Gateshead but beyond in our region, ensuring the North East is culturally vibrant, reaching audiences and developing local artists.