Sydney Russell pupils receive instruments as part of classical music initiative

Sydney Russell pupils with their instruments. Picture: The Sydney Russell School

Sydney Russell pupils with their instruments. Picture: The Sydney Russell School - Credit: The Sydney Russell School

New pupils at a Dagenham secondary school have been presented with their own musical instrument.

The entire Year 7 cohort at The Sydney Russell School - more than 360 pupils - were given either a flute, clarinet, violin or viola which they can keep until they no longer study music at the school.

The instruments were funded through a partnership with the Music in Secondary Schools Trust (Misst), with pupils set to receive tuition from specialist teachers and professional musicians.

Pupils received either a flute, clarinet, violin, or viola, and will receive specialist tuition on their instrument from specialist teachers, as well as professional musicians, throughout their music lessons.

The youngsters were given their instruments by the Parsloes Avenue school’s headteacher, Janis Davis, last week in a series of presentations that followed Covid-19 guidelines.

She said: “We believe at Sydney Russell that the arts play a huge part in the development of young students. We are shaping the lives of our students by exposing them to culture and arts.

“It has been a joy to present more than 360 instruments to our students, and I can’t wait to watch them develop.”

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Pupils welcomed the instruments, with Salma Mohamed describing it as something that would be a “stress relief”.

Mubarak Ashiru said: “It’s just fantastic! I can’t believe that we are getting the chance to learn and play a classical instrument.”

Fellow Year 7 pupil Neema Otaigbe added: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I’m going to practise really hard in order to achieve well in life.”

Matt Mitchell, director of music at The Sydney Russell School, said: “At a time where music education is decreasing within our country, we are extremely proud to be at the forefront of progressive music education in our partnership with Misst.

“The number of students who will now get the opportunity to learn a classical instrument, who otherwise would not get this chance, is phenomenal.”

The trust was founded in 2013 and now works with 17 schools across the UK whose pupils come from disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds and would otherwise not have the chance to learn a classical instrument.

The scheme will continue at Sydney Russell in future years, with those starting next September also set to be given an instrument.