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Vyners School, Hillingdon

For some years I've visited the A-level students at Vyners School. It's always a pleasure to be in their spacious and relaxed music room - impressively upgraded on this visit - and see what they've been writing. This year I immediately came across a piano-harp duo with ingenious rhythms which I felt like copying down and taking home with me; followed by an impressive composition featuring electric guitar and ensemble, notated in tablature (fortunately switchable by the computer to staff notation for my benefit.)


As ever, I wonder why some schools, like this one, have adventurous, wide-ranging music departments, and others (perhaps equally "good" by other metrics) have none. The support and enthusiasm of the head teacher, as here, is of course a big factor. As of course are the music staff and possibly the local Music Hub - that's certainly true at Vyners.


Kate Whitley, a fellow composer who does really great work with local schools in London, observed to me recently that the inclusion of music in a school perceptibly improves its general atmosphere. That's why I find it helpful to revisit the good models of what a major resource music can be in the busy school day and year, whether studied in public exams or not.





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