Julian Lloyd Webber Patron

As patron of Guildford County School, Specialist Music College, I am aware of the very healthy musical provision established within the school, as well as a number of successful musical initiatives which have been impressively maintained against the ever more challenging climate for The Arts in education. Two such schemes are the Reediscovery and Brass programmes, which were started in response to the national shortage of double reed instruments and trombones. Both are in their 10th year and have allowed successive generations of students at GCS the opportunity to access instruments that they may never otherwise have had.

The Director of Music, Caroline Gale, is seeking to expand this provision by responding to the Surrey-wide lack of young string players coming through to secondary schools. This new project, Stringendo, seeks to provide students in Year 6, from their affiliated primary schools, as well as Year 7 and 8 students, the opportunity to play the violin. It is also hoped that this will further develop to include cello.

Research shows compelling evidence of the benefits of a music education on a wide range of skills; these include listening which supports the development of language skills, awareness of phonics and enhanced literacy; it also helps spatial reasoning which supports the development of mathematical skills.

The proposed strings scheme at GCS aims to positively impact the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, and to further enhance the musical provision provided at GCS by acting as a transition link. Primary school students will have the opportunity to play alongside GCS students in their training orchestra and aspire to progress onto performing with the GCS Chamber Orchestra and String Ensembles.

As the planned programme will involve a degree of group work, it will also encourage development of a wide range of personal and social skills, further enhancing overall academic achievement.

I am delighted to endorse this initiative which seeks to provide a wide range of opportunities as well as a carefully crafted sense of progression and focus.