Drive to give all children in Sheffield access to musical instruments and lessons

Rochelle Barrand, Nik Farah and Ellen Barr from the Star at the cake sale for Sheffield Music Hub's Musical Star's scheme
Rochelle Barrand, Nik Farah and Ellen Barr from the Star at the cake sale for Sheffield Music Hub's Musical Star's scheme

Sheffield Music Hub is developing a real sense of musical community through its weekly music sessions at The Birley Academy.

Each Wednesday evening, members of a flourishing wind band meet, made up of 19 local primary school pupils, as well as children attending specialist music lessons.

Amongst them is Millie Beresford. Millie became a member of The Sheffield Children’s Wind Band a few years ago, after she began playing the cornet at Birley Spa School, as part of a free whole class instrumental project. After the first year, children are giving the option of continuing on in a smaller group called pathways, and Millie decided to take this option and continue with her lessons. During the first term of pathways, children were given an introduction to Sheffield Children’s Wind Band.

A spokesman for Sheffied Music Hub said: “Millie started coming along to the sessions with a friend and has showed a quiet determination to challenge herself and progressed through the band, with fantastic support from her parents, who also help out other parents with lifts to rehearsals and concerts.”

The Sheffield Telegraph is supporting a campaign to raise £20,000 to fund the first 50 or 60 places on the hub’s Musical Stars scheme. Money will cover the cost of regular one-to-one music lessons, free instrument hire, and a local practice room. This week, our journalists even swapped their pens for spoons, putting on an office bake sale and raising over £100 towards the scheme.

Sheffield Music Hub’s head of music education, Ian Naylor, said: “Some of the most powerful experiences and memories we have are forged in our childhood. As professional music educators, we at Sheffield Music Hub have the glorious job of witnessing, teaching and guiding 10,000 children in the city every week as they discover their own unique musical journey.

“I’ve seen kids pick up violins and guitars and, their face says ‘I don’t know exactly what I just experienced - but it was flippin’ ace!’

“Our dream is to ensure that every child in Sheffield, for whom music is their salvation, has access to a musical education. We are continually working to make this happen but, for certain children, there are barriers that get in the way. It can be the smallest thing that prevents them from spreading their wings - social background, culture, expectation, support, encouragement, or finances.

“The Musical Stars Scheme will offer those young musicians the time, skill and money they need to support them on their musical quests. We will work with the musician, their parents and their schools to create an environment where anything is possible, where they do not need to be limited by external factors.”

Visit www.sheffieldmusichub.org for more details or to donate to the Musical Stars fund.