In January, our Music teacher Mr Elia invited Mr John Themis and Mr Costas Rialas to ‘Music 2020’ - a unique opportunity for our students to learn from experience and build their songwriting skills. This is just one way of ensuring our instrumentalists, singers and composers are supported in reaching every goal they have - as well as through our industry-standard resources, an extensive Explorations programme and visits from music industry experts.
While our Grade 6-12 students are familiar with our leading-edge music studio, they nonetheless watched in awe as Mr John Themis and Mr Costas Rialas entered our school hall.
John Themis has an incredibly impressive resume, having composed and performed with Culture Club, Boy George, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls and Sophie Ellis-Bextor among others. Mr Costa Rialas is a respected industry figure with a semi-viral presence on YouTube as a result of his captivating Bouzouki performances. Together, these experts performed for our students and led an in-depth question and answer session.
Halcyon students - many of whom are embarking on their own music projects through our facilities - were quick to recognise the magnitude of this opportunity, and excitedly queried Mr Themis about how to succeed in the music industry. “It’s all about practice,” he responded. “Imagine that you’ve just finished reading a sheet of Mozart’s music. That doesn’t mean you can suddenly play it on the piano,” he reminds our students. “You have to practice performing, practice singing, practice playing.”
At Halcyon, we recognise the importance of practice. Our IB Music Curriculum and on-demand provision of instrumental lessons provides students with a space to enhance their skills.
At Mr Themis’ suggestion, several of Halcyon’s students confidently took to the stage to deliver performances of their own. Strengthened by their experience in Music projects and enthused by the advice of our visitors, our young learners shared captivating renditions of songs including ‘The Winner Takes It All’ by Abba, ‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Lily Allen.
Providing students with access to outstanding facilities and visitors is only one part of the journey to success.
We recognise the importance of valuing children’s passions. Through our Explorations programme, our students are encouraged to explore their interests in music through Music and Vocal Performance, Music Ensembles and Vocal Group. Our students cheered and applauded their peers after every performance at Music 20/20 - the sign of a supportive environment that values each learner.
Our first three graduating classes have already produced students at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and exhibitors at the Design Museum and J/M gallery. Currently, Sam (Grade 11) is motivated to produce his own music. We look forward to seeing where our students’ artistic talents take them beyond Halcyon.