Head Of Service Blog, April 2017

Head Of Service Blog, April 2017

I honestly can say that this term has been one of the busiest we have experienced since our launch! The amount of workshops, events, masterclasses, exam sittings etc. (not to mention all of the office procedures on top of this due to the financial year end of our customers) have been phenomenal and you will be able to read about many of the highlights of these in our Spring Term newsletter and on our website.

This vibrant account of some of the exciting events that have been happening over the last term is thanks to reports given to us by CMST teachers and importantly, the coordination and compilation of these by Verena Watkiss (Woodwind Team Manager) into our new look newsletter.

This week has been an extra special week with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra BSO taking up residency in Cornwall. The BSO outreach project has been a huge success for many years now and offers a wonderful experience to many students of CMST who will be visited by  the musicians of the orchestra via their schools. The live music experiences on offer range from instrumental family specific masterclasses to a full blown Symphony Orchestra concert given at the Hall For Cornwall.

Interestingly, CMST teacher Matt Harrison is also an associate for the BSO and has spent much of his time this week working with many schools across Cornwall and I have had the privilege of working with a group of BSO musicians forming an “In At The Deep End” quartet. This unique group, consisting of Double Bass, Tuba, Bassoon and Trombone has visited schools in an attempt to showcase the versatility of these instruments that we class as “endangered”. Featuring music from Metallica, Gounod and the obligatory pop tune “All About That Bass” the workshops have really raised awareness of what these instruments can do and the pupils engaged have demonstrated a very keen interest to take on one of these unique and very special instruments.

The collaboration between the BSO and CMST is set to continue and demonstrates the respect that CMST is gaining as Cornwall’s premier music service with national organisations, such as the BSO, wanting work with us on such a large scale.

In our newsletter you will also read about the amazing Cornwall Flute Festival that is now happening annually. The hard work of Kate Whetter has been paramount to the success of this festival and we thank her for all the hours that she has committed to make it happen. I had the privilege of opening the Festival Gala concert, featuring Katherine Bryan and Tim Carey, and whilst giving my comments it dawned on me that due to this, the BSO residency and many other events, CMST is now bringing into Cornwall some of the highest calibre of professional musicians and that our students, the general public and teachers are able to access. It also became apparent that our CMST teachers are right up there with them being able to perform and educate to just as high standard, something that I am very proud of.

On a final note, an exciting new development for CMST is the potential of Early Years provision for children pre Key Stage 1. James Sargent (CMST Trustee) and I had the privilege of going to observe Hannah Birt (CMST String Teacher) in action at one of her Early Years sessions and it was clear to see the multitude of benefits that absorbing children of this age in music making had to offer. Further to this, Hannah explained that through her experiences the longer term benefits of the children accessing instrumental lessons at a later stage, but after having this initial Early Years delivery, was very clear with those children progressing at a much quicker rate than those that hadn’t accessed the Early Years sessions. Therefore, we have embarked upon setting up an Early Years team who will, through research and exploration, devise a musical journey for Early Years provision by CMST.





Head Of Service Blog, March 2017

Head Of Service Blog, March 2017

Head of Service Blog - 1st of March, 2017

Gareth Churcher

Cornwall Music Service Trust.jpg

On Monday the 20th of February I had the pleasure of attending the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Award and it was a pleasure for many reasons! It was a great honour to receive the Silver Award on behalf of Cornwall Music Service Trust (CMST) after only receiving the Bronze award only 12 months ago. This very rapid progression to this level of award is testament to the exemplary hard work of Karen Frost and Liz Sibley (Pastoral Care Officers for CMST). They have worked tirelessly on initiatives that raise awareness of health and wellbeing for the staff of CMST and their morale boosting social events, including boat trips, barn dances, Christmas parties in conjunction with relevant content in staff training, shows CMST’s commitment to the physical and mental health and well being of all involved with our wonderful service.


Furthermore, our very own Christine Judge (Curriculum and Vocal Team Manager) started the whole day with a section entitled ‘Let’s Get Notivated’! Getting all delegates into the spirit by rhythmic and vocal warm ups and creating a mashup workplace choir which created a wonderful sound. I hope this will inspire the many workplaces in attendance to create their own workplace choirs as it was apparent that the power of music has the ability to raise physical and mental well-being immediately through the joy of song.

Finally, it was a pleasure to share the event with all the other workplaces that were receiving their awards ranging from Devon and Cornwall Police to View It, Love It, List It Estate Agents! Congratulations to them all.

We will be working more closely with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Awards in presenting further case studies on the benefits of music making in the workplace at their business forums. This is another sign that CMST is thinking outside the box and engaging further people in the delivery and consequent benefits of music.

Funding and Subsidies for music lessons is something that the creation of CMST has safeguarded. As a charity, a registered provider for the Cornwall Music Education Hub and Cornwall Council we have ensured that the dissemination of particular subsidies is still available to our learners who qualify. However, since the implementation of Universal Free School meals we have found that some families are not aware that they still need to inform their schools of the eligibility for funding. This has not only a knock on effect for us as a Music Service but importantly your child's school who may also be losing out on valuable funding. As a public service body, we have spent a notable amount of time following up with Cornwall Council and proving eligibility of funding for music lessons and I am proud that we have the capacity to do this in the first instance but I would urge you, for the benefit of your schools, to make sure you have given all relevant details around your personal circumstances so that your child’s school can access much needed funding also.

After reviewing our Events schedule for the month of March alone I have been blown away by the amount of exciting workshops, performances, masterclasses that are happening in this coming month. I would implore you to take a look at the upcoming events within the relevant section of our website and our social media. All of this couldn’t happen without the hard work, determination and commitment of our teachers and I would like to take this opportunity to make a personal thank you to them all (all 110 of them!!!). In addition, our new website is being kept alive and fresh due to the hard work of Ross Hamilton (Communications Manager for CMST), thank you to Ross for his proactive approach, hard work and for keeping the website alive.











Head of Service Blog, February 2017

Head of Service Blog - 2nd of February 2017

Gareth Churcher



2017 has seen an exciting start for Cornwall Music Service Trust (CMST), commencing for us as a service on the 3rd of January with a thought provoking, uplifting and highly enjoyable training day with Phil Mullen (pictured below). The content of the training session, part funded by Cornwall Music Education HUB, focused on ways to help nurture and develop the talents of those children who we work with that have special educational needs. Raising awareness of this type of approach is the continual commitment we have to being a fully inclusive Music Service, addressing the needs of all learners. In addition, we opened our doors to other practising musicians and teachers to take part in the training, offering a wonderful opportunity for all those not part of CMST to network with other colleagues and see the huge team ethos we have as a Trust.


Following on from this training another exciting event was the launch of our brand new website giving CMST a new look for the new year. Combining forces with EMPRA, marketing and PR experts in the education sector, we have created a website that develops some aspects of our previous site and gives us a platform to expand and develop our online presence further. An integrated sign up page for our learners and student portal for student and staff materials are a few of the many new exciting areas of the website that we will be taking further in the next 12 months.

January saw the implementation of a new initiative to recognise hard work and commitment of pupils within CMST. CMST’s Pupil Of The Month allows teachers to offer nominations of pupils who they believe work exceptionally hard with the successful nominee being awarded the honour of this accolade. There will be one pupil per month who will be successful and at the end of the year one lucky individual will be crowned Pupil Of The Year and receive £50 of music shop vouchers. I am hoping that this will give rise to some healthy competition and give a great incentive to all our aspiring young musicians to maybe practice that little bit harder and longer, get there a little earlier to help set the room for the ensemble rehearsal, show consideration and caring for other learners in the group etc. Details of the first ever CMST Pupil Of The Month will be posted on our new website soon, so please look out for this exciting news!

It's hardly believable now that CMST is 2 years young! We have an ever expanding staff base which, in turn means that the number of people

accessing our provision is also growing fast. I have long believed that the number of children and young people learning a musical instrument in Cornwall could be developed and this in turn, with the appropriate routes of progression, will lead to more ensemble music making. Furthermore, the added benefits of all the non-musical developments will be further heightened but I am confident that all of this will be taken to a new level with further integration to community music making and family learning. The enhancements will then be on both sides of the coin, with not just our learners and our service developing but the wider community and families soon also feeling the musical and non-musical rewards of music making.

There are many exciting events that are planned and are in planning for 2017 so please visit our website and follow our facebook page to keep up to speed.  Since launching in 2015 CMST has had a celebration, two anniversaries but we are now looking to the future.