RGS music students excel throughout lockdown

Music students, including the Cann siblings, have amazed us with their achievements over lockdown, reports AVA EDWARDS. Not only did Maddy and Sam learn new instruments but, between them, managed to pass exams in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8

MUSIC has been greatly impacted by the restrictions of Covid-19, leading to music exams being cancelled, concerts not being able to take place and band practice being difficult to arrange.

However, students at RGS have persevered with the restrictions and found ways to continue pursuing musical achievements.

Director of music Mr Barker said he had been amazed and enthused by the commitment and resilience of music students over lockdown: “I’m really impressed by the number of students who have been successful in achieving music grade exams in this difficult time.”

Siblings Maddy and Sam Cann are just two examples, with restrictions failing to impede on their passion for music driving them towards great successes.

They used the extra time they had over the summer learning new instruments, with Maddy taking up the guitar, while Sam started playing the bass guitar. Then, over the Easter holidays, Maddy achieved Grade 8 violin whilst Sam attained Grade 5 bass, Grade 6 drums and Grade 7 violin.

Yet with so many restrictions, how did the Cann siblings manage to take these exams?

Sam explains how exam boards have adapted to allow exams to be pre-recorded, and then submitted online to be marked: “Luckily for me, I hadn’t booked any exams before Covid so I didn’t have to cancel or rearrange anything.

“That being said, I have managed to enter five exams remotely, by recording myself playing to backing tracks and submitting exams as one video to the exam boards. I know that some boards tried to do live exams over Skype, but all of mine were pre-recorded, allowing for several takes to get that higher mark.”

I wasn’t as lucky as Sam; my Grade 6 piano exam had to be cancelled last year due to the lockdown. Although now I am working towards Grade 8 in two instruments and hoping I can achieve the best results regardless of the obstacles along the way, like online lessons with bad WI-FI.

Maddy also managed to find a positive with online exams: “I always planned to do my Grade 8 at the start of the year, so lockdown actually provided an opportunity to get it done sooner.”

As for music in school, Mr Barker has managed to alter some aspects of group rehearsals in order to fit with the restrictions. So far over lockdowns, RGS has accomplished:

*A lockdown chamber choir piece – Ballad to the Moon. This was featured on Radio York.

*A Christmas church concert, which was recorded and distributed virtually, with the bubble choirs and brass ensemble. The rehearsals took place in the gym and sports hall, distanced apart, and the concert was recorded separately in the church.

*Virtual House music event – to be released later in the summer term.

*Rehearsing junior string groups and sixth form string quartet, as well as solos and duets.

As an upper sixth form student, Maddy expresses how the restrictions have affected her ability to participate in music: “I haven’t been able to take part in chamber orchestra since the pandemic, which is a shame as it would have been my last year in it.”

Since the restrictions are gradually being lifted, there is more and more hope for musical ensembles to practise together again.

Sam expresses his views on how different online music is to music performed together in person: “Online recordings come nowhere near the feeling of performing with each other in person. Within exam years, however, music was allowed to continue in lessons with practicals and whole class performance of our set works and other pieces.”

Mr Barker added: “A big thank you must also go to our instrumental and vocal teachers for continuing with online lessons and also for the parental support we have received. Congratulations to all students."

Students who have passed music grade exams over lockdown

Name Year Instrument Grade

William Renton 7 Piano 2

Jasper Denby 8 Drums 2

Edward Cassell 8 ‘Cello 2

Emilie Tipping 8 Drums 1

Saffron Dunk 8 Piano 3

Zara Ali 8 Voice 5

Zara Ali 8 Oboe 3

Ethan Kendrick 8 Theory 5

Ethan Kendrick 8 Piano 5

Arnav Kasireddy 8 Piano 3

Arnav Kasireddy 8 Drums 2

Joel Wood 8 Piano 4

Joe Gardner 8 Piano 1

Hannah Salden 8 Flute 3

Tom Hughes 8 French Horn 4

Juliet Morrice 9 Guitar 1

Aarush Nair 9 Piano 5

Ned Sladden 9 Piano 4

Isla Davidson 9 Piano 2

Freya Cunningham 9 Flute 2

Xiao-Ai Hill 9 Harp 5

Nia Peedel 9 Voice (MT) 6

Will Jarvis 10 Trombone 3

Coral Watt 10 Trumpet 5

Alex Whitaker 10 Trumpet 5

Eve Hewison 10 Voice 7

Samarth Dasarathi 10 Guitar 5

Samarth Dasarathi 10 Drums 8

Chessie Abrahams 10 Theory 5

Jamie Pritchard 11 Bass Guitar 3

Alfie Goodwin 11 Clarinet 7

Emily Hodgson 11 Flute 5

Agatha Scott 11 Flute 5

Liam Wood 11 Drums 8

Sam Cann 11 Bass Guitar 5

Sam Cann 11 Drums 6

Sam Cann 11 Violin 7

Oliver Willis 11 French Horn 5

Glory Poothavelil 11 Voice 4

Tia Thorpe 11 Voice (MT) 4

Alex Dale 12 Flute 7

Erin Reader 12 Voice (MT) 3

Zoe Williams 12 Voice 4

Zoe Williams 12 Piano 8

Imogen Dow 13 Voice (MT) 2 and 4

Samyuktha Dasarathi 13 Flute 6

Chris Moxon 13 Voice 6

Ben Rickard 13 Piano 7

Gabe Ali 13 Voice 8

Milligan Lockey 13 Trumpet 5

Barnaby Sladden 13 Trumpet 8

Maddy Cann 13 Guitar 2

Maddy Cann 13 Violin 8