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Children's Music Workshop

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Children's Music Workshop (CMW) was founded by Ann Blaber and Jane Pountney in 1989.  It merged with EPOC in 2006.

Children's Music Workshop was a catalyst for bringing about change in primary education by bridging the gap between the arts and schools, allowing children to explore their own creativity alongside professional artists. They ran musical programmes in primary schools, lasting anything from a few weeks to several years. Every project involved professional musicians (players, singers, conductors, composers) who used existing repertoire or work with children on their own music or, more usually, both. A CMW project often involved a performance for the rest of the school, for teachers, parents, governors and sometimes a wider public.





Throughout their history, CMW was based in London and did much of its work there. It also ran programmes in Bristol, Norwich, the National Forest, Sussex and Kent.  Their principal programmes included:

The East London Programme

A long term singing and performance programme, linking professional artists with primary schools where English was a second or third language for the majority of children. Projects drew on opera, science, storytelling, visual art, dance and drama to stimulate children to create and perform their own work.

  • The opera project
    A project for Years 5 and 6 involved up to 24 classes attending a performance of an opera specially devised by CMW workshop leaders, a cast of professional singers, and a chorus in which the children participated. It was often followed up by children attending a schools matinee at the Royal Opera House. Children then went on to perform their own operas inspired by the two professional performances.
  • Other London programmes.
    A team of 6 jazz musicians combined performing as a band, Blue Pepper, with running long term projects in schools, leading to children performing alongside the band.
  • National Portrait Gallery
    This project ran for several years with CMW spending a week at the gallery working with one school each day. The NPG education department introduced a picture or special exhibition as the inspiration for a piece of music-drama written by the children and performed in front of the work of art or exhibition at the end of the day. Visitors to the gallery were invited to watch the performances.





The Rural Programme

  • The National Forest Project
    Children’s Music Workshop and The National Forest worked together to foster creative ideas leading to a brand new expression of children’s views of the Forest. In three counties thirty schools took part in the two year scheme.
  • Other Rural Projects
    Children's Music Workshop worked with the Chichester Festival Theatre, Glyndebourne and the Weald and Downland Museum - working with small rural primary schools in West Sussex.





Trustees of CMW included:

  • Lord Hoffmann (Chair).
  • Sue Baring
  • Sir Colin Davis
  • Mark Elder
  • Roger Graef
  • Sir Jeremy Isaacs
  • Wanda Kim
  • Sir Willard White
  • David Syrus
  • Errollyn Wallen.