News and Achievement

On Wednesday 16th October Abbs Cross music department welcomed Nimrod Margalit, a specialist in Israeli and Eastern Mediterranean music to run a GCSE workshop. Greek, Israeli and Palestinian music is new to the GCSE music specification and to be able to learn from a musician brought up in that culture was an extremely valuable experience. Students took part in performance, composition, improvisation and were fully immersed in the culture. Listening examples and creating GCSE revision resources also formed part of the session. In addition to our students benefiting we were able to invite GCSE pupils from the trust school The Warren to join the experience. The pupils performed, composed and were able to benefit from each others experiences.

On Tuesday 1st October GCSE and prospective GCSE Music students from years 9-11 took part in a mixing workshop at Havering College.

The session was based around an element of the GCSE theory paper; the use of electronic FX enhance performances in post production.  Students were taught about 4 of these FX; reverb, vocoder, delay and autotune, how to recognise them aurally as well as the effect and purpose of applying them.   Students were then given a "dry" R 'n' B track made up of just vocals, piano and a basic drumbeat.  They used the FX they had learnt along with the skills they've developed in lessons to create their own "mixdown" of the track.

Students changed the tempo, added samples, recorded their own additional drum tracks and added vocoder, autotune, reverb and delay to create a whole new version of the track.  This insight means that students will not just have been able to aurally recognise them but also to apply them and have a full understanding of their impact.

After they completed their mixdowns students had a tour of the creative arts building where they were able to see the range of digital and analogue studios, performing arts areas and teaching spaces.  Beyond this they visited the TV studio where BBC Music film all their "introducing" sessions and had a chance to see the college radio broadcasting station.

The trip provided an insight into studying music and the creative arts beyond GCSE with a look at the types of facilities and equipment that students may use in college and when working at industry level.

Year 11 student:  "It was great to get hands-on experience using the FX and to see industry level equipment.  To have it taught in such an interactive way means that I won't forget it.  It also made me think far more about my future."

Monday 1st July - a date not to be missed.  Battle of the Bands took to the stage, for an evening of exceptional performances.

This is the twelfth Battle of the Bands event to take place on the Abbs Cross Academy stage.

The two hosts, Daniel and Jasper kept the audience entertained and informed, in-between the 11 bands, who wowed the audience of over 150!  The contestants ranged from year 7 to 11, who performed live, with instruments and vocals; including bass, guitar, ukulele, drums, keyboard, Cajon and tambourine.

This year’s judges were Mr O’Brien (Teacher of English) who entered the stage to the fantastic ‘We Will Rock You’, Mr O’Shea (Director of Humanities) and our guest judge, Lisa Houghton, teacher of Music from Havering College.

We were also lucky enough to experience a guest performance from ‘The Echoes’, who returned to Abbs Cross Academy to perform three amazing tracks – one original!  It was a privilege and inspiration to see Connor, Ethan, Harry and Aaron perform once again on our stage.

There were so many excellent live performances from groups, trios and duets, all singing and playing ballads, rock and pop songs, competing for the title of ‘Audience’s Winner 2019’ and ‘Judges’ Winner 2019’.

This year’s Battle of the Bands Winners were:

  • Audience Winner: The Lefties

O   Finnley, Joe and Connor

  • Audience Runner Up: RNA

O   Rume, Naomi and Abigail

  • Judges Runner Up: Samedi Matin

O   Alicja, Matthew and Finnley

  • Judges Winner: Year 9 Duo

O   Rume and Thu

All of the contestants showed confidence, flair, uniqueness and talent.  Well done and thank you to all of Battle of the Bands acts.  A summary of the judges’ comments can be seen below:

  • Charred Cross-: Excellent punk rock energy, skilled instrumental performance and excellent pitching and vocal tone.
  • KAS: Unique combination of pop contemporary vocals, developed piano skills and rhythmically solid. Confident contrast through vocals (rap and song).
  • Ryan and Joe: Well-rehearsed material, entertaining and strong performances skills. Complex piano playing, with complex rhythms, melody and chord played with the Cajon.
  • RNA: Excellent focus on the vocal and piano parks, playing in syncopation and singing on the beat, unique change of dynamic and tempo, showing good performance skills.
  • The Lefties: Incredible performance skills throughout, drummer shows individual flair, bleeding heart front man and rock and roll bassist, very solid and essential vocal harmonies.
  • Storm 38: Strong dynamic qualities throughout, super-fun and rock energy was palpable – clear rapport between drummer and vocalist/guitarist, adding to quality of the performance.
  • Merged: Really well blended vocal performance, fun and polished, performed with excellent band rapport! The drummer was particularly fantastic with clockwork rhythm!
  • Year 10 Girls: Lovely stripped back performance with very controlled vocals – clearly listening to one and other and working with one and others strengths and skills – extremely talents.
  • AX Young Voices: A blended and controlled choir with spot on harmonies – lovely backing band and a super solid performance with confidence and enjoyment throughout.
  • Samedi Matin: Great introduction, power and vocals, blended with funk and groove, perfected and balanced as a group – energy high throughout.
  • Year 9 Duo: Very accomplished piano performance with beautifully pitched vocals, extremely emotional and impressive controlled range and connection with the audience.

A huge thank you also needs to go to the Performing Arts Team – Mr Knights (Technician), Ms Lyus (Teacher of Music), Miss Clark (Teacher of Drama) and Mr Osborn (Teacher of Music) for assisting back stage with all of the instruments, amps and technical malfunctions.

Miss L Monaghan

CTL of Performing Arts

GCSE Music Year 10 and year 9 prospective GCSE Music students, were lucky enough to participate in a music workshop, led by 'Music Teachers 4 Schools'.

Students worked for 2 hours, using multiple percussion instruments, including the 'tabla'.  Students learned the 'raag' (or raga), which is the melodic framework for improvisation within Indian classical music.  Student were able to experiment with the notes provided by Michael, creating melodic structures with musical motifs, considered  in the Indian traditions to have the ability to affect the emotions of the audience, drawing them in and allowing for enjoyment and curiosity.

All of the participating students loved the workshop and were able to record their group performance of the raag, impressing staff and visitors alike, through instrumental improvisation skills and team work.

Michael Broad who ran the workshop said 'The students at Abbs Cross were a credit to the Academy and to yourself [Mrs Jethwa].  Their behaviour was exemplary and all students participated enthusiastically with the workshop.  The students were confident enough to take risks and were happy to share their musical ideas with other students in the group.'

Abbs Cross Academy and Arts College's Music Department would like to thank 'Music Teachers 4 Schools', for visiting our academy and providing such an insightful and interesting performance Indian workshop.

Miss L Monaghan

(CTL of Performing Arts)