Turning the tables

Beeston School

Beeston School - Credit: Archant

Now they know how hard it is! That’s been the experience of members of staff at Beeston Hall School in West Runton who rose to the musical challenge thrown down by Emma Dale, the school’s director of music.

She dreamed up the Grade-one-athon project last November, suggesting staff learn musical instruments they had never played before. Their target was to pass Grade One in their chosen instrument in 10 weeks – with the help of a pupil tutor.

The Grade-one-athon has culminated in 26 members of staff passing their music certificates, but head teacher Robin Gainher admits: “It was a hard few weeks. We had to fit in our music lessons and practice around our daily teaching duties. But we’ve done it and are proud.”

Robin took part in the challenge; although his only previous experience was playing the triangle, he was tasked with trying to learn the piano with the aid of his “teacher” 11-year-old Maddie. “Believe me, it is very, very tough,” he comments, adding that it has been strange to be a pupil again after so many years. “We are lucky at Beeston Hall to have so many wonderful, patient music teachers – adults and pupils alike.”

Several staff at the independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged seven to 13 have been so struck with their achievements that they intend to carry on to Grade Two and beyond, including Robin’s wife, Ali, who is working towards her Grade Two singing exam already!

The project has helped the school raise money for About With Friends, the Cromer-based charity that works to support children and young people with learning difficulties in north Norfolk.

“So far we’ve raised £950, which is brilliant,” says Robin. “We are planning reciprocal visits between our pupils and similar aged About With Friends members where we can all share music activities.”

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Did you learn to play a musical instrument later in life? We’d love to hear your experiences of discovering your musical talent. Write to EDP Norfolk Magazine, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email norfolkmagletters@archant.co.uk

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