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Music at Rushmore

Music Lead: Dafydd Williams



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We love music. At Rushmore Primary School we firmly believe that every child is already a creative individual and capable musician, and work tirelessly to help them grow in ability and confidence. Music is one of the things that binds the school ever closer, creating a strong and solid community of children and adults who can work together, live together and sing together.

At Rushmore, every child is a musician, from the Nursery to Year 6, and music-making is embedded in the school’s daily life.


All students have weekly class music lessons as part of our Rushmore curriculum.

These lessons contain singing, playing instruments, composing, listening to and analysing music, and finding ways to write down and notate musical ideas. All children in the Lower and Upper Phases (Years 1 to 6) also have weekly singing assemblies, where we sing a wide range of old and new songs from around the world, and in a range of styles. Class lessons and assemblies are led by our Music Specialist, Dafydd Williams.


The musical school year is punctuated by a series of concerts and events that allow all of our children to perform.

We have annual Spring and Winter concerts for the Upper Phase, Lower Phase and Early Years, featuring performances by every child in the school. These showcase class songs and also items from our numerous school choirs, bands and other music groups. All of our instrumentalists perform twice a year in dedicated evening Instrumental Evenings, as well as throughout the year in assemblies. In the Summer term, Year 6 children rehearse and perform a fantastic musical.



Each year we hold fantastic Summer and Winter Fairs that provide opportunities for music groups to perform.

Our choirs and orchestras represent the school at the Hackney Music Festival events each July at the Round Chapel. Other recent performances include our Orchestra and choirs performing at the fantastic Chatsworth Rd Festival, and both choirs performing at Dalston and Hackney Central Christmas Markets. Finally, class assemblies often feature fantastic singing and dancing and watch out for the occasional marching samba bands parading around the school playground...


We have many brilliant choirs. Upper Phase Choir rehearses at 1pm every Tuesday lunchtime, and Lower Phase Choir at 12.45pm every Thursday lunchtime. Our brilliant choirs make annual appearances at the Hackney Schools Singing Festival at the Round Chapel

 All choirs are led by Dafydd, our music specialist. We also have a dedicated boys' singing group for the Upper Phase called Boyz Noize, which is taught by a variety of specialist visiting singing teachers.


Our marvellous Steel Pan Band has been a feature of Rushmore School life for as long as anyone can remember. It currently meets after school every Wednesday, led by Hackney Music Service tutor Kerry Cumberbatch.



We also have a large program of instrumental music lessons that take place during the school day.

We currently offer lessons in small groups on the Saxophone, Violin, Guitar, Trumpet, Trombone, Flute, Clarinet and Cello. These lessons take place during lesson time with tutors from Hackney Music Service. Children who learn an instrument also attend an after-school music group for their instrument - String Orchestra, Brass Band, Wind Ensemble and Guitar Ensemble. 

For children who receive Pupil Premium funding (similar to Free School Meals) there is no charge at all for these lessons and ensembles. For other children, we ask for a contribution of £120.00/term to help cover the costs of the specialist instrumental tutor for both sessions. All children who learn are loaned their own instrument to keep until they leave the school


Saxophone, flute and clarinet lessons are taught by Dave Blackmore, and take place every Friday

Cello lessons are taught by Ailsa Tully, and take place every Tuesday.

Guitar lessons are taught by Paul Lavaud, and take place every Tuesday.

Violin lessons are taught by Weiwei Fraser, and take place every Wednesday and Friday.

Brass lessons ((trumpet, trombone and baritone horn)) are taught by Alistair Walsh, and take place every Tuesday.  


On top of this, all children in the school receive drumkit and percussion lessons from our resident drum teacher, Derek Gayle.

Children have half a term of weekly lessons during each school year, starting in Year 2 and continuing until the end of Year 6. Derek also runs extra free lunchtime percussion groups for some of our most skilled and keen players.


Rushmore children also take part in a wide range of extra music projects with outside providers.

Year 4 take part every year in a project with the Apollo Orchestra, listening to live music every month from visiting classical musicians, culminating in two trips to see the whole Orchestra perform.

Other recent workshops and performances have included Flamenco guitars, a junk percussion workshop, an Irish dancing and traditional music group, rap and beatbox artist Paradigmz, and renowned jazz vocalist Cleveland Watkiss


We are very proud that in 2016, 2022 and again in 2023!!  Rushmore Primary School was awarded the Hackney Mayor's Award for Musical Excellence, a testament to the hard work and commitment of our fantastic pupils, our dedicated music leader and supportive staff team across the school

“We are also very proud to have received the Geoff Taylor SEND Music Award in the 2024 Hackney Mayor’s Music Awards, in recognition of our existing good practice in supporting all children to receive a fantastic music education, and in support of improving and developing this even further.”