Staff across all of the Oasis family of academies strive to provide our young people with new opportunities, chances for them to take a risk to practice a new skill and in doing so realise what amazing things they are capable of.
Head of Music at Oasis Academy Shirley Park, Tom Lancaster, has brought a new scheme to the Academy this year that is designed to allow the students to pursue their musical interests.
“I was asked by so many of our pupils whether they could learn an instrument or have singing or rap lessons” says Tom.
“We really want to help foster their passion and interest. Thanks to the generosity of charity, Restore the Music’ we have been able to replenish our supply of instruments and recruit a fresh team of music tutors.”
In just nine months, the Academy now has eighty students who are developing their vocal or instrumental skills, guided by specialist tutors. The Academy is offering a variation of a Music College programme, with professional small-group and individual tuition on vocals, rap, drums, trumpet, saxophone, flute, piano, guitar, bass guitar and music technology available.
The programme has also focussed on providing students with the chance to display their talents in solo and ensemble performances in front of live audiences inside and outside of the Academy. A selection of these young performers have recently returned from a Rap Club tour in Paris, while others were runners-up in a Rock Assembly trip where they performed for 10,000 students at Wembley Arena. Last week the Academy won Restore the Music’s Battle of the Bands for London, judged by music producer and member of the band Pulp, Steve Mackey. A fortunate few were then invited by Steve to join global rock band Arcade Fire at BBC Broadcasting House for their Live Lounge Performance on Radio 1.
OA Shirley Park students pose with Arcarde Fire after performing with them live on BBC Radio 1.
“It has been a great year for the Academy’s music department, driven of course by our immensely talented young people”, says Tom. “We are so impressed with what they have achieved this year, and we are looking forward to growing the programme next year so that more of our students have the chance to follow their passion for music.”
Principal Louise Lee adds “What wonderful opportunities some of our talented music students have had over the last nine months, opportunities that they have taken with both hands.”
“Tom and his team within our Music Department have had a great year, with space for our students to learn new skills and express their talents – which is in essence what the Academy is all about. It is not just about the music of course, and it has been so inspiring to see our young people’s confidence in themselves grow with every performance.”