The Sound of Music For System Cymru

“This is the first time in my life that I have the opportunity to work with children on a weekly basis for so long.”

The words of Lucy Clement-Evans, a tutor with the Sistema Cymru – Codi’r To charity, which has received three years of funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

Sistema Cymru is a community regeneration project bringing the world-renowned ‘El Sistema’ approach of music education to North Wales.

The charity works in two primary schools – Ysgol Maesincla in Caernarfon and Ysgol Glancegin in Bangor – in two of the most disadvantaged communities in North Wales delivering and encouraging participation in high quality musical activities.

“The three-year grant awarded to Codi’r To has been given us the assurance that at least one tutor salary was secured each year making it made it possible for us to offer weekly music sessions to pupils in Foundation Phase of two primary schools,” says co-ordinator Carys Bowen.

“This fosters confidence, discipline, perseverance and transforming lives of children, their families and wider school community with the power of music making.

“In order for us to continue to explore the benefits of the El Sistema model and expand our programme to include a whole school approach and engage with a wider community, it is vital that we invest in our delivery staff and organisational infrastructure to support this growth. 

“Funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation enabled us to increase the number of participants from 128 pupils in 2016 to 370 pupils in 2019.”

The musical education has seen children increasing in confidence and being able to sing solos in front of the class or in assemblies or larger performances on stage.

They develop their skills and creativity as they improve their musical knowledge, as well as using their imagination and developing their social skills by working in groups.

The music sessions help the children to focus and concentrate whilst also helping those who don’t speak Welsh at home to add to their vocabulary and learn sentence structure.

“The most valuable aspect of the three years of work with the Foundation Stage children is the continuity,” added Carys.

“Weekly sessions help the children to acquire skills and develop a relationship with the Codi’r To staff in a way that a project lasting a few days or a week is unable to do. 

“We want to give every child the opportunity to receive a comprehensive and engaging music education programme, regardless of circumstance or family income. 

“We know that across the country, children from lower-income households lack equality of opportunity and access to music education when compared to their peers.

Raising the Roof!

“We fully believe that developing skills through music at such an early age is essential and without the kind support of the Steve Morgan Foundation, this would not have been possible. 

“It is an honour to be a part of these children’s lives and to provide a safe space for them to try out ideas, gain confidence and develop skills that will help them in their future.”

Additional funding has been secured from the Steve Morgan Foundation towards costs over the coming years, to the delight of those involved.

“It is a privilege to see the children’s progress and development over the year,” added Lucy.

“It has confirmed to me the importance of regular music sessions to get the best out of the children.’’

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