Philip Fowke Sold Out – Again!

Philip Fowke Sold Out – Again!

Jackdaws Tutor Philip Fowke

Jackdaws Tutor Philip Fowke

We start the week with the fantastic news that Philip Fowke’s September Piano Workshop course has sold out. Philip is one of Jackdaws’ most adored tutors and as such returns to us twice a year to run his Piano Workshop, which sells out just as routinely! Details for both of his 2014 courses in February and September are already live on our website and ready to take your bookings.

Also sold out this week is Stylish Baroque with Theresa Caudle and Alastair Ross, and our Summer Production.

If you missed out on a place on our Summer Production week you can still take advantage of our FREE Gifted and Talented Workshops this August for children aged between 9 – 15; although we have only a few places remaining on this Thursday’s Singing Workshop with Saffron van Zwanenberg we are still taking bookings – all you have to do is call or email us to book a place and bring a packed lunch on the day… oh and bring your best Tra la la la’s!

Singing in French

Singing in FrenchWhat a time celebrate British success in France by improving your understanding of the beautiful French language. Robin Bowman’s course Singing in French makes a wonderful continuation of Chris Froome’s success in the Tour de France, which next year comes to Yorkshire.

Singing in French

avec Robin Bowman
Friday 30 August – Sunday 1 September
vendredi 30 août – dimanche 1 septembre

This course is open to singers of all abilities and will enable each participant to study and perform three or four French songs of their own choice, further preparing their favourite for an intimate Sunday afternoon concert at the end of the course.

Robin Bowman worked during the 1970s as assistant to Pierre Bernac, for whom Poulenc wrote more than half of his songs. From 1978 to 2008, Robin was French consultant to the National Opera Studio, London, and from 1997 to 2008 was Head of Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. For twenty-five years he taught at the Académie Internationale Maurice Ravel, and for a further eleven at the Académie Internationale d’Eté de Nice. An accompanist and collaborative pianist of international reputation, he now works in retirement for the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham, continues many summer schools and teaches and coaches for the Birmingham Conservatoire. Robin was on the adjudication panel for the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Award.

Click to book your place on Singing in French

or call 01373 812383 or contact

Summer Activities at Jackdaws

Summer Activities at Jackdaws

Jackdaws Summer Production Week; Monday 5 – Friday 9 August 2013.

Jackdaws Music Education Trust in Great Elm, near Frome will be hosting their popular activity week from Monday 5 to Friday 9 August this year, for children aged in School Year 4 and over. The Summer Production is always a fun, stimulating and exciting way to spend a week in the summer holidays, discovering how to create a show from scratch!

The project will be led by Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg. Working with composer/conductor Will Carslake and artist/designer Georgie Tym, the team will create an original production from initial ideas through to a live performance for an audience of family and friends on the Friday. The children will be asked to consider three options pitched by each of the production team and then vote on which they think will make the best combination of music, plot and staging. Then the work begins! Assisted by the production team, the group will create the show over the course of the week and perform it on the Friday.

The Summer School runs from 9.30am-4.30pm every day except for Friday, which ends with the performance in the village hall at 5pm.

Jackdaws Summer School is open to all, with no experience required – just bring enthusiasm and energy! The cost of the week is £60 per place. For more information or to book a place, please call Jackdaws on 01373 812383 or email


Free One Day Music Workshops

Jackdaws are also running a series of Free Music Workshops on Thursdays during the summer holiday. Some of Jackdaws most popular tutors will lead these workshops for budding young musicians. The four sessions will focus on piano, singing, strings (violin, viola and ‘cello) and composing (for any instrument, voice or style). You can bring a piece of music that you’d like to work on, if you have one and would like some tuition – or just come and play! The Free Workshop days run from 11am to 2pm and are open to 9 – 15 year olds. Bring a packed lunch and your instrument where appropriate, piano supplied at Jackdaws!
All abilities are welcome and places must be booked in advance. Participants are welcome to attend as many days as they would like to!

Thurs 25 July – Piano with Mark Tanner
Thurs 1 Aug – Singing with Saffron van Zwanenberg
Thurs 15 Aug – Strings with Elizabeth Turnbull
Thurs 22 Aug – Composing with William Carslake

Further information about the Tutors can be found on the Jackdaws website;

Please contact Jackdaws for more information or to book by calling 01373 812383 or email

Jackdaws Celebrates Britten’s Centenary

2013 is a huge year for Jackdaws. Not only are we celebrating 20 years of Jackdaws, but also the centenary of the birth of England’s greatest composer Benjamin Britten. We did this by coming together with students from Frome College, Oakfield Academy, Selwood Academy and members of the Jack’s club to put on a concert at the College.

Before World War Two broke out, Benjamin Britten had moved to America along with singer Peter Pears, but moved back to England in 1942, where he was registered as a conscientious objector – the idea of not fighting for your country was a terrible crime then. Eventually, Britten was allowed to not fight if he composed and performed for the war effort.

Performing many of Britten’s classics like the War Requiem and Lacrymosa students also worked with local poet Shaun Jackson and composer William Carslake to create music and lyrics about things that meant a lot to Britten – the themes chosen were war, death and peace and belonging. There were even a few fighting scenes performed by Selwood students.

Professional opera singer and Jackdaws’ Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg worked with singers from every school to create the powerfully haunting choral sound similar to that of Britten’s War Requiem and poems were read out that reflected Britten’s opinion of the War and the opinions of those who survived it.

The evening went smoothly – even including a little audience participation – and everyone felt that it had been a successful performance. A little speech from the College’s Principal rounded off a very enjoyable concert.

The Jackdaws Big Sing!

The Jackdaws Big Sing!

On Wednesday 5 June over 300 children filled St John’s Church in Frome with song!

As part of the Jackdaws “Big Sing” project, led by Caroline Radcliffe and Steph Douglas, four schools came together to perform and share the songs that they’d learnt.

Caroline and Steph initially met the teachers from Christ Church, Beckington, St John’s and Chewton Mendip schools at Jackdaws for two Training Sessions, the teachers then taught the songs to the children at their schools, with their renewed confidence and enthusiasm! Finally, everyone met for the “Big Sing”, guided by Caroline and Steph, singing songs from around the World in parts, rounds and harmonies, filling the space with sound. It was a marvellous morning of music!

The next Big Sing will be Wednesday 17th July 10am, St John’s Church Frome.

Report by Karolyn.

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

OperaPLUS 2013 is a Big Success

We are delighted that our OperaPLUS performances of Handel’s opera Semele were a fantastic success. The performances, in Frome’s Cheese & Grain on Thursday 2nd and at Dulverton Middle School on Friday 3rd May saw Jackdaws Young Artists performing the lead roles supported by a chorus of eager children from local schools.

The OperaPLUS project is an intensive course aimed at Young Artists about to embark on their professional careers. It encompasses a full performance of an opera and gives valuable additional training and opportunity to experience wider music education by collaborating with at least three local schools who feature in the performance and take part in workshops. It runs annually at Jackdaws, to the delight of local parents and audiences, who treasure the unique opportunity to see their children performing in an opera.

My son really enjoyed taking part… a great hit.

OperaPLUS: Handel's Semele

Jassy Husk as Handel’s Semele, Jackdaws OperaPLUS 2013

OperaPLUS 2013 concludes this weekend with the final performance at Abingdon’s Unicorn Theatre on Sunday.

In 2012, the OperaPLUS performance concluded with a sold out production of Cinderella, and the project will return in May 2014 with Rossini’s Barber of Saville.

Gifted and Talented Sessions at Jackdaws


Jackdaws is delighted to be able to offer two new strands of gifted and talented provision for young musicians thanks to support from Sound Foundation Somerset (the Somerset Music Education Hub) and Jackdaws Education.

We are in the unique and fortunate position of having a different outstanding, professional musician(s) coming to Jackdaws every weekend to tutor on our courses for adult musicians of all abilities. Gifted and Talented opens up the opportunity for young people aged between 5-18 and at school in Somerset to learn from and be inspired by these international players in two different ways.

Preparation Gifted & Talented
Groups of young players of the relevant instrument come to Jackdaws for a workshop between 1-3.30pm supported by a teacher. 20 places available on a first come first served basis.

Gifted & Talented
Fully funded places available on the weekend course for an older more advanced student (typically aged 15+ and of a Grade 5 plus standard, each course has a slightly different criteria). There is also a subsidised place available for their teacher if desired. Young people under the age of 17 may need a chaperone if not accompanied by their teacher. Help can be given with travel and accommodation costs.



Weekend course fee usually £190 which includes all food. Bursary place reduces this to £0 and includes accommodation if required. Subsidised place for teachers reduces cost to £95.


Friday 10th May
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for Piano students of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

10th – 12th May
PHILIP FOWKE Piano Workshop Weekend Course ALREADY TAKEN!
Gifted & TalentedONE BURSARY PLACE AVAILABLE for student aged 15+ (Intermediate-Advanced level) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired.

Friday 7th June
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for singers of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

7th – 9th June
PENNY JENKINS – Discover Your Voice Weekend Course
Gifted & TalentedFUNDED PLACES AVAILABLE for students aged 15+ (Intermediate and above) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired. Must book ASAP as places are limited and will not be held.

Friday 14th June
Preparation Gifted & Talented 1.30-3PM
20 PLACES AVAILABLE for bassonists/contrabassoonists of any ability (Must be supported by school staff)

14th – 16th June
ROBERT CODD & MARIA MEALEY – From Reed to Recital Weekend Course
Gifted & TalentedFUNDED PLACES AVAILABLE for students aged 15+ (Intermediate – Advanced level) & a subsidised place for their teacher if desired. Must book ASAP as places are limited and will not be held.

Free Summer Workshops in Piano, Strings and Voice with some of our most popular tutors.
There are TWENTY places available on each day and places must be booked in advance.
All abilities are welcome.

Workshops run from 11am – 2pm and a packed lunch should be brought.

Thursday 25th July 11am – 2pm
Piano Workshop with Mark Tanner

Thursday 1st August 11am – 2pm
Singing Workshop with Saffron van Zwanenberg

Thursday 15th August 11am – 2pm
Strings Workshop with Elizabeth Turnbull

Thursday 22nd August 11am – 2pm
Composing Workshop with William Carslake

Further information about the tutors can be found on our tutor pages on the menu.

If you would like any other information, or to book a place, please call the office on 01373 812383 or email us at


Oboe Workshop with Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden

Friday April 12, 2013 – Sunday April 14, 2013

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Oboe Workshop
Sarah Francis & Jean Marsden
Course No. 3037
Level: Intermediate
Fee: £190

Sorry – This course is fully booked!

Explore the oboe repertoire and improve your ensemble playing. Enjoy working with an experienced pianist and playing in small groups with professional help. There is a session for cor anglais players with specialist Jean Marsden, and help with reed making and adjustment. Sarah Francis is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music and has given masterclasses in Amsterdam, Geneva, Moscow and Cologne.


Pianos for All with Caecilia Andriessen

Friday May 24, 2013 – Sunday May 26, 2013


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Pianos for All
Caecilia Andriessen
Course No. 3042
Level: Intermediate
Fee: £180

Are you an amateur pianist who can play Bach’s Inventions and Haydn’s Sonatas? Would you like to play in an ensemble with other pianists, just like string players do in a string quartet? Then join “Pianos for All”!

We play music from the 17th to the 21st centuries, music that was either composed for two or more pianos, or that has been adapted for a piano group. The pieces vary in difficulty and style. You will be sent two of the pieces we will be playing during the course so as to enable you to practice these in advance. We will also sight read less difficult pieces which will still reflect a wide range of styles and periods.

Participants of all ages are welcome who would like to play as a group, as this joyous weekend provides the opportunity for piano playing in groups of one, two, three and four pianos.


Russian Miniatures with Julian Jacobson

Friday May 31, 2013 – Sunday June 2, 2013


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Russian Miniatures
Julian Jacobson
Course No. 3043
Level: Advanced
Fee: £180

As well as writing some of the grandest works in the repertoire, Russian composers poured forth a stream of piano miniatures; music that can be passionate, reflective, charming or fantastical but which always demands a heartfelt response and a big but varied tonal palette. Composers such as Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Medtner, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, Kapustin and many others have given us a wealth of exquisite music in preludes and other short forms. Julian Jacobson, himself of partly Russian descent, will guide you through this challenging and inspiring repertoire.

Course suggested repertoire: two or three contrasted pieces of up to 5 minutes each.



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