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Music Hubs Work Together, in Harmony, for Sussex Secondary Schools’ Music Conference

Last week, the Sussex Secondary Schools’ Music Conference, a joint initiative between West Sussex Music, East Sussex Music and Brighton & Hove Music, and supported by the University of Sussex Education and Music Departments, was held in Brighton. Secondary School music teachers from across Sussex gathered for an invigorating and inspiring day of training which began with a keynote from one of the most sought-after choral directors, vocal coaches and arrangers in the industry; Mark De-Lisser from the BBC’s ‘Our Dementia Choir’. This highly successful event proved to be the perfect example of Music Hubs working together, in harmony, for the benefit of teaching professional and, ultimately, children.

Focusing on the positive impact that a high-quality secondary music education can have on young people, the Sussex Secondary Schools’ Music Conference was envisaged to empower teachers to make everything count in their music classroom and curriculum. The tone of the day was set by Mark De-Lisser’s inspiring and uplifting keynote address, during which he took delegates through their paces with a rehearsal of the Stand By Me vocal arrangement which afforded him the ‘Royal’ stamp of approval when it was performed during the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The day continued with workshops from the likes of Future DJs, Jim Bernandin on World Music ensemble playing, Kay Charlton on Bhangra and Travis Baker from Glyndebourne’s Education Department before a closing session with Dr Ally Daubney and Duncan Mackrill from the University of Sussex.

The Sussex Schools’ Secondary Music Conference was a highly inspirational day for all of us that attended,” said James Underwood, Chief Executive of West Sussex Music. “Being reminded of the importance of keeping our lessons fresh and exciting was an important message. If just some of what we learned at the conference makes it into our teaching – it was a day well spent. I’m indebted to my colleagues in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove music hubs and the University of Sussex for their collaborative support. In particular I’d like to thank West Sussex Music’s Lizzie Holmes whose hard work created such a successful day.

West Sussex Music is fully committed to supporting schools and teachers to achieve the best possible outcomes for pupils, their families and the community. The Sussex Secondary Schools’ Music Conference is part of a wider CPD offering designed to help music teachers to develop skills and knowledge, enhance professional practice and remain confident and innovative.

West Sussex Music is the largest provider of high-quality music education to children and young people in West Sussex, offering vocal projects, whole-class ensemble tuition, instrumental and vocal tuition, and advice and support for schools as well as a comprehensive range of musical activities at its five Music Centres. Through its curriculum support, professional development opportunities and facilitating role, West Sussex Music builds music into the very fabric of school life; supporting schools and teachers to achieve the best possible outcomes for pupils, their families and the community. For over 50 years, West Sussex Music has supported projects that enable access to cultural opportunities for disadvantaged and disaffected young people through its strategic partnerships with other arts and cultural organisations and it plays a valued role as the Music Education Hub for West Sussex. A Not-for Profit Independent Company Limited by Guarantee with Charitable Status, West Sussex Music’s musical opportunities for children and young people are funded by income from parents, schools and the National Music Grant, administered by Arts Council England. For more information, please visit