The Keyboard Studies Programme was founded in 2016, with David Pipe (previously Assistant Director of Music at York Minster) appointed as its first Director. The Programme was launched to provide high-quality organ and piano tuition across the Diocese to choristers, school pupils and adult learners. With a national decline in students learning the organ, the programme aims to reintroduce this instrument steeped in tradition to students of all backgrounds, teaching them valuable musical skills and opening doors to opportunities in further education, and skills in choral direction and accompaniment. There are currently five instrumental teachers in post, providing tuition in a family of related keyboard instruments (organ, accordion and piano).

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is providing £750,650 over five years to expand the Keyboard Studies Programme within the Diocese of Leeds.  The programme comprises of four elements:

1) Establishing the largest and highest-quality teaching school in the UK for the classical accordion.  This instrument is widely taught in Europe and Asia to give children the independence of a portable instrument and has been used successfully in the UK in many rural primary schools to learn the basics, as a transition to larger keyboard instruments and, ultimately, to inspire some young people to progress to learning to play the piano and even organ;

2) Establishing the largest and highest-quality teaching school in the UK for the melodica. This small air-powered keyboard instrument offers one of the most comprehensive introductions to keyboard studies, following the Japanese model where every primary school child is taught the basics of keyboard playing;

3) Developing three bespoke tutor books for organ, accordion and melodica, to support the teaching and learning of the young students; and

4) Capital contributions to facilitate the installation of 2 pipe organs; the purchase of 3 electronic practice organs; refurbishment of 4 upright pianos and the purchase of 16 classical accordions.

It is our aspiration that the programme will support children from the UK to study at top international universities or conservatoires, furnishing them with the foundations to be skilful, multi-talented individuals within the music profession.

For more information on the Keyboard Studies Programme or to be added to the lessons waiting list please contact:
office@dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk / 0113 244 8634

‘Taking part in the Keyboard Studies Programme has proven extremely valuable to my musical development. I was able to become an Organ Scholar at Bolton Abbey, where I learnt more about sacred music, and had the opportunity to develop my conducting and accompanying skills. These skills were honed further during my time at New College, Oxford, as I helped to run the College’s un-auditioned choir, The Holywell Singers. I have no doubt that the Programme helped my application to Oxford (such as by giving me experience in score-reading of multiple staves), and this has been the most influential period of my life so far. Hopefully the Programme can continue to offer such opportunities for other state-schoolers!’

Theo (New College, Oxford)

‘Being a part of the Diocese of Leeds Keyboard Studies Programme has been a really enjoyable and useful experience. It has transformed me as a player: my keyboard skills have come a long way since working with the Programme, whether that be figured bass or using the pedals. Being a part of the Programme has significantly developed my musicianship overall. I now have a far greater understanding of realising and working out harmonies, voicing and imitation, and of how music works in different genres and styles. The Programme has deepened my interest in choral and organ music, but crucially, my knowledge of how keyboard instruments work and how to use them in composing music has been augmented thanks to the teaching on the Diocese of Leeds Keyboard Studies Programme.’

Jago, 17 years old

 

‘Learning the organ is helping with my academic work as it develops my ability to multi-task. I have an aspiration to achieve Grade 8, and in the future, I would like to be the regular organist at my church, as others before me who received tuition through the Diocese of Leeds Keyboard Studies Programme have done. The organ is something I would like to continue to play at university and beyond. I enjoy hearing the sound it makes and the impact it can have in a room.  I also enjoy the challenge of having to use two manuals or more and using the pedals at the same time. I thoroughly enjoy my weekly organ lessons with Mr Pipe and also the chance to play in front of a congregation or audience.’

Florence, 13 years old 

‘My experiences with the Bradford Boys Choir and the Keyboard Studies Programme have shaped me as a person. Growing up in inner-city Bradford, the choir and organ lessons gave me the confidence to fulfil my potential. From singing weekly Vespers at the local church to performing on TV in front of millions, each experience has proven invaluable in my life journey, and I have continually drawn on the lessons of resilience I learnt in the Diocese of Leeds during my studies at the University of Oxford. I would like to thank all the Choral Directors and instrumental tutors for their tireless work over the years, and for helping me to develop a love for Classical music.’

Joshua (Mansfield College, Oxford)

After brilliant boys and young t/b rehearsals yesterday, we had the Junior and Senior Girls Choirs back at the cathedral - a really free sound with so much potential! Massive thanks to @MulofVoyCIC for their Upper Voices anthology...we sang Panufnik and Boulanger 🎶🎵🎵🎶

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Our Director and Assistant Director of the Schools Singing Programme @thomas_leech and @charlottemezzo shared their huge experience and insights at @abcdtweets Choral Leaders Festival earlier today - how to max out the impact of starters, warm-ups and transition songs...

Absolutely blown away by @DOLMusic on @BBCLeeds my two children are featured in the Ave Maria later on. But the other choirs sound incredible and it’s being heard nationwide on local radio. V proud

On the Feast of the Assumption the BBC local radio Sunday Service comes from Leeds Cathedral and Schools Singing Programme, including @bcw_cat Bradford Catholic Youth Choir and two of the cathedral choirs - including pupils from @CHCHSLeeds and @notredamecoll @ThinkNotreDame

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Throwback to a fortnight ago when 600 melodicas arrived from Japan! We are all incredibly excited about our new whole class keyboard provision and can’t wait to share more melodica news with you soon! ... See MoreSee Less
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Amazing singing from even the youngest children at St. Joseph's yesterday. We are so privileged in the Schools Singing Programme to witness this joyful sound. ... See MoreSee Less
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We've had a lovely week with staff training and our choirs starting to return. Yesterday we had a great start with the Cathedral Boys Choir and our tenor and bass Schools Scholars. Today the Junior and Senior Girls Choirs returned - we are SO grateful to Multitude of Voyces for the amazing donation of their Upper Voices anthology, thank you! We read through some beautiful music by Roxanna Panufnik and Lili Boulanger 🎶🎵🎵🎶 ... See MoreSee Less
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It was brilliant to welcome the team back after the summer break with a full staff choir at today’s 11am Mass. What a beautiful sound our staff, old and new, make together. Here’s to a great new academic year! ... See MoreSee Less
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