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 (melodica, accordion, piano and organ).

The Hamish Ogston Foundation is providing £750,650 over five years to expand the Keyboard Studies Programme within the Diocese of Leeds. The expansion comprises 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 melodica, accordion and organ, 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 or 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)

Our Choral Scholarships offer superb opportunities for ambitious students looking to develop a range of professional-level musical skills.

For more information or to apply, please contact office@dioceseofleedsmusic.org.uk or visit http://dolmusic.uk/scholarships

Really lovely to be back in Downing - such a warm welcome and great to see / hear our choir members - state school pupils from @bcw_cat @StGtG_CAT and @BPS_Trust - singing so well at both Downing and @Kings_College https://twitter.com/DOLMusic/status/1552299402009640963

Absolutely lovely time this week with the @DOLMusic in Oundle and Ely with @GabrieliCandP Roar, and singing (and eating) in Cambridge colleges today. Could now sleep for days but the students, colleagues and musical experiences were fab. https://twitter.com/DOLMusic/status/1552299402009640963

On our way home now after a really fabulous @GabrieliCandP ROAR trip. Very tired but it's been a classic residential thanks to wonderful colleagues in both organisations, plus a truly lovely bunch of young people who have excelled themselves. Brilliant last day of work for me! https://twitter.com/DOLMusic/status/1551915449629245444

Cambridge part 2 - a lovely lunch, talk, tour and sing in the chapel @downingcollege @DiscoverDowning - thanks so much for having us, with three Downing alumni on our staff we love visiting!

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