753 Benenden School Open Day Top

King Edward's Witley staff celebrate grade one challenge success

Published Friday 24th of April 2015 10:54:21 AM

The sound of music - in just two months!

11 teachers

Two months

One challenge: to learn a new musical instrument and pass a Grade One exam

Eleven members of staff at King Edward's Witley including the Headmaster took on the Grade One Challenge at the beginning of the year and recently celebrated a 100% pass rate!

Learning a brand new instrument in such a short space of time represented a steep learning curve for the teachers but everyone stepped up to the challenge and the 6 distinctions, 4 merits and 1 pass achieved are proof that it can be done!

Going back to the basics proved a nerve-wracking experience for the adults who these days are more versed in preparing their pupils for the ordeal of sitting a formal exam! The initiative was the brainchild of Mr Lewis Edney, Music School Administrator and Mr Stasio Sliwka, Director of Music.

Mr Edney commented 'It was great to see seasoned musicians trying new instruments alongside non-musicians picking up an instrument for the first time in their life!'

Comments from some of the participating staff:

Fiona Kirton, Bursaries & Charities Officer, 'It was great fun, quite a challenge and very different to anything else I am doing at the moment, and even the exam was quite fun although I couldn't believe how nervous I was on the day.'

Phil Humphreys, Head of Geography, 'Having started to play the piano as a child and failing miserably, to pass this time around 34 years later was a pleasing achievement!'

Rev David Standen, Chaplain, 'It was nerve-wracking but fun.'

Natalie Dimmock, Head of Marketing, 'It was both scary and hilarious at the same time. I am going to add learning the double bass in 2 months to my CV immediately.'

John Attwater, the Headmaster (whose musical instrument of choice was xylophone and timpani) said, 'King Edward's Witley enjoys an established reputation for excellent music and we thought it was time for the teachers to experience being on the other side of the expectations game. Naturally the fear of failure and the huge scope for friendly competitive rivalry meant that we all practised religiously! I have a feeling it will be a while before the King Edward's Witley Staff Grade One band makes an impact on the world stage, though.'

The instruments featured in the challenge included: percussion, euphonium, oboe, trumpet, double bass, piano, recorder, tenor sax and cello.
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