National Commemoration Days

Our first National Commemoration Days were launched in 4 schools to 1000 children. Students participated in art workshops, learning First World War songs, meeting an Indian Soldier costumed interpreter and exploring artefacts. The days culminated in moving commemoration services bringing together all the activities from the day including laying poppy wreaths and placing newly made medals onto barbed wire in remembrance alongside army drill and songs.


Berger School

The team were amazing, helping the children explore each activity and the range of sessions gave each child an opportunity to play to their strengths. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves


As always with HMDT Music, it was thoughtful and meaningful and gave us all a lot to think about


The WW1 workshop day was very interesting and the artefacts were really unique. It was a once in a life experience


I really enjoyed the singing workshop because the warm up and songs were fun and catchy


The best day in Year 5!


I was looking forward to it all week but it was even better than I thought it would be!

Trench Brothers at Mayor’s Diwali Festival at Trafalgar Square

On the 28 October 2018 The I Can Sing! Music Theatre Programme Seniors and Richard Sumitro performed excerpts from Trench Brothers to a crowd of thousands (including the Mayor himself), at the Mayor’s Diwali Festival at Trafalgar Square.

Alongside the performance, The Royal British Legion showcased the Indian section of our Trench Brothers Exhibition at the Festival.

We were very honoured to be part of this great event – a fitting end to the Trench Brothers project.

Trench Brothers Performances at Brighton Dome

The Music Teacher

This was a truly incredible and moving performance that serves as a fitting tribute to the soldiers whose stories are too often left out of the narrative of the war.

On the 17 October 2018 HMDT Music’s Trench Brothers was performed to great acclaim, at Brighton Dome to audiences of around 1,500 people. The finale of four year’s work around the country, it brought together songs written with schools in London, Lancashire and the South East in a unique collaboration of musical genres alongside the core music theatre work by composers Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor set to a libretto by our Creative Director Tertia Sefton-Green.

It was performed by children from 7 local schools, Seniors from our own I Can Sing! programme and top artists Cleveland Watkiss, Damian Thantrey and Richard Sumitro accompanied by students from our Julian Joseph Jazz Academy, our CYMH tutors and the Jasdeep Singh Degun Indian Sitar and Tabla duo.


The Music Teacher

Tertia Sefton-Green’s libretto masterfully engages its adult audience while ensuring that the content remains accessible and understandable to the young people taking part. Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor’s music help to elevate the performance into something wonderful to experience – each character’s culture is reflected in their music and it is a joy to hear different genres and influences being woven together to reinforce the narrative’s themes of camaraderie.

London Jazz Review

An affecting music theatre work……. ‘letters home’ …. have all the poignancy, humour, sadness, bitterness and gritty historical detail that you would expect.
HMDT Music have form for taking on projects with big themes.

Trench Brothers: an ode to whitewashed war heroes – an article by Kamila Shamsie

Ahead of HMDT Music’s Trench Brothers premier on Wednesday 17th October at Brighton Dome, award-winning Kamila Shamsie has written this wonderful article about not only the history behind the project but also its relevance for today.

Read her article HERE.

New Whole School Project Launch – National Commemoration Days

National Commemoration Days : Armistice Centenary 2018

HMDT Music presents a unique opportunity to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day with a one day whole school ever offering a series of activities and guest visits. The event is inspired by its successful Trench Brothers project commemorating the contribution of ethic minority soldiers in the First World War.

The day includes:

  • Artefacts handling sessions looking at weapons, uniforms and memorabilia from the First World War;
  • An Indian Soldier costumed interpreter sharing his experiences of life in the trenches on the Front Line;
  • Artist workshops to create a visual and creative response to the First World War;
  • Singing sessions to learn First World War songs;
  • Online toolkits to research specific soldiers leading to students writing Letter Home from the Front;
  • Access to the Trench Brothers Education Zone offering contextual information and 90 lesson plans and activities linked to the curriculum;
  • A commemoration event bringing together all the elements explored during the day.


Available 5 – 16 November 2018.


Cost: FROM £1,500 Dependent on school size.

To book your place contact: or call HMDT Music on 020 8882 8825

I Can Sing! Taster Session – 22 Sept 2018


Do you enjoy singing, dancing and acting?

Come and join HMDT Music for a one-off  I Can Sing! Taster on Saturday 22 September, and experience the excitement of music theatre, led by our fantastic team of professional artists.

The morning will offer prospective I Can Sing! students the chance to watch a performance by current students, gain new skills, build confidence and make new friends!

Sessions will include singing, dancing and drama and require no previous experience. I Can Sing! is for ages 5 – 14 and draws on repertoire that includes classic Broadway numbers alongside our original commissions.

What are the timings?

The taster students are invited to join the first session of the term (22 September) with our I Can Sing! Groups according to their school year.

Minis (Years 1 & 2) – 09:50am – 11:25am

Junior 1 (Years 3 & 4) – 10:00am – 12:45am

Junior 2 (Year 5 & 6) – 10:00pm – 1:45pm

Seniors (Year 7 +) 09:00am – 12:45pm

This sounds great – how do I sign up?




Spaces are limited so make your application now. We will get back to you ASAP to confirm your place. The taster session costs £20.00 – payable when you accept your place.

If you sign up for the term the taster fee will be deducted from the first term’s fee!

Where does the taster take place?

At HMDT Music’s Saturday Programme in Haggerston School, E2 8LS.

For more information on I Can Sing! and the rest of the Saturday Programme click here.

To discuss I Can Sing! or any other part of the Saturday Programme, please contact the office on 020 8882 8825.

Julian Joseph Jazz Academy – Summer Courses


10.00AM – 5.00PM  at Bridge Academy, E2 8BA


A unique, four-day course designed for students aged 9 – 14, who want to learn jazz – or more about jazz.


Using the methodology developed at the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy, students will be introduced to the rich history and styles of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus through the focused study of a small number of classic jazz recordings. They will be taught how to access, appreciate and perform this great music through a series of inspiring workshops – and make firm friends in the process!


The course culminates in a relaxed and enjoyable performance at the end of the last day, open to all family and friends.


For more detailed information about the course, click HERE.


The full four-day course costs £199.00  – payable when you accept the place.

Discounted fees £179.00 available for students who attend Bridge Academy, the Jazz Blues Course or the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy.


10.00AM – 5.00PM  at Bridge Academy, E2 8BA


Come and join us for a special four-day course focusing on the music and styles of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Students will learn the rich history behind the music; gain experience playing as part of a large jazz ensemble; build confidence reading Big Band charts and meet like-minded musicians in the process.


Each day will be split into three sessions:

  • Full Workshops
  • Sectionals
  • Jam Sessions


The four days will culminate with a relaxed performance for all friends and family.


The course will be at the home of JJJA, Bridge Academy, E2 8BA, and is specifically for sax, trumpet, trombone and rhythm section players (approx. grade 5 +, no audition required) though places are limited (especially for rhythm section players), so book now to reserve a place and avoid disappointment.


The full four-day course costs £179.00  – payable when you accept the place.

Discounted fees £159.00 available for students who attend Bridge Academy, the Jazz Blues Course or the Julian Joseph Jazz Academy.









Trench Brothers – New Performance Dates launched


17 October. Brighton Dome. 7pm

 A new music theatre work commemorating ethnic minority soldiers in World War One
Music:  Julian Joseph and Richard Taylor
Words:  Tertia Sefton-Green
 Tickets are available through the BRIGHTON DOME and cost £12.

A new music theatre work commemorating the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers during the First World War through music, theatre and puppetry, bringing to life their hopes and fears, their longing for home, their camaraderie, courage and valour.

Directed by Clare Whistler and Freya Wynn-Jones to Neil Irish’s designs, it features over 250 children from local primary schools in Brighton, Newhaven, Lewes and Seaford alongside acclaimed jazz vocalist of the year and MOBO nominated Cleveland Watkiss and ‘superb’ (The Times) opera singer Damian Thantrey.

Renowned jazz composer Julian Joseph and award-winning composer Richard Taylor are joined by composers Michael Betteridge, Jenny Gould, Matthew King, James Redwood and Omar Shahryar in a unique collaboration drawing together work developed with schools across London, Lancashire and the South East since 2014.

This powerful centenary event is made all the more poignant by its location in Brighton Dome, which served as an Indian Military Hospital during the war.

The Trench Brothers Exhibition will be at Newhaven Fort from 4 August to 5 November offering a creative response to the untold stories of ethnic minority soldiers in the First World War. For more information on the interactive exhibition, please see our EXHIBITION PAGE.

Trench Brothers was created with support from Heritage Lottery Fund.


Trench Brothers visits the National Memorial Arboretum as part of the Lichfield Festival!

4 July 2018, 6pm.

FREE : Pre-booking required through the NMA website.

Performed in National Memorial Arboretum’s unique outdoor setting of remembrance, this inspiring and moving performance features MOBO nominated jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss, opera singer Damian Thantrey, puppetry and 120 local school children.

The Trench Brothers performance is a culmination of a project with local primary schools in which students explore the contributions of ethnic minority soldiers in the First World War though a series of workshops including artefacts handling, a visit from an Indian Army costumed interpreter, a composition session to set their Letters Home from a given soldier to music and puppet making to create their own force of Trench Brothers puppets. Their learning is supported by the Trench Brothers Education Zone offering contextual information and 90 lesson plans and activities linked to the curriculum

Trench Brothers also has a temporary exhibition at the NMA which is also FREE to visit – for more information please see our EXHIBITION PAGE.


One Spirit – update March 2018

The last 12 months of One Spirit activities have been very successful. The project has engaged over 200 young people/adults, delivering residencies in HMPs Aylesbury and Highdown and HMYOIs Feltham and Cookham Wood, and continues to work with young people/adults in the community in West, East and South London offering them further opportunities to increase their musical skills and get help and support with resettlement.

Working in custody, in general, has become more challenging over the last 12 plus months due to a number of factors: the shortages in prison staff across the whole sector has made the environment more volatile with increased security issues; the number of young people/adults in prison for violent crimes has risen, increasing the risk of violence within prisons themselves; and amidst the ever increasing need for education providers to succeed in the pay by results format OS has had to work harder to keep a space for arts based work.

A significant achievement for OS at HMYOI Feltham has been securing a separate workshop space in which to deliver its projects. It took almost 6 months, along with additional training, for OS to get the NVQ Hut in Feltham’s workshops area. The move has proved to be very successful and provided learners with a much calmer environment in which to work, and the participants have appreciated this; one young person commented “the environment was very calm and I felt I was able to be myself”. The quality of work, depth of engagement and general behaviour has increased and this has had a clear benefit for all participants. Another young person, frequently involved in fights with other yps, commented “There’s no point getting involved in stupid fights because if I do they won’t bring me down to you in the Hut”.

Projects at HMYOI Cookham Wood have continued to yield great results, with some participants winning Koestler Awards for their work. At HMP Highdown and Aylesbury OS has helped participants to apply entrepreneurial thinking to their musical work and enabled participants to make sense of what they can do with their musical skills once they leave custody.

93% of all OS participants in custody declared they felt better about the future after working with OS; 71% admitted feeling more motivated and self disciplined; 98% declared they felt generally more confident in themselves after working with OS. Of those who highlighted issues with anger and frustration 100% declared that working on the project had helped them to cope with these issues.

“I enjoyed working with the Hackney Music staff as they taught me a lot and helped me develop as a person”.

n the community OS has worked with a range of young people/adults on release, 31 in total, whose needs and progression varies enormously. One young person is about to complete a university degree and go into event management, some are finding their feet in the world of employment or further education and some are still struggling to avoid the influences and pitfalls that led them to prison in the first place. 84% of those on the Through the Gate program have not reoffended in 1+ year of release, 63% are in full or part time employment, 32% are in or have recently completed college/FE.

Article: Charlie Parker, Project Manager, One Spirit


With thanks to:



Days of Shakespeare – Fear, greed, treachery and hatred

Weavers Academy opened Creative Education Trust’s double Days of Shakespeare with Richard III; the drama and background narrative cleverly integrated in three ingenious twisting frames and several excellent performances: villainy never looked so good. Lynn Grove’s Romeo and Juliet proceeded from comedy to sorrow with elegance and charm. Caister’s As You Like it closed the first day; this complex tale of exile and disguise brought into relief by the students’ confident and energetic use of the stage. As the company of actors transformed themselves with props and sound and movement into the forest of Arden, a memorable image was created for everyone in Abbeyfield’s auditorium.

Abbeyfield themselves opened the second day with Julius Caesar; grand and classical in its themes of republican power and politics, but with an undertow of moral complexity and decadence. The exemplary diction of the sixth form actors was an inspiration to younger players in the audience. Thistley Hough re-cast Twelfth Night in the campsite of a rained-out music festival, Count Orsino importuning music, the food of love, to his iPhone while Olivia scowled at hers. Ash Green’s Macbeth drew outstanding performances by the leads, supported by a confident cast of witches and men. The Hart School’s Much Ado About Nothing reminded us that we were watching human fauna at play in pursuit of love, as an anoraked cast of birdwatchers returned iteratively to their binoculars.

The Days of Shakespeare was devised for Creative Education Trust by HMDT Music four years ago and includes early interventions on text and design by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Michael Corbidge and the designer Mark Friend. They have become treasured opportunities to perform some of the greatest works in English literature and design an absorbing visual spectacle. Most importantly, it is a chance for students to see what other schools in the trust have done and to witness their own creativity and skill in a wider perspective. Congratulations to the actors, designers and directors and an especial thank you to Richard Walker-Glen and his technical team at Abbeyfield School.

Article by Emily Campbell, Creative Education Trust