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Sara Reynolds is our Director of Performing Arts. She talks about her role and how our Music Department is moving with the times.
Tell us about yourself and Seaford College
I am a perfectionist and thoroughly dedicated to every Performing Arts student, no matter their ability. I encourage them to perform and achieve the highest standards possible for them individually.
I’m passionate about my holistic approach to singing - I always teach the whole person, never just the voice. My ability for spotting true talent and preparing students for success in the music industry, whether they choose the classical or contemporary route, is carefully nurturing, but enormously determined.
Seaford is a very warm and friendly school with a caring community. It is an ambitious environment for every student, inside and outside the classroom. Our mantra is Love to learn because our students, parents and alumni keep telling us how much they love Seaford. I am so proud that many students find a lifelong passion for performing arts, alongside their academics, during their time at Seaford. They love to learn.
How is your Music Department moving with the times?
We love the changing face of music and embrace all that this entails. We now run class lessons in Music Tech alongside traditional Music. Our staff lead ensembles influenced by modern genres of music, whilst still maintaining traditional group work. We now have a soul band, a rock band, MTech clubs, DJ-ing, jazz bands, and Seafordstock – a huge rock and pop festival – every year.
Do lessons embrace modern ways to enjoy music, such as watching YouTube and apps? I know ours do, as we use both of these tools to enhance our lessons, proving that our staff are 'current' and aware of today's cultures. Students are often leading the way in this – they often have their own YouTube or SoundCloud accounts to showcase their work, too.
What do you do to inspire a love of music in a digital world?
We use masses of performing opportunities to inspire a love of music. We hold weekly 'informal' lunchtime concerts that anyone can watch or perform in, on any instrument and in any style. We runs masses of chamber groups including choirs, (both 'formal' and 'informal' types), a string group, rock band, soul band, jazz band, wind group, MTech clubs, guitar groups, and DJ-ing lessons, and keep music live as best we can.
And what is the role of music in a child’s development?
Music is pivotal to a child's development. Only this morning, a very emotionally exhausted student sang to me and told me she felt so much better after just ten minutes of singing. She left to go back to a highly academic lesson 're-invigorated' (her words) and ready to learn and in a much better frame of mind. All children deserve to feel the power of music in this way.
Is it crucial or a fringe benefit we no longer have time for?
Of course it is crucial. The results are clearly obvious: students who participate in musical activities have better mental strength, less anxiety, are more resilient and usually achieve better results – not just academically (though this is often the case), but emotionally too.
What inspires you?
What motivates me is knowing how my students will feel when they see how audiences react to their performances. This inspires and drives me.
How do you spend your free time?
I’m a keen, if somewhat clumsy, canoeist. I love turning off all electronic devices, grabbing the dog and driving around the Sussex countryside looking for new water to play in. Small pleasures, big rewards!
- Performing Arts
- Sara Reynolds