The music scene at Downs Junior School is constantly evolving and so too is this website. Make sure you regularly check the NEWS page for updates and announcements. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the music department.
Until COVID-19 appeared, music was taught by a specialist teacher (Anna Rusbatch) in a dedicated and well-resourced music room: We have a full-class set of ukuleles and recorders plus half-class sets of keyboards, pBuzz and djembes. The children also have access to a large range of additional instruments within curriculum music lessons; acoustic, electric and bass guitars; a full drum kit, violin, cello, mini bass, trumpet, trombone, flute, clarinet, saxophone and an accordion, plus a large range of tuned and un-tuned percussion instruments.
The children experience a weekly one-hour music curriculum lesson and a weekly music assembly. The lesson content incorporates composition, performance, listening and appraisal skills. The main aim of every lesson is to develop these skills, build confidence and most importantly have FUN! The subject material either links with:
Mega Choir (Years 3 – 6) and Super Choir (Year 6 only). View the Clubs page for details about where and when these clubs occur. We also have an orchestra for children in school who are able to read basic sheet music notation and receive regular lessons for their instrument. Throughout the year Miss Rusbatch also works with the peripatetic music tutors to create large ensembles for concert performances.
Every Autumn, the children in Year 4 experience a performance at the world famous Glyndebourne Opera House (depending on the programme that year). Also in the Autumn term, we have a Harvest assembly concert followed by celebratory and reflective events for Black History Month in October and commemorative events for Remembrance Day in November.
The festive month of December is saturated with Christmas concerts and charity events: the Year 6 Super Choir performance at the Brighton Centre alongside nearly 1,500 children, the children in mega choir, super choir and orchestra perform in school Christmas Concerts, often hosted in large local churches - most recently in the beautiful St. Martin's Church (Brighton). We also perform Christmas concerts to ex-pupils of the school who attended in the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s.
The Battle of the Bands competition occurs in March, as does a spring concert for instrumentalists and ensemble groups.
In the summer term the whole school unite for the opening and closing ceremonies for Sports Day. Many children participate in The Brighton Festival Children’s Parade and the Year 6 children delight audiences by performing adapted or original stage musicals as a farewell to their junior school experience. We also have a Summer Concert, showcasing what the children in the choirs and orchestra have learned and composed, as well as performances from individual musicians, battle of the bands winners and, sometimes, a staff band!
Visit the Events page for dates and details of upcoming events
PRIVATE INSTRUMENT LESSONS:
A wide variety of individual and small group lessons are available at Downs Junior School:
We have 10 peripatetic teachers who work in school. Some of them are provided by the Brighton & Hove Music Service, and some are employed privately. For more information, and to contact the teachers directly, visit the Private Lessons page.
PLEASE NOTE: Children are only permitted to receive private lessons for ONE instrument in class curriculum lesson time. Tuition for a second instrument may be received, but ONLY if the lesson for that instrument is before/after school or during lunchtime. If you would like your child to receive tuition for a second instrument within the school premises, it is your responsibility, when applying for lessons, to inform the new teacher that your child is only able to receive tuition before/after school or during lunchtime. Please bear in mind that some peripatetic staff will not be able to accommodate this within their own timetable, therefore, tuition for a second instrument may not be possible within school. If this is the case, it would be worth seeking private tuition out of school time, either at your own home, at the teacher's home, or at a music centre.
Please contact Miss Rusbatch if you would like the contact details for private tutors who are not associated with Downs Junior School.
Whilst living and teaching in Nairobi, Anna Rusbatch formed a collaborative partnership with Lizzie Jago - a playwright and Creative Arts teacher in Kenya. Together, they founded the Youth Theatre Kenya. Lizzie writes the scripts and Anna writes the lyrics and composes and arranges the music for original music theatre pieces. The shows focus on telling true stories, raising awareness of global social issues and giving a voice to voiceless children.
In July 2013, 67 children from Downs Junior School were joined by 35 children from Braeburn School in Nairobi, Kenya to perform Kesho Amahoro on the Rose Theatre stage in London for the International Youth Arts Festival. DJS children were also in the backstage team and the orchestra. This theatre piece celebrates the triumph of the human spirit despite the hardship and adversity of war and suffering and life in a refugee camp.
In July 2014, we returned to the Rose Theatre to perform Albatross - Wings of Freedom with a cast of 100 young performers from Kenya and Downs Junior School. Reviews were wonderful and the children received consecutive standing ovations. On the last day of term, the entire Downs Junior School team (600 of them) travelled to London to watch one of the performances. This piece depicts the fight against the black market slave trade in the late 19th century. It's set in Zanzibar and the characters are based on real people.
In 2017, Miss Rusbatch and the children in Year 6 wrote their own musical, in which all of Roald Dahl's famous characters co-exist. The show was called Dahl's Dream, it was performed in July 2017 for their end of year production.
We have since performed Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. The 2020 production will be...
- Guitar / Bass -
Lisa De Simone
- Violin / Viola -
- Cello -
- Double Bass -
- Flute / Recorder -
- Clarinet / Oboe -
- Saxophone / Bassoon -
- Brass -
- Piano -
- Drum Kit -
- Voice -
- 01273 293524 -