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The sound of music

Ealing Music Service (EMS) encourages children to embrace the borough’s musical heritage and learn new skills, and supports the delivery of music education in more than 60 schools in the borough.

It provides singing and instrument tuition, choirs and ensembles, workshops and performances, instruments for loan and hire, professional development for music teachers, and much more.

We spoke with EMS percussion tutor Ben Gale, to find out more about the work he does.

Ben said: “I’ve worked for the music service for the past 5 years but have spent the last 20 years teaching. I was lucky to have access to a music service when I was at school and given the opportunity to try out many different instruments before choosing percussion, and from that I went to the Royal Northern College of Music.

“I also work for Cadenza, an EMS activity, that any young person with an interest in music can come to and receive tuition.

“Before going into teaching, I was a touring percussionist and spent time in America working in musical theatre and also at Disney in both Orlando and Florida.

“There are things that the music service does which may surprise some. Recently we delivered ‘Indonesia comes to Ealing’ in 4 schools, bringing gamelan, with is Indonesian ensemble music, along with puppetry and storytelling. Students had the opportunity to work with live gamelan instruments and experts in that field.

“We are planning a ‘Celebration of Ealing Music’ at the Royal Albert Hall in 2025. All of the ensemble groups will be playing, including the Ealing Jazz Orchestra.”

Drumming up new talent

One of Ben’s students, Bishop, is a young, gifted drummer, who has already toured with the Ealing Percussion Academy to Belgium and is heading to Germany later this year to play.

boy playing drums in his bedroom
Bishop is a talented drummer

Bishop, 14, has been playing beats since he was old enough to bang a spoon on the dinner table and he lives at home with his parents, 2 younger brothers and older sister in Southall.

The young drummer started receiving music tuition when he was at primary school and his talent grew from there. He went on to receive a 4-year scholarship from the London Music Fund in 2019, when Bishop joined the Ealing Music Service.

Bishop said: “I’ve made lots of friends in the music service and continue to make new ones. I’m really looking forward to Germany this year. I love playing for the EPA.

“In 10 years’ time I’d like to be somewhere like America, playing in a rock band or at a festival. I really enjoy performing to an audience.”

Bishop also enjoys football and basketball but his real passion lies in playing the drums. He recently played at Questors Theatre, and you can look back on some of his earlier performances on his You Tube channel.

Naturally gifted

Bishop’s dad Richard said: “He has a real gift. You can see his passion and zeal for playing the drums and that needs to be encouraged. I get great joy in watching Bishop perform.”

Bishop’s drums have even become a bit of a family activity, and you will sometimes find them in a local park playing with a portable kit.

For more information go to the music service website or email Caroline Swan swanc@ealing.gov.uk

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