High Ashurst 2024: Building Music, Friendship, and Confidence

High Ashurst 2024: Building Music, Friendship, and Confidence

Sutton Music Trust is passionate about providing musical opportunities and inspirational experiences for all its students within the London Borough of Sutton. The annual High Ashurst residential is an opportunity for our younger musicians to build friendships, develop their ensemble skills and make lasting memories.

On the 8th March, Forty-two excited young musicians, ranging from year 4 to year 8, arrived at the picturesque High Ashurst Outdoor Education Centre in the Surrey Hills.

Sutton Music Trust’s two-night residential at High Ashurst has become a staple in the SMT calendar, offering students a chance to immerse themselves in music and non-musical teambuilding activities within the scenic Surrey Hills. For many, it marks their first time away from home without their families.

“My son really enjoyed the weekend from the orchestral playing to the campfire songs and adventure activities. He can find social situations awkward and obviously felt he could be himself and that he is in a ‘safe space’.” – Parent

The musicians come from various SMT Ensembles, including Sutton Youth Training Band, Young Musicians Training Orchestra and Young Musicians Orchestra. Singers from Sutton Young Singers and Sutton Youth Choir also attend.  Central to the weekend’s activities was the formation of a ‘scratch’ orchestra and ukulele band, which are designed to accommodate every ability and stage of learning.

Two sixth form members of Sutton Music Trust from the senior ensembles also joined the weekend to support the music making and activities. They showed great leadership and initiative and allowed our younger musicians to see what their future progression may look like as they move up through the service.

Students gathered around a set of tyres outdoors

“I will miss going to High Ashurst, it was always really fun to do with my friends. Roll on tour!” – Student

Beyond the music, the students participated in outdoor challenges and team-building exercises. Saturday afternoon saw the group tackle the High Ropes challenge, where the learnt how to work together and communicate as part of a team and (literally) reach new heights. Further team building tasks challenged their problem solving and group cooperation skills; skills which they can then use in their ensemble playing.  

The students celebrated their achievements as a team around a campfire on the Saturday evening and shared their great work with family members on Sunday in our traditional open rehearsal. The students went home tired but happy, and already asking when the next High Ashurst trip would be!

Students playing chess around a table

“Thank you so much for organising such a fantastic trip for the children to play music together. Music is so natural and it’s a very good idea to bring the children to play music from the original point.” – Parent

Count Me In!

To find out more about our bands, orchestras, and choirs, check out our website.

Want to develop your Ukulele skills? Contact us to find out more about our Debut! Ukulele classes.

Invitations to High Ashurst 2024 will be sent out in Autumn 2024.