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Learning Music at Westbrook Old Hall Primary

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A guided tour of musical possibilities for the children at Westbrook Old Hall Primary.

Learning At Home - March - July 2020


Click on MUSIC link below.

Y6 Song Maker Compositions October 2020

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Music in response to Grieg's 'Morning Mood.'

Suspense music by Y6 - October 2020

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The children composed music using the Song Maker programme having listened to Erlkonig by Schubert. This video demonstrates three examples from the many sent to Mr Oates. They are composed by David, Ruby & Heidi.

Across The Universe - Emily & Sophie reach the top 20!!!! in the national Song Academy competition 2020

Warrington Guardian Article - 6th May 2020


Top 40 spot for school girl writer in competition


By Ethan Davies


Emily hit the top 40



A SCHOOLGIRL from Bewsey enjoyed national success in the Song Academy Young Songwriting Competition 2020 – which is judged by Tom Odell and Imelda May.


Emily Murphy, 10, submitted ‘Across The Universe’ to the competition having had a helping hand from her friend Sophie Williamson on backing vocals and music teacher John Oates, who recorded Emily’s song.


Each year 160 entrants bid for glory in the competition, which is open to 8-16 year olds. ‘Across The Universe’ made it into the top 40, just missing out on a place in the final ten.


Emily, who has been using her time in lockdown to write more songs, said the prospect of being a finalist was ‘very surprising’. She added: “I know there are people there who are much, much older than me.!”


It’s not the first time Emily has tasted success, having come runner-up in Great Sankey High School’s ‘MatFactor’ competition, when she performed ‘Hallelujah’ on guitar.


Emily dreams of going into musicals, and is currently rehearsing with the First Act Drama group, as well as working with teacher Mr Oates on her singing.


She says they are responsible for ‘boosting her confidence’ enough to enter the competition.


Mum Louise, who works for the NHS, says she is “really proud” of Emily.


“Mr Oates is really supportive and encouraging. [Emily] works hard and practices a lot. I think it’s all come together to make her enjoy it and branch into writing songs, as well as playing somebody else’s.


“Look out Adele!”

This is an interview taken from the Song Academy website.




Emily Murphy is 10 years old from Liverpool and her song ‘Across The Universe’ was selected as a top 40 song in The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2020 competition 8-12 year UK/Ireland category.  We caught up with Emily recently to talk about all things songwriting!

What inspired you to write your song?  I was thinking of my friendship with my best friend, Sophie, when I wrote this and I was also thinking about how scary new places can be until you make a friend.

What got you into writing songs?  I currently have guitar lessons and I like experimenting with the chords and that creates new tunes in my head. I then just keep improving them until I am happy with it.

What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?  The part of the process I like most is when you get stuck on a rhyming word for ages and the satisfaction when you get the right word and it all just clicks into place.

Describe your setup that you used to write your #SAYS20 entry, was it just a pen and paper or a fully kitted out studio?  The song was initially just in my head until my mum suggested writing it down and we recorded it on her phone.

How do you usually start a song? How do you find that spark?  I usually start with the chorus and then work on the verses.

Who would be your dream artist/writer/band to collaborate with?I would love to collaborate with Paloma Faith – she writes powerful songs and I like singing them to myself!

What made you enter #SAYS20? How did you hear about it? I heard about #SAYS20 from my music teacher at school – we had a song writing competition at school.

What would you say to someone aged 8-18 who is thinking about entering the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition next year? Do you have any tips for them?  I would say to someone thinking of entering “just go for it; no song is out of place in the competition.”

What do you like about the Song Academy Young Songwriter competition?  I like the fact that #SAYS20 is done online because if you had to sing/perform in front of judges it would make some people too nervous and therefore means people are more confident to enter.

Read what the judge said about the choir. Parr Hall 2020 Round 1 Song Audition.

No Parr Hall concert this year but congratulations to the choir for getting into the final that was not!


Wash Your Hands by John Oates

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Instrumental Lessons 2019 - Terms & Conditions

Y4 & Y5 Choir Members Singing At Westvale House Care Home - 17/12/19

Y6 Choir and Orchestra performing at St. Elphin’s Parish Church, 12/12/19

Y6 Choir and Orchestra Rehearsal December 2019

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The Huron Carol with harmony part by Mr Oates.

‘Just Us’ singing group after rehearsal Dec. 2019

Golden Apple played and sung by the orchestra Dec. 2019

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This song, written by Mr Oates, forms part of our Celebration Assembly.

Ambassador School For Music December 2019

Orchestra during Friday morning assembly and posing during rehearsal.

Pyramid Play Day Workshop & Concert - Thursday 28th November 2019

Choir of the Year 2019

The choir won the title during a competition at Parr Hall

Warrington Guardian Article


The choir won the title during a competition at Parr Hall

PUPILS at Westbrook Old Hall Primary School are celebrating after being named Choir of the Year for a second consecutive year.

The choir scooped the award after attending the Primary Choral Festival held at Parr Hall, which is run by Accent Music Education Hub.

To win the competition, the school had to progress through a preliminary stage and then impress judges from respected music institutions including Chetham’s School of Music.

And the school’s music teacher John Oates said he is extremely proud of the pupils for backing up the success of the previous two years.

“The competition gives the chance for both the choir and soloists to perform and it is always a great event to be involved in,” he said.

“Everyone at the school is extremely proud of the pupils and especially proud that we have been able to win the award for the third successive year.

“The standard of competition at the festival was really high so we are delighted to have done so well again this year.”

Westbrook Old Hall Primary, an Omega MAT school, initially came up against 13 other choirs in the preliminary stage before gaining a place in the final six.

It was here that the school wowed the panel of judges by singing You’re Going to Lose that Girl and Octopus’s Garden by The Beatles and Be My Baby by The Ronettes.

Headteacher Stewart Quinn was also quick to praise the pupils, adding: “Winning the award is an incredible achievement and I am so proud of all the children and Mr Oates.

“The children at our school 'Learn with a Smile' and music brings enjoyment to all."

‘Accent’ Choir of the Year 2019

Liverpool Philharmonic Children's Choir 7-12.


Follow the link above to find out more about the Liverpool Philharmonic Children's Choir and how to join.

Choir singing at the Parr Hall. 3/7/19

Stars by Katrina with backing vocals by Beatrice. Video filmed by Elize.

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At the Play Day - Warrington Pyramid - 27th June 2019

Orchestra June 2019

Orchestra after Celebration Assembly May 2019

Reception Class Singing - I'm A Seed by J. Oates

This is Mrs Johnson's class singing I'm A Seed. May 2019

Stars - Written by Katrina - recorded with Beatrice

This song was entered into the 2019 Song Academy Competition and came in the top 15 out of 170+

This extract was written by Katrina about her song and is featured on the Song Academy Website.




Katrina is 10 years old, from Warrington.  Her song ‘Stars’ made the Top 30 in The Young Songwriter 2019 competition 8-12 years UK & Ireland Category.  Congratulations!  Here’s a bit about Katrina and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS19 Top 30 song?  My teacher at school encouraged me to enter saying that my song has potential and its a good composition. However, what inspired me to write this song was, I was upset about some things that were happening in school with friends, so I’ve put it into words and express how I really felt. 

How long have you been writing songs?  I started in Year 3 at age 7.

How did you get into songwriting?  My older sister, who was also writing songs at that age, inspired me to write my own songs and experience a new perspective to express your feelings.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  In my opinion, songwriting allows you to explore your own feelings and sometimes play around with your words, because you’re basically writing a story to share. What it allows you to achieve is that it improves your own skills in writing songs, so that you can be creative and confident enough to explore other new things and structures.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part of the process is the chorus/bridge. I say the chorus, because that is the main part of the song and it has to attract people that they can actually sing along. I also like the bridge, because it opens a new perspective in the song.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  I would say it’s a bit harder to find your melody, because you want it to flow in with your lyrics. Your lyrics might be too short for the melody or might be too long. It needs to sound like your own with originality. 

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  I start with the melody, chords and then lyrics.

What do you like about the Young Songwriter competition?  What I like about the Young Songwriter competition is that when you listen to songs from children similar to your age, it gives you more ideas on how to improve your own or write your own. Then, you can create it into your own idea.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs? I like Cavetown, because his lyrics are really deep and well put together. His songs are also really catchy and that’s very important too. I like ‘Fight Song’, because every part of the song is strong and everything flows in. I also like ‘Fly me to the Moon’, because I like the structure of the song and the instrumentals.

10 years from now you will be… Although I have a passion for Music, I have a goal to be a successful Dermatologist in future, but I will still continue to explore and develop my skills in Music as my favourite quote ‘Music It’s not what I do, It’s who I am’.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  When I’m not composing songs, I’m drawing because I’ve learnt that you can also express your feelings through art and pictures too. 

Photo taken from Warrington Guardian website.

Y5 & Y6 children from Westbrook Old Hall Primary school choir singing at the Omega MAT schools' concert on the 12th February 2019. 


Deck The Halls performed by the orchestra December 2018

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Orchestra February 2019

The Choir at Great Sankey High School, 13th December 2018

St. Elphin's December 2018 - Orchestra and Close Harmony Group (plus a little elf) - 12/12/18

Advent - Getting Ready - 11th December 2018

Pre-Concert Photos with a beautiful Christmas tree - 12/12/18

Performing at West Vale Nursing Home, 4th December 2018.

Up! Up! Up! by Libby, Sophie & Freya

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The school choir. March 2019 - World Book Day Rehearsal

History by Ewan, Joe, Ben & Evin

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Composed in 2017.

Melody that shakes the trees - Alexia, Mason & Quinn

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'United' by Evie, Leah, Erin & Amelia

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Copyright 2015 - Evie, Leah, Erin & Amelia

Westbrook Old Hall Award Winning Choir 2018

PRIMARY school pupils from across town competed in a Warrington schools competition at the Parr Hall.


Eleven schools took part in the Accent Music Education Hub Primary Festival, each performing two songs to a sell-out audience.


Westbrook Old Hall Primary School were crowned the winners on the night which took place on Thursday, May 24.


Schools had to apply for a performance opportunity at this prestigious event and the choirs sang in front of an audience of parents, teachers and the new Mayor of Warrington Cllr Karen Mundry.

Max playing the horn.

Max playing the horn.

Highly Commended Songwriters

June 2018 Play Day at the Pyramid, Warrington.

James - Grade 2 Clarinet

Highly Commended Song Performance - London June 2018

Orchestra May 2018

James - Keyboard Grades 1 & 2

Lauren - Grade 2 Violin

Tell Me Where by Miriam

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This song was written and recorded by Miriam from Y6.

Promises by Erin

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Copyright 2015 Erin

Endless Summer by Aylish

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This song was written and recorded by Aylish.

Round In Circles by Fin

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Copyright 2016 Fin - Backing vocals by Amelia, Erin, Leah & Evie.

KS2 Choir - March 2018 (World Book Day)

Orchestra - January 2018

Orchestra at West Vale Nursing Home - December 2017

KS2 Choir at St. Elphin's Parish Church - December 2017

Y5 Garage Band - 12 Bar Blues

Beatrice, Katrina and Elize have improvised vocal parts over their 12 Bar Blues Arrangement.

Egypt Song by Eva & Jessica

The two year 4 girls have adapted a well known nursery rhyme to
help them remember Egyptian facts.

Vocal Improvisation by Liam Y6

Liam has created a chord sequence using Garage Band and added a drum loop.
He has then sung simple phrases over the top of this using his own tune and

'Accent' Music Education Hub Song Competition Winners - 2017

Play Day at the Pyramid - 30/11/17

Four Times Table (I am very able)

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Find the pulse, clap the rhythm, sing the chorus
and KS2, learn your 4 times tables!

Y2 Ukulele Club - November 2017

Golden Apple 2017 - John Oates

Ambassador School For Music Presentation At The Town Hall

National Youth Jazz Orchestra Visit October 2017

NYJO Video Clip from Performance on Friday 6th October 2017

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Grade 1 Violin

Golden Apple Time performed by orchestra - A Team

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Don't Betray Me by Aryan

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This song was written and recorded by Aryan from Y6. Backing vocals are by Aylish.

Spring and Summer - Miriam & Caitlin - 'Accent' Music Hub Song Writing Competition Winner 2016

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Copyright 2015 Miriam & Caitlin - Additional vocals by Takara.

Ocean Eyes by Adam

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This song was written and recorded by Adam from Y6.

Holiday by Daniel

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Song written and recorded by Daniel from Y6.

Snowflake by Leen -

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Copyright 2016 Leen - Leen is playing the keyboard and singing. Erin plays some guitar and sings on the counter melody.

Spotlight - Leah & Jamelia

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Copyright 2015 Jamelia & Leah

Round In Circles - India & Morgan

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Copyright 2015 India & Morgan - Jack is playing the guitar and adding vocals with India & Morgan.

Look At Me Now - Evie & Leah

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Copyright 2014/16 Leah & Evie

Just Do It by Molly

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Song Writing Success

Just Do It by Molly (Y4) - 'Accent' Music Hub Competition Winner 2016

This song was written by Molly about her Robinwood experience in year 4. Maanya, Erin and Tia also sing.

Westie Celebration Song - Part Orchestra January 2017

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This song is part of our weekly Celebration Assembly. It was recorded in
January 2017.

School Orchestra November 2016

St. Elphin's After Concert Photo - 6/12/16

Halliwell Jones After Concert Photo - 12/12/16

Westvale House Care Home - 16/12/16

Warrington Guardian Picture - October 2016

'Thrown Away' Song Demo

This song was composed and written during 'Toy Day' on the last day of term December 2016.
A group of children were interested in writing a song so this is what we came up with.

Orchestra Rehearsal of 'Angry Earth' February 2017

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Orchestra rehearsal takes place on a Friday after school. This performance is
not perfect but shows how well the children work and perform together. Mr Yates
and Mr Hughes are also present in the video.

Recorder Club November 2016

'Lipstick' sung by Glamorous

This song was written in spring 2014 and reached the final 10 of a national songwriting competition. Leah, Jamelia and Ella recorded this song.

Glamorous Band - Warrington Guardian Picture

School Orchestra May 2016

Warrington & Halton - Choir Competition Winners 2016 - Westbrook Old Hall KS2 Choir

Back Stage Party by Black Masquerade

This original song was written, arranged and performed by Ella, Bana & Jessica.

First public performance at the Year 6 Variety Gala on 15th July 2015. The girls
are playing and singing.

Black Masquerade performing Back Stage Party (Photo)

India from Year 6 sings at the Parr Hall in December 2014.

India sang 'Once In Royal David's City' as part of a performance of The Snowman
at the Parr Hall, Warrington. India sang at the start of the concert and was
accompanied by an orchestra.

Y6 Song Writing Workshop with Tricia McTeague

Tricia McTeague visited Old Hall on Tuesday 24th May to deliver a song writing workshop to children from Y6.


Tricia has performed with Ronan Keating, Lionel Ritchie and Elton John. She is also a songwriter and has had one of her songs go Platinum in Japan and another reached number 4 in the UK dance chart. 


Tricia explained her song writing process to the children and gave advice as to how to present songs when performing.

Promises performed by Erin in London on Sunday 12th June 2016 - The Song Academy Competition

This is a recording of Erin's performance of her song 'Promises'. Erin had a rehearsal with the band in the morning before performing in front of a large crowd in the afternoon. This sound recording was made by Erin's parents during the performance.

Warrington Guardian Article


Young songwriter wins praise from top popstars

Erin Jordan was a runner up in the national songwriter of the year competition.

Erin Jordan was a runner up in the national songwriter of the year competition.


AN 11-year-old songwriter who performed alongside pop star Rumer at the weekend says her music is inspired by ‘personal experiences’.

Erin Jordan, from Chapelford, was a runner up in the national young songwriter of the year competition with her track Promises.

The song was praised by the judges including singer Tom Odell, who said: “Heartbreaking. 

“This is really strong. Simple and moving.”


She also won praise from Starsailor front man James Walsh and singer songwriter Rumer who added: “Very catchy song, great melody. Simple idea, but very effective!”

The Westbrook Old Hall Primary School pupil was invited to perform at Westfield in London on stage with singer-songwriter Rumer on Sunday.


She said: “I haven’t really performed on a stage before so it was really exciting.

“I got the idea for my song Promises after my friend told me someone had broken a promise somebody made to her but I get most of my inspiration from my personal experiences.

“I was so excited that the judges liked my song and the comments they made about it were great.”

Erin’s mum Ruth said she is very thankful to Erin’s music teacher at her primary school John Oates who encouraged pupils to enter the competition.

She said: “Mr Oates has been really generous with his time and he even came to London to watch Erin perform.

“The school has been brilliant at giving her access to music and recording equipment and Mr Oates helped her record the track for the competition.

“He organised a songwriter to come in and teach year six about writing music.”

Ruth said Erin started playing the guitar three years ago and has been taking her songwriting seriously for the past year.

Erin, who has a nine-year-old brother called Daniel, says her favourite pop stars are Sabrina Carpenter and Taylor Swift, because they play different instruments and write their own songs.

Ruth said: “We took her to see Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour for her birthday and she was such an inspiration to Erin.

“Her grandfather was very musical so maybe that’s where she gets it from – we are just so proud of her.”

Another song, called United, which was recorded by Erin and her friends Evelyn, Leah and Amelia was highly commended by the judges.

Erin performing 'Promises' in London on 12th June. The Song Academy Competition 2016

Year 4 Sing 'Victorian Historian' during Friday assembly - Feb 2016

The children can be heard singing and playing tuned percussion.

Erin's Song Idea - Garage Band - Feb. 2016

Erin has edited her chords and created a good sequence. She has also
added two vocal parts.

Rainforest - Y5 - Assembly Performance Nov. 2015

This was a performance of class work. The children rehearsed for 10 minutes before
the performance on Friday.

Alain - Garage Band Sequence

Alaine has created a chord sequence and added a melodic part over the top. 2016

Battle Of Britain - Y6 Performance

This song was performed in October 2015 by Y6. They are playing a variety
of instruments and a few children are improvising vocal phrases over the melody.

How playing an instrument benefits your brain - Anita Collins

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-playing-an-instrument-benefits-your-brain-anita-collins When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What's going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians' brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Saman & Alex - Battle Of Britain

The boys have recorded the chord sequence and ostinato part.
Saman has then recorded the vocal. Oct. 2015

Huron Carol - Rehearsal - KS2 Children - Dec. 2015

Garage Band - Battle Of Britain by Erin & Evie

These two year six children have used 9 tracks to develop this song.
You can hear 4 vocal tracks - one vocal track is an improvisation.
The remaining tracks are for the instruments.

School Orchestra June 2015

Best Summer Ever by Molly & Leen in Y5

Goodbye Old Hall

This song was performed by Jamelia & Jack at their leavers' assembly on 21st July.
It was written by Jamelia, Jack, Megan & Josh during their music lessons.

Lullaby For Everyone by Miriam & Caitlin from Y4

The Tide Is Turning - A song written by Ella in Y6

Ella composed this song as part of our songwriting unit within Y6 music lessons. April 2015.
It was recorded on an iPad within the classroom. Ella is singing and playing the guitar.

May Our School - Westbrook Old Hall school prayer

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What's On The Menu, Mr Fox? Year 4 Performance 2014

Performed by Year 4 in 2014 as part of their class assembly. (J.Oates)

Daniel's French Song - Y4

Daniel created this song as part of his french lessons. Daniel was given a prize for creating this song.

Year 3 Assembly Song Clip 2014

Oats and Beans, Yum Yum Yum - performed by year 3 in 2014.
The verses describe the process of digestion. (J.Oates)

World Book Day Song - 'Books'

This song has been written for World Book Day by Leah, Jamelia and Alisha from Year 6. March 2015

Garage Band Audio by Daniel

In Year 4 the children created a short sound sequence using
the iPads. Daniel was able to add three vocal parts to his work. Listen
to how he blends them together.

Hear more Garage Band work from Year 4 in the Year 4 folder below.

Year 6 Child Playing the Piano.

Avinaash from Y6 has passed his grade 4 piano. This is one of his grade pieces recorded by Mr Oates and is called March in E flat.

John Lennon - Quarrymen - 6/7/57


pathe news - about 1963? - live in manchester - rarely seen in colour at this time

The Beatles at Shea Stadium

The Beatles take to the stage at Shea Stadium.