A SCHOOL in the North East has linked up with one of the most famous names in music to help children hit the right note.
Durham School has taken delivery of 14 “Model B” grand pianos to become the only “all Steinway school” in the North.
The school’s director of music, Roger Muttitt, said: “It’s like driving a Ferrari every day.
“Having pianos of such stunning qualities in the school is incredibly inspiring for everyone who plays them.
“Very few schools can boast such resources and such talented pupils. Durham School’s excellent musical reputation is becoming increasingly well-known and something of which I’m very proud.”
Senior officials from Steinway and Sons attended Durham School’s recent concert at The Sage Gateshead, where they presented headmaster Martin George with an official plaque to mark the new partnership.
Durham is now the only school between Reading and Edinburgh to have formed such a collaboration.
Mr George said: “We are incredibly proud of becoming an all Steinway school. Music provides the moments students will cherish and is at the heart of what is great about this school.” As well as being able to learn to play on the pianos, the students will have access to Steinway’s support services, including regular master-classes by visiting experts.
Steinway’s institutional services manager, Keith Glazebrook, said he was amazed at the proportion of the school’s students who had an interest in music and high degree of ability.
“From our experience this isn’t commonplace,” he said. “It seems to be part of the fabric of Durham School that music is taught which is a fantastic achievement and something to be proud of.
“We have done research which shows that music affects other areas of education. It requires concentration and touches on all sorts of disciplines such as maths, motor skills and languages.
“Music is like reading a foreign language. In the US we scanned musicians and when they read a new piece of music, the activity literally lit up the whole brain.”
Sixth former Matthew Calvert, who secured a music scholarship at the school and hopes to study the subject at university, is one of the students who is already benefiting from the world-class instrument.
The 18-year-old from Durham City said: “I started playing when I was six on a beaten up upright that we inherited into the family.
“The Steinway is incredible; it is just so precise. You feel so much more in touch with the music because you can feel it through the keys, which are so balanced.
“On the one hand it has such a delicate touch and at the other end of the spectrum it is so powerful; the extremes are absolutely amazing and it inspires you to play better.”