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HMS Music Director

Ben Stevens

Leadership Team for Herts Music Service

Lisa Quinlan-Rahman
Ben Stevens
Vicki Roberts
Michael Mabbitt
Katherine Wolfenden
Deena Day
Angela Gilby
Rebecca Kelly
Nick Denham

Count Us In, Hertfordshire! 2009-2010  

 Inspiring students’ experience of learning through music 
"I felt overwhelmed during and after….It felt really great, it was a dream coming true."
(Year 7 pupil after COUNT US IN Challenge Day)


Count Us In Hertfordshire was one of five national Music Partnership Programmes, funded by the Department for Education, and delivered by Hertfordshire Music Service, Orchestras Live and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Nine secondary schools in Hertfordshire were identified to receive this programme.  

  • Embedding music into the ‘raising aspirations and achievement’ strategy of a local authority by supporting primary to secondary transition in specific schools. Providing positive images of the school for prospective parents and visitors.
  • Improving engagement in Year 7 and raising the profile of the music department within the school and its consortium.
  • Establishing creative ensembles focused on Year 7 students that have either stopped playing their instruments or who want to start a new musical instrument
  • Schools added an additional educational focus of their ensembles, including: 

                          - tackling attendance and commitment issues in a group of Free School Meal students
                          - stretching gifted and talented musician
                          - building confidence in the experience of school for pupils with mild SEN
                          - working with a whole year group on a common creative programme   

  • Putting performance at the centre of learning to create music – local performances with RPO and HMS players built to bringing separate schools together as a massed ensemble performance in November 2010.
  • Teachers have seen students' engagement in other subject areas improve as a result of participation in these new school ensembles.
  • "On a fantastic note, I have already had one parent phone and thank me for pushing her child who was a bit worried as he has done nothing but play his instrument over the weekend and he hasn't done this for a while…  He told everyone about the project and playing with "the Royal orchestra" as he put it. It was lovely to see him so full of it."
    Head of Music, COUNT US IN School   



More than 230 students actively involved


154 sessions/workshops completed


3 outreach programmes (Stevenage, Waltham Cross and Hemel Hempstead)


5 performance days, with over 1000 audience members


It has been a tremendous opportunity for Hertfordshire to be able to involve the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the life of these schools for a year. Count Us In has been the most substantial programme Hertfordshire Music Service, the RPO and Orchestras Live have undertaken to date.

The Executive Summary of the evaluation report on the programme by Dr Nick Owen of the Aspire Trust is available here.


"Aisha has been playing violin for 6 years… this project has helped her meet new people in different years, she’s made friends - a bonus for her in year 7 – and its been good for her musical abilities.  We used to live in another borough and we used to fall asleep some times in their concerts but we didn’t tonight, there was lots of energy!"
Parent of pupil, COUNT US IN School

If you would like more information on Count Us In, please contact: 

Nick Denham at Hertfordshire Music Service on 0777 622 5832 or


Our Partners


RPO resound is one of the most diverse community and education programmes in the UK. 
Please see the latest newsletter from the RPO's Resound team here, featuring details of Hertfordshire projects [see attached file]


Orchestras Live's mission is to inspire, motivate and empower the widest range of people through excellent live orchestral music.



The Department for Education is  responsible for education and children’s services.