A trio of talented musicians gave life lessons to Portland students.

The Weymouth blues musicians helped to contextualise learning about civil rights and the power of protest for Atlantic Academy pupils.

Simon Carruthers, Paul Sharod and Chris Coombs, left pupils at Atlantic Academy Portland marvelling at their ability and inspired them to think about music from a new perspective.

The session was organised as part of a year 8 project designed to explore issues around civil rights, protest, the slave trade and the blues.

Atlantic Academy Portland students watch blues musicians play

The aim was to show how different subjects music, English, history and art link together to provide a more in-depth understanding about a particular period in time and the social movements that were taking place.

This assignment was part of the school’s unique ‘No Limits Curriculum’ which is taught to students in years 7 and 8 and incorporates applied transdisciplinary learning. This involves combining different curriculum subjects to help put learning into context. All ATL assignments are launched with a ‘wow’ event designed to get pupils excited about learning.

English teacher and ATL specialist Natasha Hamilton organised the blues session, which also saw students get up on stage for a jamming session with the musicians. She told the Dorset Echo: “Simon, Paul and Chris discussed how they got into music and what inspired them and what it does for their soul, wellbeing and sense of self.

“The students enjoyed asking them questions, got involved in a jamming session with them and one of our year 8 pupils also sang with them.

“The reason for the session was to look at how music has always been used as a means of expression, the history of blues music and its links to the slave trade in America.

“The students found it really enjoyable and they were awestruck to see people playing so well and they were able to see the power of expressing yourself through music.’’

Student Carter Brewer said: “The launch event was an amazing experience for me and I feel I can speak for a lot there. Hearing and seeing all the musicians and students go up and let out their feelings in instruments was amazing.”

Musician Chris Coombs

Musician Simon Carruthers

Musician Paul Sharod