Sarah Baker

I am passionate about music and arts education and believe that the performing arts uniquely support children’s educational success and achievement. I love music from many genres and write music to encourage and support learning, as well as to simply listen to and enjoy.

I specialise in conducting and leading choirs with particular expertise in Key Stages 1 and 2 and have worked in many schools in Birmingham in a broad variety of social and cultural contexts since 1996.

I have a thriving private piano teaching business, with pupils from six years to mature adults, from beginners to diploma level. This includes teaching theory and aural at all levels and working as an examiner for ABRSM. I also regularly accompany candidates for instrumental exams and organise biannual student concerts.

I am the Vocal Composer in Residence for Services for Education Music Services and compose songs and musicals for primary schools and massed-choral events. I have also worked extensively on compositions and arrangements for pre-school music and movement classes, producing the curriculum CDs for Musicshakers.

Work

  • Vocal Composer in Residence, Services for Education Music Services
  • Examiner for ABRSM
  • Composer, producer and arranger
  • Peripatetic and classroom music teacher
  • Conductor, primary and secondary school choirs
  • Tutor, Birmingham Schools Singers
  • Piano and vocal specialist teaching, including theory
  • Accompanist

Publications and Commissions

2020

  • Superhero!
  • Connecting
    • Two instrumental pieces to provide a framework for classroom composition work, commissioned by West Midlands Music. These pieces were written specifically for use in the classroom post Covid-19 lockdown, to ensure that composition could take place in an environment where singing and shared instrumental work could be difficult. The pieces are clearly structured and provided with a detailed plan of what could be added/improvised by pupils in the classroom.
  • Change The World Together
    • Published by Starshine Music, this highly relevant, heart-warming and entertaining musical captures the spirit of the times, being about a young person determined to make a difference in the face of climate change.
  • Jesus Shalom
    • Bespoke instrumental theme for Anvil Trust podcast
  • Hey You! Many Voices Sing As One
    • An instrumental and choral piece commissioned by Services For Education Music Service for the Youth Proms 50th birthday celebrations at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2020. The piece was written for 700 young people, both instrumentalists and singers, and took the theme of a journey through Birmingham to highlight the different ensembles and music making that SFE young people do within the city. Unfortunately Covid-19 meant that the piece has yet to be performed, but we are hopeful that it will be used at a later date.

2019

  • Croak!
    • Speedy the Tadpole longs to sing with the froggy chorus and discovers that we can all do something when we try. A musical inspired by childhood memories of pond watching and summer evenings in the garden.
  • Sing A Celebration!
    • A collection of 12 original songs in parts for 7-13s. The songs are inspired by seasonal themes and singing in community.
  • Give Someone A Smile
    • Song written for SFE’s Primary Choirs for the Prom celebration concerts at Symphony Hall in July. The song was inspired by Birmingham’s Permission To Smile campaign.
  • People I Know
  • Songsenses
    • These booklets are the first in a number of song collections for SoundTots, the SFE’s pioneering music programme for Early Years. The songs are simple to learn and with opportunity for children to add their own ideas, supporting language development and communication skills.
  • Bournville Village Primary school song
    • A bespoke song to celebrate the combining of the infant and junior schools in Bournville Village.
  • Vocal Workshops for PWC
    • Delivery of a series of vocal workshops for the senior leadership team at PWC, Birmingham, as a team building experience.

2018

  • Flutterpillar
    • A dream comes true for one little caterpillar. A summer musical for 4-7 years.
  • Dreaming
    • Song in two parts for the Primary Choir at the SFE Youth Proms at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
  • There Is A Stream
    • Choral song, written for Alvechurch Community Choir to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One.

2017

2016

  • Breaking News In Bethlehem!
  • Arts Mark Pollination Project
    • Delivery and planning of a series of 10 composition workshops at Bournville Primary School for year 5 pupils, leading to an Arts Mark Award.
  • Red Carpet
    • Song for the Primary Choir at the SFE Youth Proms at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

2015

2014

  • Metamorphosis and Easter’s Coming!
  • Prince of Peace and Give A Little Love
  • Magical Christmas Journey
    • A Christmas Nativity Musical published by Starshine Music.
  • Together and I Will Sing A Song
    • Commissioned by the West Midlands Singing Consortium for use in February 2014 for Music Mark Midlands Singing day

2010 -2015

2013

2012

  • Celebrate!
    • I established my account on Tes.com this year with a song written specifically for the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations. Since then I have added over 50 resources for use by the teaching community.

Biography

Bakertunes is a growing collection of music composed by Sarah Baker.

Music has been in my family for many generations.

My great-grandmother was a pianist for black and white movies and my grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents, cousins, brothers and sister all sing or play an instrument.

I started composing when I was about eight, having had piano lessons for a couple of years. I still remember my first piece now, based on a broken chord pattern and repetitive melody. Many hours of my childhood was spent playing duets with a friend, and then as a young teenager I started to write songs that I often sang in our local church services.

My first experience of recording for film came when I was sixteen. My Dad had made an animated video that was published by the Bible Society and I did all the background music and songs on a keyboard in one of our bedrooms at home. I loved the creativity and was totally absorbed in it all.

From 1991-1994 I took a Bmus degree at Birmingham University and studied piano with Alison Pottinger at the Birmingham Conservatoire. During these three years I specialised in performance, electronic composition and orchestration, going on to do a Masters in Performance Studies at the Birmingham Conservatoire from 1995-1997. During this time I performed in master classes, including those with Peter Donohoe and Philip Martin, and was a finalist in several competitions.

I have now worked in music education for over twenty years and have gradually developed my skills as a songwriter and arranger. The Music Shakers CD project was a great opportunity to try new styles and technologies, and I am really pleased to have worked with Starshine Music, Out of The Ark Music and Edgy Productions more recently.

I became Vocal Composer in Residence for Services for Education Music Services in 2012. Since then I have received commissions and regularly write songs for the Primary Choir which sings in the end of year Youth Prom concerts at Symphony Hall. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear over five hundred children singing together in one of the UK’s best concert venues.

And I seem to have come full circle recently in returning to the piano and writing new material for my pupils. The improvising never stopped but I have recently discovered real enjoyment in formalising the ideas and setting them in a score which can then be passed on to others. My pieces are intended to be played by pupils who want pieces of music that are easily accessible and in a contemporary style. I hope the videos give an idea of the way the music should be performed and my notes on the inspiration behind the music are informative and enjoyable to read.

It is a privilege to be a musician and to be able to share my music with others in so many different ways. I hope you enjoy exploring the site and listening to my music.