Codi'r To is a community regeneration project that brings the world-renowned El Sistema teaching method to North Wales. We work in two schools, Ysgol Maesincla in Caernarfon, and Ysgol Glancegin in Bangor.
Professional music tutors work in the schools leading activities and lessons, giving children the opportunity to learn to play brass and percussion instruments. They also make connections with the families and the neighbourhood surrounding the schools by bringing live music to the community and giving opportunities for the pupils to perform in public.
The aim of Codi'r To is to transform lives through music. It is a community development project that aims to improve the lives of individuals and families, by working in primary schools to give new experiences through musical tutoring.
The children take part in weekly Codi’r To sessions. Starting in Nursery, there is an opportunity for the pupils to sing, use their imagination and move to the music. In Year 3, the pupils learn to play a musical instrument and be part of an instrumental ensemble and the Samba band.
There is an opportunity for former Ysgol Maesincla pupils to take part in the Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen Codi’r To Samba Band and former Glancegin pupils enjoy the after-school band.
Codi’r To tutors encourage pupils to believe in their own abilities and recognise their own potential, to raise levels of confidence, aspiration, pride and happiness.
Pupils develop life skills such as problem solving, creativity, decision making, self-discipline, leadership skills and perseverance. They foster social skills, co-operation, group work, respect for others, communicate and make new friends.
Codi’r To support the schools to raise educational levels of attainment. Improving focusing, listening, following instructions, language development, numeracy, attendance and educational outcomes.
The inspiration of the El Sistema programme has its origins in Venezuela but also from programmes that use similar methods, such as the Big Noise in Scotland and In Harmony in England.
The project was developed by a Steering Group representing arts, community and education interests in Gwynedd who came together because they wanted to apply the distinctive El Sistema approach in a Welsh cultural context. The original Steering Group had representatives from Cwmni Cofis Bach, Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias and Gwasanaeth Ysgolion William Mathias.
The project is delivered primarily through the medium of Welsh language and culture, one of only a handful of projects delivered through a minority language.
In November 2014 Sistema Cymru – Codi'r To was added to the Register of Charities.
Codi'r To is being evaluated by Bangor University to provide evidence of the extent to which the project achieves its aims and objectives, and to assess the impact on the young people, the schools and the community response.
This project is backed by The Arts Council of Wales, Communities First, Gwynedd County Council, Children in Need, North and Mid Wales Reaching Wider Partnership, Widening Access Centre, Bangor University, Steve Morgan Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, People’s Postcode Lottery, Garfield Weston, Big Lottery Fund, Ysgol Maesincla, and Ysgol Glancegin.