PRIMARY school children have been unleashing their musical potential with the help of older students on Portland.

An innovative music project has begun at Southwell Primary School, Underhill Junior School and St George’s Primary School with the aim of preparing for a performance ahead of the 2012 Games.

Twelve Royal Manor students, all part of the Portland Rocks music club, have been working in groups of four as young leaders, assisting vocal tutors from Dorset Music Services.

First stop was Southwell Primary, where youngsters found new rhythms and Olympic-themed song ideas using xylophones, keyboards and glockenspiels.

Year Five teacher Natalie Hilton said: “They came in assisting the vocal coach who was leading the session.

“The pupils from Royal Manor were really helpful, they set out equipment and organised the instruments that had been brought in for the younger children to work with. Jan, the vocal coach, went through a few songs and rhythm patterns then the children had to think of their own lyrics around the Olympic sports of swimming or running.

“The Royal Manor pupils worked with small groups as well as the adults. The Year Fives really enjoyed the session, they really enjoyed working with the older children.”

The scheme also proved to be a success at Underhill and St George’s and a couple more sessions are expected to take place before the Easter holiday.

Two Year Six children from St George’s, Sophie Mullender, 10, and Robert Thomson, 10, both Portland Rocks members, had the honour of helping the older children to assist at their school.

Helen Mullender, project manager for the scheme at St George’s, said: “It’s all part of the Chesil Cultural Olympiad.

“There’s 17 schools in Weymouth and Portland doing it in the lead up to the Olympics. The main aim is to put on a performance of some kind involving the children and songs written by composer Geoff Edge, who is working with them.”

Martyn Mullender, project manager of Portland Rocks and head of music at Royal Manor, said: “All this group are working towards their level two arts award by assisting as young leaders.

“There’s about 12 Royal Manor students involved, plus my daughter Sophie and Robert from St George’s. Four different children went to each school for the first time, working with the vocal tutor from Dorset Music Services. The tutors work with children in schools within the Chesil Education Partnership in Weymouth and Portland, teaching them songs and composing.”