Pirates and partnerships – the hub and music groups

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Last Wednesday (24 July), I spent the morning with 150 young musicians and some very special guests at Downfield School, Stroud. It was the annual county Summer Music Course – this year organised by the Cotswold Music Tutors.  Over 130 young musicians had signed up to the full week, but this day was especially exciting.

In association with Gloucestershire Music, the Cotswold Music Tutors had organised for four members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) to work closely with the course participants. The students worked alongside the course tutors and guest professional musicians to practice and then perform music from the film, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ – some of the staff and students had also dressed up as pirates for extra effect.  As well members and staff of Cotswold Music Tutors’ groups, we also welcomed 30 young players from around Gloucestershire, making an impressive orchestra of over 150 young people.

This is just one example of how Make Music Gloucestershire, the county’s music education hub, is working.  The hub is in essence, a network of organisations and individuals who are dedicated to providing quality musical experiences for young people.  This event shows how Gloucestershire Music, the Cotswold Music Tutors and the BSO worked in partnership to provide an inspirational workshop for young musicians.

Making music in a group – an essential part of a musician’s experience

Our own out-of-school groups and ensembles, based at our seven music centres, are a critical part of our work, and an important part of the hub’s overall offer to young people.

Learning an instrument in school is one thing, but the skills a musician gains from making music in a group are an important part of their progression – in music, and as people.

We’re keen for more children and young people to benefit from out of school music-making, so from the late summer there will be a massive drive to fill all of our places at our area and county music groups, and to promote the groups and centres run by our colleagues across the county.

One of the ways we’re doing this is through our new ‘Make Music Wizard’ search tool where you can search for, or add, making and learning opportunities from music tutors to workshops to studios, by location, instrument and other categories.

To encourage beginners, we’re also offering free beginners music groups in five of our seven music centres for students in years 4,5 and 6. This means they can receive 20 free group lessons at a centre near them.  In addition they will also be able to attend a free two-day music course where they can try our violins, clarinets and trumpets to find an instrument they enjoy playing and is most suited to them.

Pathways for young people, from local groups to national stages

We’ll continue to raise the quality of music making at a county level through our county youth orchestras, bands and jazz centre. These are the groups for more advanced players, which, along with some of our area groups, have had success at many national festivals. This will continue to be a central part of our pathways for young people, allowing them to perform at major venues throughout the UK, as well as experience and listen to other youth groups from around the country.

Most importantly, we’ll continue to help and support others in the county who are offering similar opportunities, and to explore more ways for young people to get involved in music.

If you can help, let us know! Do signpost people to the music groups webpages and the Make Music Wizard, and if you can distribute some leaflets to young people you have contact with, email us.

Steve Legge, Assistant Head of Gloucestershire Music

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Posted on July 30, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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