A string to everyone’s bow as course is a huge success – written by Jim Brock @Inspiring Music
Electric. That was the opinion of last weekend’s Bedfordshire Music Trust’s String Course, open to students from across Bedfordshire and held at Alameda Middle School, Ampthill.
It saw 12 children immersing themselves in everything from baroque music to contemporary artists like Taio Cruz.
And it was also a first chance to try out the new electrical violins, cellos and violas which the Inspiring Music Education Hub has recently bought.
Led by Bedfordshire Music Trust tutors Jenny Brown, Julian Pentz, Georgina Murphy and Ben Garraway, the young participants went on a musical journey which involved everything from ball bouncing to Dalcroze and baroque music to pop, reggae-style and folk rock music.
Jenny said: “We used balls to find the first beat of the bar, scarves to juggle and learnt pieces by ear and from notation.
“We learnt how to tackle chord symbols to make accompaniments and other parts. We played samba on percussion instruments and then orchestrated it to include our string instruments and singing – complete with audience participation.
“We learnt about binary form, playing for dancing and thinking more about how to play as a chamber group. We also spent some time thinking about how our bow makes the rhythm, and using this to play a section of a Purcell Chaconne with baroque bowing style.”
Susan Cox, Head of Inspiring Music, added: “It was a truly amazing event and fantastic for the children to be able to immerse themselves in music and use so many different skill sets.
“ This was a new course offered by The Trust, one which allowed the children to benefit from a carousel of different activities, the children even took part in a Stomp-style samba workshop and then incorporated that with strings when they played an Ed Sheeran song to close the concert.
“Children and parents were saying that it was one of the best string courses ever and they wished it could have lasted longer, which is always brilliant to hear.”
That was backed up by parent Ruth Hutchison, whose daughter Eleanor took part in the course.
She said: “Eleanor thoroughly enjoyed it, even saying to me ‘I wish it wasn’t just two days, as there’s so much more to explore’.
“She isn’t a big fan of classical music, and after going to concert orchestra once, wasn’t keen to return. However, the variety of styles offered on this course, along with the different learning opportunities, was something that she really engaged with and benefitted from. “It was also great to drop the concert dress thing – always seems so stuffy and unnecessary. I personally think that having a more relaxed approach makes music all the more accessible to more people.”
Inspiring Music is hugely grateful to Bedfordshire Music Trust for the quality of the holiday courses offers and highly recommends that all young musicians find out more about their music offer.