Leicester First Access
Posted: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 11:56
De Montfort Hall, Leicester - June 2013
First Access is part of the national strategy for whole-class music tuition, and Leicester-Shire Music Hub were keen to find a way of inspiring early stage musicians by working and performing alongside professional musicians from Sinfonia Viva. The aim of the project was to develop the creative skills of the participants, to encourage them to engage with the Music Hub through lessons and ensembles, and to widen the offer currently given to schools by the Hub. It was also an opportunity to develop the skills of both Hub and Viva musicians, who were able to work together on the project.
Led by composer and saxophonist John Miles, assisted by Sinfonia Viva musicians Helen Bywater (clarinet) and Rosie Toll (percussion), the project consisted of two workshops with six different groups from primary schools in the Leicestershire area – over 160 young musicians took part. Participants played a number of different instruments as part of their whole-class lessons, including trumpets, trombones, clarinets and djembe drums. Taking inspiration from a wide range of musical styles – including African djembe rhythms, Iranian folk melodies and jazz – each group devised a short piece using the notes and patterns that they could already play.
The workshops were aimed at developing the participant's creative skills through structured improvisation, creating melody lines, accompaniments and structuring each piece. Some of the more advanced players were also encouraged to take improvised solos as part of the final performance, and to interact musically with the workshop team.
The culmination performance took place at The DeMontford Hall, as part of the LeicesterShire Music Hub end of term concerts. Each group performed their devised work in turn, and the performance was finished off with all the young musicians playing the carnival-styled 'Jambo'.
"The children responded really well to the more creative elements of the workshops … John was an inspiring leader!" (Musician, Sinfonia Viva)
"This is the kind of thing every child learning an instrument should be able to experience." (Jan Ford, Orchestras Live)