Category: TAMC (page 1 of 2)

TAMC Head to the Albert Hall!

Thornbury Area Music Centre choir are heading to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

It’s not the Proms, but ‘The Scratch Youth Messiah’. Alongside youth choirs from across the country, TAMC membes will be performing Handel’s Messiah, from scratch (ie, without prior rehearsal!). There will bea chance to learn the music at TAMC, of course, but hundreds of musicians will converge on the Albert Hall for a special, one-off performance.

The organisers, Really Big Chorus, have written:

Winner of ‘Best Classical Music Education Initiative’ in the 2015 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, the Scratch Youth Messiah was launched in 2013 and is a stress-free and enjoyable way to introduce young singers (under 25s) to the most famous choral work in the UK choral tradition. A unique formula allows choirs to sing as much as they can comfortably manage and listen to other young choirs singing the rest, with the backing of a professional orchestra and soloists.

The basic requirement is that you sing just three core choruses: ‘And the glory of the Lord’, ‘Hallelujah’ and the final ‘Amen’. After that you can sing as much as you feel able to. Learn the music in your own time, then join others on the day at the Royal Albert Hall for a morning rehearsal and a thrilling afternoon performance.

The Scratch Youth Messiah is organised by ‘Concerts from Scratch’, the team behind Really Big Chorus, with more than 40 years’ experience of promoting large-scale choral concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, notably our flagship event, Messiah from Scratch.


Let’s Play Scheme Big Concert!

Wow, what a year it’s been for the Let’s Play scheme. It seems like we’ve only just started (the first classes were in January) and they’ve reached the end of the year.

But we’ve certainly packed in a lot. In March the students made their first public appearance with great enthusiasm. At Thornbury Baptist Church parents were given short demonstrations and performances, led by the children, on clarineos, flutes, pbones and violins (you can find out more by clicking the link). Then, just a few weeks ago the pbone students were treated to a masterclass from the brilliant Bone Appetit Trombone quartet from Wales.

What do the classes involve? The 45 minute sessions are group lessons which feature clapping, rhythm, call-and-response games, warm-up techniques as well as instruction on the instruments themselves. After two terms of tuition the various groups had made excellent progress. The trombones were marching around the playground whilst playing, the violins were playing confidently with 1st fingers and the bow, whilst the clarinets and flutes had learnt a number of tunes and their G-major scale. All of the work is backed-up by online music resources, including backing tracks to help the children work at home between sessions.



Their performance at the TAMC concert on the 11th July at Castle School was a fantastic showcase. The violins began the concert, first with a sparkling performance of the ‘Wallace and Grommit Theme’ (a favourite with the group), and followed this with ‘Here it comes’ – a piece featuring the first finger in the left hand and some specially-devised food-based rhythms in the middle section. The trombones then made a surprise entrance from the back of the room, marching in to their ‘Hot Cross Bones’. Taking their colourful instruments to the stage, they wowed the audience with ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ as well as a piece played as a round. The last group showcased was the woodwind group. Having learned a whole octave of notes, the players had been working in smaller groups, so quartets and quintets of players took it in turns to perform well-known tunes such as ‘Ode to Joy’ and ‘London Bridge’ with confidence and projection. Well done to everyone.

Then the Grand Finale – ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen! WIth the Let’s Play pupils onstage, and the TAMC Intermediate Orchestra on the floor before them, they joined forces for a spectacularly enthusiastic performance.


Dury Loveridge, one of the tutors and creators of the course said, ‘When we devised the Let’s Play programme last September we could only have dreamed of how much it has come to achieve. Every pupil has thrown themselves into learning their instrument with such dedication and enthusiasm, and what they have accomplished is truly remarkable. They were all beaming with pride at the end of the performance, and TAYM has started a whole new generation of young musicians on their musical journey’.

Around 90% of the children who took part have already signed-up to continue in September (2 of them have moved into the TAMC groups already). The new course, ‘Let’s Play Plus’ will see the groups continue their instrumental classes alongside playing with the Intermediate Orchestra (with coaches giving them extra help in the orchestra). The clarineos will graduate on to clarinets in September too, giving them a chance to really work on their sound on a full-sized instrument.

September will see a new intake of Let’s Play pupils starting too. Classes will be on clarineos, pbones and violins on Saturday mornings at Marlwood School, as part of the Thornbury Area Junior Music Centre. They are a fantastic and affordable way for young children to start learning a musical instrument and places are filling fast. You can find out more on the TAYM website by clicking here>>>




Young Musicians take to the stage after just a few lessons!

As we enter the second term of lessons for our Let’s Play! students, it seems timely to mention what they’ve achieved so far.

Around 50 young budding musicians are taking part in the scheme, playing trombone, clarinet, flute and violin. Each week they meet for 45 minute sessions focussing on instrumental technique, rhythm and pitch games and exercises and other fun musical activities.

Just before the Easter break, with lesson numbers yet to make it to double figures, they performed in their first concert. In a smaller side venue at Thornbury Baptist church, around 50% of the students taking part arrived, in concert dress, to show parents and onlookers just what they’d been up to.

First up were the woodwind players. The flutes and clarinets combine to form a wind ‘super group’. There were demonstrations of the ’12-second’ and ’16-second’ warm-ups which the players are encouraged to do daily to improve their breathing and sound production. The audience were then treated to a 12-bar blues piece followed by a duet – with the flutes and clarinets alternating parts.

Next up were the trombones. With some very capable presentations by the young players on how their instruments worked (or perhaps better termed, ‘come apart’!), the children stepped forward and showed the various warm-up games that they do on Saturdays. They played a couple of pieces, ending with ‘hot cross bones’.


Finally the violinists closed the concert. There were performances of ‘supercalifragalisticexpealidocious’, a calm rendition of ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ and a rousing blues piece – all played with the bow.

It really was fantastic to see so many young players beginning their instrumental lessons with Thornbury Area Youth Music. Most have been making great use of the online resources, including backing tracks to perform at home. All of the children were on a high after the concert, buzzing (quite literally in the case of the trombones!) with enthusiasm, which is a testament to the work of tutors Chris, Sarah and Dury.

As one parent put it, “the children absolutely love it, with the enthusiasm of the tutors shining through”.

Thornbury Music Centre – Open morning

Play a musical instrument?

Want to?

Put those skills and that enthusiasm to good use at one of the many groups offered at Thornbury Area Music Centre.

Saturday April 18th 2015 from 9:30am

Marlwood School, Alveston, Thornbury

Who’s it for?
TAMC has windbands, string ensembles and orchestras, and it’s for anyone who plays an orchestral instrument (wind, strings, brass, percussion) to any level – whether you can only play three notes or have taken your grade 8.
TAJMC is for younger children aged 4-7 who want to learn about music in one of the three classes.

Do I need to book?
No – Just turn up on the day. If you’d like to know more about what TAMC and TAJMC have to offer you can email us at

Music for Youth Cheltenham Festival 2015

On Sunday 8th March we went to Cheltenham to perform at Music for Youth’s 2015 festival. The Training Orchestra and Cello Quartet both performed brilliantly! Congratulations and thank you for all of your hard work!

We saw other groups perform and played the pieces we had prepared. Our performance was adjudicated and some of the adjudicator’s comments were:

Holst – Mars
This was a really good arrangement and you made a good job of it. Your performance really grew in stature as you went on. Next time you play it, keep counting those crotchets...”

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The music was marked ‘Lively’ and it certainly was! You had a good crisp approach taking care over the changing rhythm and it sounded bright and fun – Well Done! Next time you play it – if you have the tune play a bit louder and when you don’t – play quieter!”

Suggestions for Development
Keep going – you are a musical bunch with huge potential. You’ll get even more confident if you really watch your conductor and count vigorously (especially during long notes).”


Training OrchestraCellos


The musicians said:

“It was my first big performance and I was tense but I got in the rhythm of it and enjoyed myself”

“Thank you for teaching us”

“Thank you very much for teaching me new notes and music. I really have enjoyed it”

“I liked it very much and enjoyed the performances”

“I really enjoyed playing on a big stage and enjoyed playing Mars”

“It was my first time and I enjoyed it lots”

“We really enjoyed performing as a group for the first time” (Cellos)


Well done everyone – thank you for your great performances!

‘Let’s Play!’ off to a fantastic start

Saturday January 24th saw the start of something momentous for the trust – with around 50 children arriving at Thornbury Area Music Centre for the very first session of the new ‘Let’s Play!’ scheme. The scheme sees young children taking their first steps on a musical journey, with the opportunity to learn either the flute, clarinet, trombone or violin. Players are loaned an instrument for the time they are enrolled in the classes, and take it away each week to practice new pieces or techniques. What’s more, they get the chance to see where they are aiming for each week as the orchestras, string ensembles, wind bands and other groups take place around them at Marlwood School.

So how have they been getting on?

The flutes and the clarinets have made an amazing start. The clarinets are light-weight and in c, which means they can learn the same notes as the flutes making for a great sound. By learning together the clarinettists can learn about the flute too, and vice versa. Week one was spent learning about the instruments, how they work and the basics of how to make a sound, but by week two there was no stopping them! Each young musician is playing with confidence already, and we’ve they’ve already learned the notes A & B, including a performance of a piece called ‘Witches Brew’ led by a few of the children taking it in turns to ‘be the teacher’ or leader.

learning an instrument in South Gloucestershire - Let's Play!

The flutes and clarinets getting to know their colourful instruments!

Next door the trombones have been getting to grips with their fantastically coloured instruments. They’re learning a version of the trombone called the ‘pbone’. It is a (virtually) indestructible  plastic version of the trombone. It works and sounds just like a real trombone. Week one was spent playing fun warm-ups and learning the basics of how to produce a sound. Their tutor Chris was over-whelmed with how well they all did, and sends a weekly emails to parents letting them know what their young musicians have been up to and what they can expect next week. By week 2 they were all playing the note f with a teddy bear (their favourite from home) helping them with their posture and breathing!

learn music in South Glos with Thornbury area music

The triumphant trombones with their tutor, Chris

And let’s not forget the violin class. Some pupils have their own instruments, but most a being loaned an instrument from the trust.  Each of the players has learned the basics of posture, and by week one they were already singing and playing a song about the zoo animals to help them remember their open string names. By week two they had mastered a special version of Supercalifragilisticexpealidoscious! They have also mastered the art of standing posture for when they ‘perform’, and there seem to be a few budding teachers and team-leaders in there too as they count the group in!

learning violin in south glos with thornbury area music

The violins in week one learning the ‘Zoo’ song!

It really is a great thing to see so many young people arriving so enthusiastically with their instruments on a Saturday at Marlwood, and to see the trust inspiring a new generation of young musicians from South Gloucestershire as they embark on their musical journey. Some keen-eyed readers may have noticed the subtle rebranding of the trust’s logo and website over the last few weeks, as we change the TAMT name to ‘Thornbury Area Youth Music’ – a name more befitting an organisation now running instrumental classes, a flourishing music centre, junior music activities, and a youth orchestra for more than 150 children ranging from ages 4-18!


Summer Concert 2014

Sunday 6th July saw the end of term concert – a celebration of achievements at music centre.  We were treated to an exciting mix of everything from classical Bach through 1960’s R&B to 1990’s Brit-pop!

The Junior Music Centre sang and played recorders beautifully, we heard Indian Warrior and Kites on Recorders and Music Man and The Sun Has Got His Hat On from joint Recorders, Foundation and Music Maker groups.

The Junior Wind Band played The Sun Has Got His Hat On (R Butler and N Gay, arr. T Monday) and The Entertainer (Scott Joplin, arr. T Monday) which sounded great and really got feet tapping! This was followed by the Junior String Orchestra playing Trumpet Tune (Purcell, arr. Watson Forbes), “Landler” from First Suite for Strings (Christopher Wiggins) and Cakewalk (Catherine and Hugh Colledge).  The Junior Orchestra gave a confident and hugely enjoyable performance of Waltzing Matilda (Traditional, arr. Terry Catherine), Minuet (Haydn, arr. T Monday and J Lewis) and Bare Necessities (Terry Gillkyson, arr. T Monday).

Two of our small ensembles performed pieces they have been working on.  Dance of the Cygnets (Tchaikovsky) and Let Her Go (Passenger, arr. K Robey).  These were very well received and a credit to the hard work of the musicians involved.

Before the interval, the Choir sang a great version of (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (C Smith, R Milner and G Jackson, arr. M De-Lisser).  The three soloists sang brilliantly and it really was an uplifting end to the first half!

With everyone refreshed after the interval, the Senior Wind Band, Senior Strings and Senior Orchestra performed.  The Senior Strings sounded fabulous and gave us The Universal (Blur, arr. S Turner), Andante Festivo (Sibelius) and Stand by Me (Ben E King, arr. K Robey).  The equally fabulous Senior Wind brought us performances of You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman, arr. John Higgins) and a very enthusiastic performance of Tequila (Daniel Flores, arr. Paul Lavender) – complete with brilliant solos and audience participation (“TEQUILA!”).

The Senior Orchestra performed Sleeper Awake (Bach, arr. Jerry Brubaker), Ravel’s Bolero (getting everyone in the mood for the upcoming Paris tour) and Mamma Mia (an ABBA medley arr. Roy Phillippe) bringing the evening to a suitably upbeat end!

Summer Concert 2014

Special thanks have to go to the team of brilliant volunteers setting up & packing away, manning the desk, running the raffle, serving refreshments and helping the evening run smoothly.  A big congratulation goes to all of the performers and tutors.  Thanks also to the trustees and our sponsors, Quartet Foundation, Thornbury Round Table, Thornbury Rotary, Thornbury Town Council, Renishaw, Thornbury Tesco, John Lewis Music Matters and Co-operative Community Fund.

First music centre after the summer holidays is Saturday 13th September.

Looking forward to next term!!

News from the Junior Music Centre

Can you guess which song the Juniors were learning this week…?


Early Years at TAJMC learn about strings

What a morning for the Early years groups this morning – getting to know the String family of instruments – the cellos and the basses were getting a lot of attention!

strings1 strings2 strings3

Junior Music Centre progression

The Trustees and tutors of TAMT have been thrilled with how the children attending the Junior Music Centre (TAJMC) have been developing over the past terms. We have taken on a second tutor to enable us to cater for the growing numbers enrolling and this also will allow us to provide additional parallel sessions for those children who are progressing quickly. At some point, the children will be encouraged to move groups to allow them to continue their learning at a suitable pace. These transitions will take place at a suitably identified time in consultation between the tutor and parent/carer. Our aim is that their musical journey through TAJMC will hopefully lead to the children starting music lessons in an instrument of their choice and eventually joining TAMC.

TAMC in local Gazette

Click here to view the article>>>

TAMC Opens its doors to new members!

Saturday January 18th was the TAMC Open morning. It was great to see so many young players coming along to see the great things happening at Thornbury Area Music Centre on Saturday morning. The Junior Wind is now a sea of young flautists and clarinetists!

It was great to have local MP Steve Webb join us again – complete with his oboe. He later tweeted, ‘Great to see Thornbury Area Music Trust thriving when I visited at the weekend – not sure whether the rusty oboist who joined for the morning added much though!”

If you missed the open day, it’s not to late to join TAMC. Just come along with your instrument to Marlwood School at 9.30am on a Saturday. There’s some great repertoire this term, including Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin” and the best of GreenDay!

We’re off to a Music for Youth Festival!

Taking part in Music for Youth Events is part of the core of all TAMT activities. This includes out Britten Project with the SCYO

We’re taking part in the Music for Youth Regional Festival in Cheltenham. All players should have had information on this by now. The South Cotswold Youth Orchestra will be playing on Saturday March 15th. All TAMC players will be performing on Sunday March 16th.

The Cheltenham Festival is this year taking place at Cheltenham Town Hall, and is a great opportunity for players to watch groups and peers from neighbouring areas, and is a highlight of the year!

There is more information on the Music for Youth Website

Look out for the new TAMT publicity

The new TAMT posters, postcards and other marketing materials have been distributed in the last few weeks. They should be appearing in schools, shops, libraries and other public places near you. You can view them using the links below. If you can think of a place where we haven’t yet placed them, then please let us know.

TAMT – One year on

It was September 15th 2012 when the first official TAMT activity took place. It would be fair to say both the staff, parents and players themselves were surprised when on the first morning over 80 players arrived at Marlwood School – well above the numbers of the previous Summer’s term.

There was a lot of preparation that took place to get the musical activities that far, but since then the developments have just continued. TAMT is now a registered charity, with support coming in from across the community, including John Lewis, the Coop, Renishaw, The Quartet Foundation, Thornbury Town Council, Thornbury Round Table to name just a few.

With the Trust about to enter its second year, it seemed a good chance to see what has happened:

TAMC – The Thornbury Area Music Centre has seen its numbers almost double, with membership now in 3 figures. Every Saturday morning young musicians from 7-`18 come to Marlwood School and perform in the orchestras, wind bands and string groups. A number of children are now working their way towards Grade 5 music theory and musicianship. There are also a number of thriving chamber music groups – so many, in fact, they are taking it in turns to perform in concerts. There’s The Octaves, a full string Octet, and the youngest group, a string trio, alongside wind and mixed chamber ensembles. TAMC has held three public concerts, and has performed various ‘big numbers’ including Pirates of the Caribbean, Orpheus in the Underworld and a composition by cellist Fred Moore. It has also performed in the community, including Thornbury Town Centre and invitations to Old Down Country Park, All of the children at TAMC also took part in the Music for Youth Regional Festival for the first time.

SCYO – The AMS Programme evolved into the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra. After a successful Autumn and Spring Concert, where players performed as an orchestra as well as forming a String Orchestra and Wind Band, it has focused on its Youth Orchestra activities. All three groups performed at the Music for Youth Regional Festival, where they were highly praised, and have performed works by Malcolm Arnold, Grieg and Bach amongst others. In July, to officially launch ‘SCYO’ there was a Movie Music Day at Castle School, where the stage was overflowing with musical talent of a high standard. The course move to a 3-week intensive format for Autumn 2013, with rehearsals on Wednesdays and Fridays – Dates are available on the website.

TAJMC – The newest addition to TAMT’s activities. This will offer three classes to the area’s future young musicians, aged 4-7. There is a Foundation class, a Music Makers class and Recorder class all tutored by new member of staff Yasmin Frampton.

And that’s not all… We’ve become so busy that we’re welcoming new strings tutor Kate Robey, who will be taking over the Senior Strings at TAMC so that Dury Loveridge can concentrate on the SCYO. We’ve also needed to employ an administrative assistant, Antonia Clausen, to deal with the membership forms and various other admin duties.

And that’s just in a year… Where will be next year? And what great music will we play over the coming 12 months…?

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