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.
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!
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!
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!