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 AppetitĀ 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>>>