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”.