Musical feast for Amberley School

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Everything was melody and rhythm at Amberley School on November 10.

Not that the children lack musical and singing talent at any time. But Thursday was special thanks to visiting musicians from The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who came to conduct workshops and, with the children’s help, to stage a concert for the whole school and family members.

This brilliant event took place thanks to Melanie and Stephen Edge, Amberley residents whose connections with the BSO gave rise to the idea of the orchestra’s education and outreach team coming to work with the children. Years 2 and 3 in Holly Class and Years 4 and 5 in Oak Class got to have tuition from the professionals, each participating in workshops focussing on rhythm, using tuned percussion instruments, singing and dynamics.

The singing workshops got to grips with an African song called ‘Bulawayo’, with the children singing a three-part round each with loud or soft dynamics. The percussion sessions were based on the four-beat Samba rhythm (cat-er-pill-ar!) and the children chose their own titles for the pieces they created.

The concert, in the form of a musical world tour, was also an chance for the BSO musicians to showcase their own instruments. Rob (trombone) played a fantasy on ‘Rule Britannia’; Vicky (violin), gave a German slant on Hungary playing Brahms’ ‘Hungarian Dance’; Emma (bassoon) went to Myanmar with ‘Nellie the Elephant’ and another Rob, (French horn) performed an excerpt from Stravinsky’s Russian classic ‘The Firebird’. Kitty’s percussion took the children to Mexico with ‘Tico Tico’ and the musicians coached the audience in the art of the Mexican wave. The children’s own contributions, Bulawayo, the ‘Breakfast Samba’ and the ‘Rock Star Samba’ extended the concert to Zimbabwe and Brazil.

The children learned so much. From how to get a tuneful sound out of a trombone or a bassoon, to the names of all the percussion instruments and how best to play them. And, of course, how to do a Mexican wave.

It is no exaggeration to say that the children were rapt throughout the afternoon, their attention span reaching new heights of concentration. They went home with a new appreciation of music’s magic and some with ambitions to learn to play an instrument.

Contributed by Amberley School

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Musicians from Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Amberley School

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