- Schools Music Project 2013/14 - helping you to enjoy making music

Primary Schools Music Project 2013/14

This was Lyth Arts Centre's final year of funding for community music making from the Robertson Trust.

In 2013/14, we met the needs of geographically disadvantaged children (and their Highland Council string instructors) by organising group music making activities. These events brought together children and tutors from different schools and from different social and cultural backgrounds in order to make music in large groups.  There were various opportunities to join in the music making throughout the year and many children were involved with this project.

Bell-ringing Festival Day at Castletown School

This day of music-making involved all the children from primary 6 in Mount Pleasant School, Thurso and all the children from primary 5/6 & 7 in Castletown School.  We spent a day together in the village of Castletown on 27th February performing as the biggest bell orchestra the Highlands has ever seen!

In preparation for this, Susie and Katrina spent 14 lessons with the Mount Pleasant children, who were new to bell-ringing last October.  They learned how to read the music and studied the various techniques required to play together on the belleplates.

The primary school in the village of Castletown already had an accomplished bell-ringing team, and so Susie and Katrina supported this by providing 8 hours of mentoring to enhance their composing skills.  The pupils in p6 and p7 have each written a short tune which they can play on their own instruments (descant recorder, piano, saxophone, flute, guitar and even bagpipes!) Some of these tunes are now available on our score exchange page, where parents and friends can see and hear the music which the children have composed.  We also chose three tunes and Katrina arranged them to be performed to the school by the bell orchestra at our first ever Caithness Schools Bell Festival event - a world premiere for Colin, Ewan D and Jamie from p5/6! 

On 7th March, the Mount Pleasant Primary School pupils gave a second performance, this time on home turf, playing alongside the Mount Pleasant School Orchestra to their school community in Thurso.

For these two performances, Katrina arranged "Folk Songs of the World" for the young musicians to play.
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Caithness Schools Bell Festival 2014 Folk Songs of the World
Our first ever Caithness Schools Bell Festival was a massed ringing day which brought together three whole primary school classes: p6 from Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso and p5/6 & p7 from Cast...

Over sixty five children have participated in this part of the Primary Schools Music Project, and we're delighted that some of them were inspired to decide to join the new Far North Youth Orchestra!

Birth of the "Far North Youth Orchestra"

We have made a youth orchestra to give children from Caithness and Sutherland the opportunity to learn the skills they need to play together in a large group and to have lots of fun!  Here's how we did it:
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Far North Youth Orchestra "How exactly did you do that?!"
Since the first performance by the Far North Youth Orchestra happened on Saturday 19th April 2014, after only 3 hours of rehearsal together, the most frequently asked question we have heard from paren...

Supporting our String Instructors

It's not just the children but also the tutors who are geographically disadvantaged here in the North Highlands. Some of the Robertson Trust funding was used to support the two Highland Council string tutors who have so far worked in isolation in the far north and far west of the Highlands.  We brought these tutors together at the "Far North Youth Orchestra" Saturday rehearsals so that they could get to know each other and share good practice.  We also helped them by providing them with the tools and expertise to share their scores and arrangements on the score exchange site.  We are hopeful that this collaboration will forge strong, lasting links between both staff and pupils learning stringed instruments here in the North Highlands.

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