On the 6th of February, Newcastle University’s Music Society outreach team partnered up with Thomas Walling Academy in West Denton to run a very special instrumental workshop for ninety young people.
As part of the Academy’s commitment to musical teaching for all, every child from the age of seven is given the opportunity to learn an instrument, ranging from violins and cellos to clarinet and ukulele, and those in years five and six were able to take part in this workshop.
In order to encourage these young people (and the staff!), we brought along eighteen of our own world-class musicians to create a joint student orchestra, playing music from Beethoven and Greig, with the man in the middle, Sir Tom Edney leading the proceedings.
Much laughter and learning took place, with our musicians providing the support for the children to show off what they can do in a welcoming, inclusive environment.
The Music Society’s outreach team, led by Glenn Bruinewoud, has had a varied year so far, holding more traditional school workshops exploring the rich musical heritage of our communities, aiding in medical research through performances within the Royal Victoria Infirmary, as well as outreach work with the more elderly in the run up to Christmas.
Not every child has the same opportunities for music making and in a climate of budgetary constraints and reduction of across the board provision, outreach activities such as this have never been more important.
As an outreach team, we feel it is important to encourage the musical aspirations of any person, child or otherwise, that wants to learn and grow, whether singing, playing an instrument, or even through non-musical activities such as playing recorder!
In being able to play alongside these young people we hope to give them, and many others like them, the encouragement and support that many of the Universitiy’s students received themselves when they were younger, and continue to do so through the many performance opportunities that MUSSOC provides. Not every child has the same opportunities for music making and in a climate of budgetary constraints and reduction of across the board provision, outreach activities such as this have never been more important.
Young people learn best when they are having fun, and that was certainly what happened at the Academy. Long may it continue!