A unique musical experience

Professional musicians from the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra spent a day at West Derby School Liverpool in November as part of the BBC Ten Pieces coaching scheme.

Over 40 musicians from Years 8 to 11 took part in a series of composition workshops based around the ‘Storm’ Interlude from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes.

The Ten Pieces coaching scheme is free and open to any organisation that works with young musicians aged 10-18.

One of their aims is to open up the world of classical music to the next generation. Their musicians work with organisations to share their knowledge and expertise with aspiring young performers across the UK.

The day began with highly enjoyable musical games and icebreakers which encouraged team work, listening skills and co-ordination.

Students were then introduced to the ‘Storm’ Interlude and engaged in some analysis of the compositional techniques used by the composer to depict a stormy scene. Students then split up into their instrumental sections of keyboards, guitars, percussion, brass and woodwind. They were guided by the professional musicians from the BBC Philharmonic in creating their own stormy soundscapes.

Their percussionists were particularly thrilled to be introduced to some of the more unusual instruments the BBC Philharmonic percussionist brought along with her and very much enjoyed exploring the different sonorities.

After lunch, students were brought back together to organise and structure their disparate musical ideas into a piece titled The Storm. The day culminated in a performance of this piece to 180 Year 7 students and accompanying staff. The audience were captivated by the dramatic musical soundscape.

Even though they only had a short amount of rehearsal time, the musicians managed to demonstrate a high level of skill by performing with a wide variety of dynamics and articulation.

Year 9 student Jack Cushion enjoyed the day and said: “We did something unique that we’ve never done before in music. Being involved with so many experienced people gave me an insight into what it means to be a good musician”.

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