Creating the All Saints’ Academy Orchestra

Posted: 12th March 2016

On Friday 4th March groups of music students participated in an Informal Performance for a few of the visitors for the Daffodil Tea party and the Head of Gloucestershire Music, Miss Mayo, joined by Mr McNiffe in the music room. The music students performed pieces on instruments that they were introduced to in January, before this we had never held the instruments let alone play.

At All Saints’ Academy, we are piloting schemes with Gloucestershire Music Hub to introduce our students to wind, brass and stringed instruments.  Our successful choir demonstrates the positive impact that participating in music has on a student’s performance across the Academy. We are looking for ways to widen this scheme to allow more students to take part and have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument. 

We started learning the instruments in January and some of us are already ready to prepare for Grade 1 for their respected instruments (Grade 3 is the expectation for a GCSE student). Year 9 have learned to use orchestral string instruments e.g. violins and cello, while Y7 were introduced to Brass instruments e.g. trumpets and french horn and the clarinet a woodwind instrument.

We were taught several pieces and were tasked to practise it during our own time. We learnt Johnny came marching home, an American marching song and My Heart Will Go On, the theme to Titanic. While the Y7 played Oh, When the Saints and several other songs. The choir were also present to sing a few of their songs that they had been practising through the year and that they would be performing at the Music for Youth Regional Festival on Sunday 5th March.

The performance was very nerve wracking for all of us. We were very anxious to get the performance over with and some people were panicking prior to the performance. However all of us were extremely relieved after we performed. All of our pieces were very successful and we enjoyed performing a lot, we have learnt that it is natural to be nervous before a performance, just like before an exam.

Learning string instruments had many benefits for all of us. It has improved hand – eye coordination, reduced stress and anxiety levels and has help us multitask. We have learned how to turn the issues of stress and anxiety into something positive as we get immediate benefit from persevering because we can make a nice sound on the instrument and can recognise the tune.

In the future we are looking to move on to complete our Grade 1 exam and maybe move onto Grade 2. We have all enjoyed this unit and hope to do something like this again.   

By Jose Lumactod, Hope Jones & Ellie Davage

Year 9 students

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