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BBC Ten Pieces Inspiration Day, 4 February 2015

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BBC Ten Pieces Inspiration Day

The National Centre for Early Music is part of a network of over 200 BBC Ten Pieces Champions working across the UK to promote and celebrate young people's involvement in classical music.

The BBC's Ten Pieces project, launched in October 2014, aims to open up the world of classical music to primary-aged children, using ten pieces of existing music - ranging from baroque to contemporary - as the foundations for inspiration. The selected ten pieces of music have been drawn together into a spectacular film by the BBC, featuring five BBC Orchestras and the BBC Singers, as well as celebrities such as Barney Harwood from Blue Peter, Dick and Dom, Laura Mvula and Katy B, among others. Using this film and the selected ten pieces as a starting point, young people will be encouraged to develop their own creative responses through music, dance or digital art and will have the opportunity to share their work on performance platforms throughout Summer 2015.
On Wednesday 4th February, 72 children from York's Fishergate Primary and North Yorkshire's Sutton-on-the-Forest Primary joined together at the National Centre for Early Music for a Ten Pieces Inspiration Day, packed with creative learning activities centred around the ten pieces. The day began with an interactive exploration of John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, facilitated by Dr Liz Mellor and students from York St John University's Concert Band. Young people had the opportunity to create their own stories around the piece, develop their own movements to work alongside the music, and even to conduct the Concert Band. This investigation of John Adams' music culminated in a performance of Short Ride in a Fast Machine, with pupils invited to sit in among the musicians for a spectacular surround-sound experience. Staff commented that "young people's faces were lit up with joy and furrowed in concentration as they tried to unpick how the sounds were put together - it was a brilliant sight." Young people were also treated to a screening of the Ten Pieces film, letting children get to know the John Adams piece better and introducing them to the nine other selected works. To round the day off, pupils were given the chance to generate their own music, as part of a practical body-percussion workshop, led by commmunity musician Donna Smith and inspired by the Ten Pieces commission, Anna Meredith's Connect it.

Here is what the participants had to say about the day:
  • It was really fun sitting in with the band.
  • The variety of music was really good.
  • I liked how organised the band was and how much hard work they'd done learning the piece.
  • I really liked the body percussion... we've been practising it at school with our friends!
  • It was really good to see music live.
  • I can't stop listening to classical music now!
  • The best experience of music I've ever had!
Fishergate Primary teachers described the event as "a fantastic morning... truly inspirational! It really brought alive what we have been learning in school and has really inspired them to keep listening to music, especially classical music. So many children have come up to me in school and talked about what their favourite piece is from the Ten Pieces film. It has been an inspirational project, brought to life by our day at the National Centre for Early Music."

Staff from Sutton-on-the-Forest Primary added "We all enjoyed the morning very much. The children especially enjoyed the live music and one girl was inspired by the thought of progressing from her recorder onto one of the band instruments."

This day was part of the York Music Hub celebration of the BBC Ten Pieces and is supported by York Arts Education.