National Centre for Early Music

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BBC Ten Pieces Showcase - Wednesday 24 June, 1.15-2.15pm


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. Using the selected ten pieces as a starting point, young people have been encouraged to develop their own creative responses through music, dance or digital art and have been encouraged to share their work on performance platforms throughout Summer 2015.

On Wednesday 24 June, the NCEM curated one such event, bringing together over 120 children, aged 8-11, from across Osbaldwick, Dringhouses, Wheldrake with Thorganby, and Knavesmire primary schools, and also featuring the work of 30 children from Fishergate Primary via video. Young people's creative responses to the Ten Pieces were vibrant and diverse. Year 5 pupils from Osbaldwick Primary presented their own arrangement of Holst's Mars for xylophones and metallophones, exploring the differences between wooden and metallic sounds. Knavesmire Primary's Year 4 yeargroup took the same piece of music as their starting point but responded quite differently by developing their own large-scale choreography, telling the story of war between the Romans and the Celts. Dringhouses and Wheldrake schools joined together to perform collaborative responses to Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King, showing different sides to the piece through a gentle scarf dance, followed by a rhythmic percussion accompaniment, ending with a multi-instrumental arrangement. The video performance from Fishergate Primary presented young people's own compositions in response to John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine, taking minimalist loops as a starting point. At the end of the event, young people were treated to an inspiring presentation from Calamity Vocal Consort, five singers recently graduated from the University of York.

Young people reported having a fantastic time:
  • "It was amazing because everyone sounded brilliant" - Emma
  • "I really liked watching other schools perform their acts" - Lily
  • "It was great to be able to show off what we have been learning in music" - Regan
  • "I really liked having a go and playing musical instruments that I haven't had a chance to play before this project" - Sonny
  • "I liked working as a team to create a great piece" - Caitlyn

Staff also commented on the wonderful opportunity this event provided for the children:
  • "It was wonderful for the children to play at the National Centre for Early Music, in a professional concert environment. They mentioned afterwards how they 'absolutely loved it' and also how inspiring the professional musicians were that they heard at the end of the concert. It will be a special memory for every child" - Karen Marshall, Osbaldwick Primary School.
  • "The children really enjoyed seeing everyone else's work and the added bonus was the beautiful madrigal at the end from Calamity Consort. What a treat for the children to hear such amazing live music. Many thanks to all at the NCEM for organising this and making us feel so welcome" - Clare Clarke, Dringhouses and Wheldrake.

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