Half term report

Well. Our first half term has been a great success. We started with 52 children and finished with 45, plus 4 parents, 5 teaching staff and 7 tutors! Hopefully everyone will want to come back next half term and learn some Christmas music to perform in School and elsewhere.

We didn’t achieve everything we set out to do, but that’s a reflection of our enthusiasm and ambition rather than any lacking in ability or application of the children. In fact, the progress has been excellent. In only 6 weeks we can see and hear how well they are producing a good sound, learning how to play notes and pitch them.

And the tutors have learnt a lot as well. With a certain amount of trial and error we’ve found what works and what doesn’t. For example, after struggling to help some children pitch notes lower or higher, we discovered that going to back the the different types of buzzing with a “duck face” or “blowing a straw” worked magic! We’ve also found that “listen and copy” exercises work very well – once we get them going, we can build up to quite complicated phrases with different rhythms and notes.

We have worked on 5 key parts of playing: buzzing to produce a sound; breathing deep into the tummy to have plenty of air; tonguing a “te” or “de” sound to start a note; changing the mouth and lip shape to pitch notes higher or lower; and most importantly of all, listening!

We’ve learnt how to play 6 notes: C, D, E, F, G and A (although the young trombone players cannot play D as it too far for them to reach yet) and we’ve used these notes to play our 2 performance pieces “Get On Up, Get On Down” and “Freres Jacques”. These will need more work before we can perform them, but we’ll come back to them in January.

We can’t wait to get started again in 2 weeks time!

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