Hi everyone. This is my very first spangly blog I’ve written all on my own. I’ve been included on a few but never attempted to write more than 50 words so here goes…

Previous secondary school education project

Previous secondary school education project

My role in the office is Education Projects Manager which means I help run our ever expanding education programme here at the OAE, along with Cherry Forbes (Education Director). Our programme includes loads of creative, instrumental, opera and other various projects designed for tots right through to residents in nursing homes, so the list could go on and on. I wanted to take a few minutes from my day to tell you about a special project we have coming up for GCSE and A-Level students. Maybe then I’ll get a taste for this blogging thing and tell you about everything! You can have that to look forward to….

Mozart is our inspiration in the education department during 2010-11 and in particular we’re looking at his 40th symphony for our school concerts this spring (incidentally you can contact me to enquire about primary school spaces for our school concerts), a music and maths composition project next term and last but not least, our secondary school GCSE and A-Level study day with the OAE on 4 February at Kings Place.

It’s really exciting putting on an event like this where it fits nicely into the music curriculum and you feel it could really benefit everyone, from the students and the school teachers right through to the examiners. All music students have to study Mozart as part of their music syllabus so why not make it more fun and informative for them by chucking them a full live orchestra?

Accompanied by the orchestra, our leader Margaret Faultless will take apart Mozart 40 and 41 and apply the session to the aspects the students need to learn for their course. This means hopefully the orchestra and Maggie’s input, advice and enormous knowledge will resonate for so long with the students that they’ll be able to draw up on their experience of the day to give them a helping hand in their exams!

Our orchestra for the day will be made up of OAE musicians and our new OAE Experience participants (our apprenticeship scheme) so there may there will probably only be a tiny age gap between the students and the youngest orchestra members. This means the day has another angle to hopefully encourage the students to realise that if you do keep going with your instrument, you can really get somewhere, even when you’re young.

I’m also really pleased to have two of our very good friends and musicians, James Redwood and Jack there on the day to work especially with the guitarists.

Sometimes we feel that secondary school guitarists could get a raw deal when it comes to performing in school ensembles and may not get the chance to apply their knowledge of chords and harmonies to the context of classical music. The workshop is designed to give them that chance and to explore lots of ideas with James and Jack and I hope the students get something out of it. James and Jack work with us on projects regularly and bring an amazing energy and enthusiasm to everything they do. They compose regularly for various music ensembles and will be able to work with the students and explore how Mozart composed himself.

As I said, this is the first blog I’ve got round to writing about one of our projects (hopefully will be the first of many!) because I’m really looking forward to trying something new and a bit different in the higher end of secondary school. I’m also really interested to see how the students and orchestra will interact with each other and how they can help each other by sharing ideas.

Natalie Chivers, Education Projects Manager

If you’re interested in booking places for the GCSE and A level Study Events on 4 February you can give Natalie a call on 020 7239 9371 or drop her a line through the ‘contact us’ box at the bottom of this page.

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