OAE Tots concertSo how old were you when you first heard professional musicians live?

You’re never too young to experience the OAE, as I and Rachel Beckett (recorder player and flautist) showed last Sunday, when more than forty 2 and 3 year olds had their first taste of baroque favourites.

The ethos of the OAE education programme is that every project is inspired by the orchestra’s core repertoire. These workshops at King’s Place were no exception, including music by Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann and of course J. S. Bach.

I absolutely love working with this age-group. Their responses are so immediate and truthful. They don’t yet know how to hide boredom or fain enthusiasm. When you could hear a pin drop as woolly dog introduced the recorder, I knew our young audience was hooked.

The story of The 3 Billy Goats Gruff was perfect to demonstrate Rachel’s different sized instruments; descant and treble recorders, and mellow flute. What about the bass you ask? The ugly troll of course.

The tots were skipping goats to the Country Dance from Handel’s Water Music, sleepy goats to the slow movement of Vivaldi’s  Il Gardellino Concerto, and dancing goats to the Badinerie from Bach’s Flute Suite.

As a final climax all were given instruments with which to make quiet ‘mouse’ music, or noisy ‘lion’ music. It may not be what Telemann had in mind when composing Wassermusik, but the Tritons movement works brilliantly to tell Aesop’s Fable ‘The Lion and the Mouse’.

It was Rachel’s chance to weald her sopranino recorder – about as far away in pitch as it’s possible to get from a double bass . It was also a chance for education director, Cherry Forbes and our new education officer, Ellie Cowan to let their hair down as they took charge of the puppets and led a lively chase across the room.

The only problem…finding the best angle to get a photo of your tiny tot next to a huge double bass.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, Double Bass