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In Harmony’s Viola Tutor Chrissie Slater reports back!

Posted on 28 July 2015

This term I have noticed evidence of independent learning more than ever before.

A girl in year five came to her lesson with the sheet music for Over the Rainbow, which she had downloaded from the internet and printed off at her local public library. She had added coloured fingerings to the part so that the rest of the group could join in. A year six student who is part of this group has recently been objecting to coming to her lessons, was delighted because she loves the song, showing the importance of having good material/repertoire that the children can respond to. After playing through the piece once this girl was desperate to play it to the head teacher so we had an impromptu performance. The difference in the attitude of the girl at the beginning and end of the lesson was remarkable.

A boy in year four, who comes in most weeks having learned a new tune by ear, showed me some technical exercises he got from YouTube. I’m not sure if another member of staff has told him of the existence of online tutorials, but I certainly have never mentioned it to him. He clearly has a thirst for knowledge!
Sometimes I let Key Stage One play a little solo at the end of a lesson. Some like to improvise and some might play a tune we’ve learnt at some point in school. One little girl from year two told me she would like to play me something and stood up and played Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ almost perfectly, which her brother (Year Six double bass) had taught her at home in solfa. Neither of them would have had their instruments at home so I’m guessing she used her knowledge of solfa to play the tune for the very first time at that very moment.

So what I am enjoying now is the feeling that we have opened doors to these children and have given them confidence to go out and discover new things for themselves, to pass on what they have learnt to a friend or sibling and when they bring something of their own to a lesson we’ll all be immensely proud of them.

About In Harmony

In Harmony is a national programme that aims to inspire and transform the lives of children in deprived communities within the UK, using the power and disciplines of community-based orchestral music-making. LEARN MORE HERE