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Storytelling through music

The wind section practising from 2016's Orchestra Day Graham Fowlie

Phil Dixon with students from a past orchestra workshop Graham Fowlie

Press release issued: 18 June 2019

There will be classical music floating through the University of Bristol Student’s Union (Bristol SU) today [Tuesday 18 June] when 220 students from 11 local primary schools come together for an orchestra workshop.

The Primary Cluster Orchestra Day, a collaboration between the University of Bristol and Bristol Plays Music, will be led by Phil Dixon, a teacher of music and music technology and composer-in-residence from St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School and University of Bristol alumnus (MA 2002).

Mr Dixon, together with eight University of Bristol trainee (PGCE) music teachers, will be working with the schoolchildren on three pieces: Symphonie Fantastique extract: Berlioz; a medley of three ballet pieces – Nutcracker: Tchaikovsky, Coppélia: Delibes, Petrushka: Stravinsky, and the Avengers theme: Alan Silvestri.

The theme of the orchestra day is storytelling through music.  The pieces, rearranged for the pupils by Claire Alsop, Bristol alumnus (BA 1997), have been chosen to reflect the different ways music can tell a narrative.

Dr Marina Gall, Head of PGCE Music in the University's School of Education, said: "Music enables a diverse range of young people to engage and fulfil their creative aspirations.  The workshop is a great opportunity for the children to come together to play music, for our secondary music teacher trainees to develop their skills in working with younger children and, most importantly, to have fun."

Laurie Stewart, Vocal and Instrumental Strategy Manager for Bristol Plays Music, said: "This is the fifth year we’ve collaborated with the University of Bristol and we're thrilled to be reaching so many young people and teachers.  We want this to be a fun day of music-making and it's a great opportunity for primary school pupils to gain valuable experience away from the classroom."

The orchestra day will finish with a performance for parents and carers.

Further information

The 11 Bristol primary schools taking part in the workshop are:

Bristol Grammar (BGS) Infants and Juniors; Air Balloon Hill Primary; Ashley Down Schools Federation; Elmlea Junior; Henleaze Junior; Horfield CEVC Primary; Hotwells Primary; St John’s C of E Primary; St Mary Redcliffe C of E Primary; Wallscourt Farm Academy and Westbury Park.

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