Orchestras Live, the partnership organisation whose mission is to ensure that communities across the country have access to world-class orchestral experiences, have been shortlisted along with project partners in Luton, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire for the Outstanding Classical Music Education Initiative Award for their project The Wish.
The Music Teacher Awards for Excellence, which mark excellence in the music education sector, include this specific award for an education project that has used classical music in an innovative way, and has done so with musical excellence and created a positive result on a significant number of people.
An original joint commission with The MIX (Luton Music Education Hub), and City of London Sinfonia (CLS), The Wish is a 21st century take on the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, composed by John K Miles and presented by Claire Henry. The project inspires young children to engage with music and take up an instrument, while supporting learning at Key Stage 1. The initial project consisted of 25 taster workshops and 2 performances by 30 musicians from CLS.
Following the 2017 premiere performances in Luton, Orchestras Live produced the touring project for 2018, the Big Wish, responding to demand from neighbouring Music Education Hubs – Inspiring Music (Central Bedfordshire) and Music for Bedford Borough – together with continued involvement by Luton. 2019 plans include further music hub participation, and greater CPD opportunities for teachers, instrumental tutors and professional artists.
Stuart Bruce, Partnership Manager, Orchestras Live said: “For children who have never seen a live orchestra or been to a professional venue before, this project can be truly transformative. It is also typical of Orchestras Live’s leadership role in developing new ways of inspiring many young people and supporting their pathways into music participation through our fantastic partnerships with music education hubs across the country.”
Kerry Watson, Manager at The MIX (Luton Music Service) said: “We wanted to guide primary school children into their first experience of a full orchestra, giving the young people experiences of different sections and different instruments, in order to inform their instrumental lesson choice.”
Each music hub partner is building legacy from the project through schools, including events where children can explore a range of instruments, enhancing their ability to make informed choices following the inspiration from The Wish.
The initiative has now engaged 2,089 children in primary school workshops and 2,601 children in orchestral performances at Dunstable, Bedford and Luton. It is already making an important contribution to support Hubs seeking to reverse the decline of instrumental take-up in schools and engage young children in early musical experiences of the highest quality.