Wish grants kids inspiration to learn a musical instrument

A video about a successful cross-county music project, involving the City of London Sinfonia, shows that “positive steps” are being made to encourage children to take up an instrument, according to the head of Central Bedfordshire’s Inspiring Music service.  

The short film has been released to showcase inaugural project, The Wish, which culminated in a large-scale, interactive live music collaboration at The Grove theatre, Dunstable, with hundreds of primary school students.

The project, made possible through Arts Council England funding, was commissioned by charity Orchestras Live, Inspiring Music – Central Bedfordshire Council’s music service – plus Luton Music Mix and Music for Bedford Borough.

Charlotte Payne, the Director of Inspiring Music, who features in the video, said: “Whenever music education is talked about it seems that it is to discuss its decline, but events like The Wish highlight how we are making positive steps to encourage more children to take up instruments.

“For many of the children, The Wish was their first experience of a full orchestra and being able to see such things makes areal difference in terms of inspiring them to want to play music themselves. 

“But it’s more than just watching and listening to the talented professional musicians involved in an orchestra of the City of London Sinfonia calibre, outstanding though they are. It’s about making orchestral music relevant to children’s lives, with participation and interaction providing the spark that could leave a long-lasting legacy.”

The Wish, created by specialist music leader Clare Henry and composer John K Miles included a series of workshops in the weeks leading up to the performance, involving school children from all over Bedfordshire. Then the performance at The Grove helped to inform students’ musical lesson choices by involving them in a story about an orchestra (The City of London Sinfonia) that is a machine which keeps breaking, which the children help to fix.

Pupils from Watling Lower School in Dunstable attended and their headteacher, Sue Penglase, said: “The children thoroughly enjoyed being part of this and all the music that Inspiring Music offers them. Music is so precious to me, personally, and to all children and absolutely vital in their whole education.”

The Wish also provided an opportunity for young side-by-side musicians from local secondary and upper schools to get to play alongside the professional musicians from the City of London Sinfonia.