Friday 23 May 2014

Ensemble coaching at Impington Village College

Martyn Grisdale, Music Teacher at Impington Village College, approached Britten Sinfonia’s Creative Learning  team to discuss support and development for the school orchestra from Britten Sinfonia's professional musicians. His aim was to continue the positive development of the group and to improve the orchestras overall ability in time for the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the school, in September 2014.

The group of students, all instrumentalists in the school orchestra, all took part in a Creative Learning at Lunch workshop and a week later attended an At Lunch concert performed by Britten Sinfonia at West Road Concert Hall.

In addition, students took part in two days of workshops focusing on ensemble skills. In line with Britten Sinfonia’s ethos as a chamber orchestra the aim was to encourage each of the young musicians to take musical responsibility for their performance and to raise the collective aspirations and expectations of the orchestra.

At the end of the project, Impington Village College gave a successful performance at West Road Concert Hall at the end of Live Music Week with the Cambridgeshire Music Education Hub. They also made it through to the final of regional festival of the Music for Youth competition in Bedford.

The workshops were led by practitioner Laetitia Stott and Britten Sinfonia Musicians: Joy Farrall, Sarah O’Flynn, Nicola Goldscheider, Caroline Dearnley and Joy Hawley.

Martyn Grisdale (Music Teacher, Impington Village College) reports;
"The Impington Village College Orchestra was established in September. It has grown in size and popularity since then and now boasts over 30 players, including a 16-piece string section. The Orchestra is truly inclusive with students of all abilities and ages ranging from years 7 – 13.

During last term, the Orchestra worked intensely with members of Britten Sinfonia who led sectional and full orchestra rehearsals, master-classes and workshops to further improve the standard of the group. The Orchestra developed individual and sectional playing, rehearsing and performing without a conductor, how to phrase melodic lines and rehearsal etiquette. This first-rate coaching and mentoring proved invaluable and after successfully performing at the regional festival of the Music for Youth competition in Bedford, the IVC Orchestra was one of only five school orchestras from over 40 regional festivals to be invited to perform at the Music for Youth’s national festival in Birmingham in July.

The Orchestra continues to use the techniques suggested and introduced by Britten Sinfonia’s musicians and continues to develop as an ensemble as a result of this. They are currently rehearsing hard and look forward to representing the college at a national level."

Places for Creative Learning at Lunch 5 workshops and tickets are now available to secondary schools – for more information please contact Mateja Kaluza, Creative Learning Assistant at

For more information on Britten Sinfonia's Creative learning work click here

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