Saturday, May 19, 2012

MSO Artplay Ensemble

I have been one very proud Mother over the past couple of months. At the end of February I signed my daughter up for a free workshop at Artplay. It was a workshop where the children got to work with members of the MelbourneSymphony Orchestra to develop a piece of music.  I signed her up because she was having trouble with her new violin teacher at school and I hoped this would restore her interest in music. 

Concentrating at the first MSO workshop
The workshops went for an hour and were run over two days. They were open to all children between the ages of 8 - 13.  The workshops were also a chance for the MSO to pick 25 children to be in their yearly MSO Artplay Ensemble.  The children in the Ensemble work with members of the MSO in a series of workshops throughout the year and get to do a public performance during a music festival.  
I was so surprised when a few weeks after the workshop I received an email saying that my daughter had been selected to be a member of this Ensemble.  There was much excitement in the house that evening.  I was so proud of her and it was exactly what was needed to restore her interest and love of music.  She started practicing without my asking her to and even began to write her own music.
One of her classmates and another student (and friend) from class eight at her school were also selected. Strings and class orchestra are part of the school curriculum, all students from class three must learn either violin or cello.

The children in the ensemble have now completed two workshops. At the end of the first workshop we got to hear what they had developed. I was so amazed at what the talented Gillian Howell was able to get the children to achieve in such a short time. 


They performed the piece they developed for the public two weeks ago at the wonderful Melbourne Recital Centre.
The amazing Melbourne Recital Centre
The performance was part of the Metropolis Festival and the children performed in the Salon. It's like walking into a huge cube with soaring walls etched with curves, everything designed for the best acoustics.
The Salon, an amazing space.
The ensemble played a piece they had developed based on the music of the legendary composer, John Cage
Ready for her first public performance
All the participants got tickets to see the final performance of the Metropolis festival. It was a long day for them as they had to rehearse from 1pm - 5pm, perform at 6pm then watch the show at 8pm.  I think it was 10.30pm before we got home but the tired eyes were worth it.  
This is such a wonderful opportunity for all the children involved.  If you have a child who plays an instrument (and lives in Melbourne) then you may want to look into it for next year. It's not about being the best or how well you play, its about being willing and able to explore, experiment and create music. I cant wait to see what the children come up with in the next two workshops.


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