Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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Teachers, towers and tidying up

Thu Aug 9 2012

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Now time for some music by Felix Mendelssohn's good friend, Prince Albert (i.e. Queen Victoria's husband).… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…


We piloted a new education project this year, when OAE musicians visited a special needs school, Willow Dene, in South East London during the Spring & Summer terms.  Here’s a little taster of how the workshops went…

The idea was for two OAE players to work with experienced teachers following their lead- enabling everyone to learn from each other and leaving a lasting resource for the school, whilst letting the children enjoy live music- for some of them, a totally new experience.

Cecelia Bruggemeyer, our ever-enthusiastic double bassist, took the children on a musical trip to the zoo, built a musical tower which the children knocked down and even made tidying-up fun in the form of a song…

She said of the experience:

“It was such a privilege and pleasure to work with the pupils of Willow Dene. Their reactions to our playing, and their enthusiasm were so spontaneous that it really brings home the joy of live music-making. I was knocked out by the dedication of the staff to each individual pupil, and the way they welcomed us. This project proved again that the most successful projects are those that are true collaborations between the musicians and the school, as this one was.”

Children also got to hear some of the OAE repertoire and joined in with their own instruments, as well as practicing their conducting and painting to different music.

The school were delighted with the workshops too:

‘The members of the Orchestra were sensitive to our children’s needs.  We planned together so that the sessions were pitched well.  The children loved the music, developed their listening skills and having the experience to see and touch the instruments was something new and exciting.’ Matt Reay, Willow Dene class teacher


We’re now hoping to roll this project out to other areas.  To find out more about what the OAE Education team are up to, visit our education pages here.

You can also read how Katherine Spencer and Cecelia got around the problem of rehearsing together before these workshops here.

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