By the end of March, we had organised visits by five of the groups of musicians visiting the Club this season. They went into 14 local primary schools, plus there was a session at Boston Grammar School. The primary school visits ranged from Spalding in the south to Stickney and New Leake in the north, from Quadring and Donington in the west to Wrangle in the east, not forgetting six schools in Boston itself. Of our destinations this season, six schools were receiving musicians for the third time and another six for the fourth time since 2012.
Around 2,600 primary age children have been present at these performances this year, a small increase from 2016-2017. The audiences have covered both Key Stages 1 and 2 and range in age from 5 to 11 year olds. They have seen, heard and been inspired by musicians playing a wide range of instruments, namely bassoon, oboe, clarinet, harp, viola, flute, trumpet, violin, cello and piano; not forgetting the large number of early instruments, such as crumhorn, shawm, viols and recorders from the 14th to 16th centuries that were brought to us by Hexachordia.
For many of these children, they are seeing and hearing live music for the first time and are fascinated by the instruments and how they are played. Our musicians have played music that is familiar to their audiences – a popular choice is an arrangement of “Let it go” from the current Disney favourite “Frozen” – but also introduced them to pieces that are new and atmospheric. They have willingly answered all sorts of questions from the children about their instruments and careers. These visits complement the work already being done in schools and the musicians are often encouraged by the knowledge and vocabulary shown by the children.
I was pleased to arrange a visit to Boston Grammar School in February by the Rautio Piano Trio. They spent an hour playing through, analysing and providing helpful comments on a piano trio written as an exam piece by a student in year 13 who is just weeks away from his final “A” Level exams. Their helpful advice and comments about his piece were invaluable as he prepared to finalise it before submission as part of his coursework.
Stephen Boycott – April 2018.