Thursday 28 Aug 2014
Children attending special schools, units and primary schools from across Wales now have the chance to experience classical music concerts from the comfort of their classroom, thanks to a unique project by BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
The Orchestra's Education and Community Outreach department has distributed Special Teachers' Resource Packs to every special school, unit and primary school in Wales – reaching over 2,000 schools.
To celebrate the release of these resource packs, the Orchestra will be performing a series of special concerts to more than 4,000 children in Tenby and Cardiff from 1 to 4 November 2011.
These educational resource packs are the latest stage of a highly successful and innovative programme of activity devised especially for pupils from special schools/units and years three and four in primary schools.
It is believed to be the first project of its scale in Europe to work with children attending special schools and units, using the full orchestra.
In the last 12 months, the project has given over 5,000 children from across Wales the chance to attend an orchestral concert designed especially for them.
"The students felt valued and respected throughout the workshops and were so proud of themselves to have performed with the orchestra in front of such a large audience," said Adele Thomas from Brynllywarch Hall School, Kerry, near Newtown.
The Special Teachers' Resource Packs are aimed at supporting music teaching across Wales, and are especially useful in schools with no specialist music teacher.
The resource packs include a DVD and CD of a special concert recorded earlier in the year, and a booklet of teachers' notes, which introduce each piece of music and suggests further ideas for making music in the classroom. The notes are devised to cater for pupils with varying abilities and to support teachers with differing music experience.
In the resources, the Orchestra is introduced by conductor Grant Llewellyn and musician Andy Pidcock, who use Makaton signing as part of their presentation.
The resource provides participatory opportunities for pupils to use in the classroom plus introductions to the different instruments and sections of the orchestra.
The resources contain a mixture of popular classical repertoire and music written by Andy Pidcock and specially arranged for the full orchestra.
"Our work with pupils from special schools and units has formed a very important part of our outreach programme over the past 12 years," said Suzanne Hay, Education and Community Manager. "We are delighted that the next phase of this work has resulted in the delivery of the Special Teachers' Music Resource to every special school/unit and primary school in Wales.
"We hope that this unique resource, which we believe to be the first of its kind, will play a major role in supporting the enjoyment of music making in the classroom, and help teachers throughout Wales to develop their skills and confidence."
The material included in the DVD was recorded in March 2011, when BBC National Orchestra of Wales performed in front of nearly 300 pupils and staff from special schools and units at BBC Hoddinott Hall, in Cardiff Bay.
The concert and studio sessions were then transformed into a unique learning resource, which was broadcast on BBC Two's Learning Zone, and is available to watch on the BBC Class Clips website.
This extended educational package is made possible through the Orchestra's partnership with the Arts Council of Wales, and from the generous support of the Friends of the National Orchestra of Wales, and will mean that the Orchestra will be able to reach even more pupils across Wales, as part of its role as the National Orchestra of Wales.
You can access the clips by going to the BBC Class Clips home page (bbc.co.uk/learningzone/clips) and typing BBC National Orchestra of Wales into the search bar.
For more information about the Orchestra, visit bbc.co.uk/now.
The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales's dynamic Education and Community Outreach Department extends the work of the Orchestra beyond the confines of the concert hall into schools, workplaces and communities. The projects reach communities right across Wales, and range from concert tours for children of all abilities, right through to workshops for talented Welsh composers.
During the year 2010-2011 BBC National Orchestra of Wales has engaged children of all ages and abilities from mainstream primary schools and special schools in music making and concert activity. This included five concerts over four days for 4,914 children from 125 schools during a tour of South, Mid and North Wales in summer 2010; and a chance for primary schools in the Cardiff area to perform in front of the competitors of BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, as part of workshops across the city in June 2011.
The Orchestra provides mentoring projects for young musicians; including an annual collaboration with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, and an orchestral placement scheme for music students in conjunction with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
In addition, the Education and Community Outreach Department stages a number of accessible public concerts suitable for the entire family, which in December 2011 will include Christmas Celebrations concerts in Cardiff, Swansea and Haverfordwest.
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