Posted on February 7th 2018
Royal Festival Hall
I really enjoyed my trip to the Royal Festival Hall. The orchestra departed at 8:30 am, and we reached the destination comfortably. There were lots of other schools there, but it was nice to see that our orchestra was much larger in number than all the other schools combined.
We were provided with tutors for each section that were very experienced with their respective instruments. Our strings and woodwind/brass teachers were also there to help. The conductor was the same one as last year’s event, and he helped everyone achieve a better understanding of musical theory, by guiding everyone to improvise an on-the-spot piece with no musical notation at all. We practised up until around 4:30pm but had frequent breaks. The concert started at 5:00pm, but some parents were there as early as 3:30pm, to see the orchestra practising.
It was really motivating to see the other schools’ standards, and how we were very obviously better. It also allowed us to understand the expectations one would have from students at such a level. There were students who have been playing for over half a decade, and some who had barely started a few months ago; yet all were made to feel at home.
The provided tutor for the violin section helped us a lot with certain techniques and musicality of the piece. We were playing three pieces that we had been rehearsing since the start of the term, and the conductor allowed for everyone to contribute uniquely to the overall mood. Each section had a different role, which they were made to understand fully.
Before the concert, a lot of younger children from primary schools arrived, and they were also amalgamated into the intermediate level pieces. Each primary school also had a piece that they learnt, which they played during the concert.
We had a lot of spectators. After we had done our pieces, we also performed the improvisation we had done earlier. The whole show went very well.
Overall, it was an amazing experience, and a great introduction for the students to a semi-professional setting, and handling their nerves in front of such a gigantic crowd and meeting the high expectations. It might have even persuaded some students to pursue a career in music. I enjoyed this year’s event and last year’s very much, and think there should definitely be more projects like this, to help younger people understand the power of classical music.
Umer Year 10