We are delighted to be holding four of our five chamber orchestra workshops in new venues this year, funded by Arts Council England. The first workshop at The Dream Centre, Tottenham was a great success in a stunning venue. Next week sees a return to Shoreditch Town Hall and a first visit to Great Hall, Leyton. April sees a return to The Dream Centre and a first visit to Regent Hall, Oxford Street.
Apollo offer an experience which is unfamiliar to many children and a valuable opportunity for them to develop creatively, socially and culturally. Through this programme children develop a richer, wider experience of classical music and classical instrumentation. Having ‘real’ musicians in a classroom breaks down the many perceived barriers to accessing classical music and musicians and creates an opportunity for children to engage with different genres of music in a familiar context, gradually building their knowledge and understanding to appreciate a concert at the end of each programme.
Children speak very highly of the sessions they receive and of the experience of seeing a classical concert, which is an entirely new experience for most. It is hard to overestimate the value of enriching children’s experience in this way and opening up other worlds and cultures. The specialism and expertise of ‘real’ musicians in classrooms creates a safe and aspirational setting for pupils to explore and understand the structures and disciplines that underpin music and performance.
David and his team are able to quickly win the respect and trust of the classes that they work with. The carefully structured programme introduces children to each element step by step, building curiosity and developing understanding. They work very effectively within a busy school environment alongside our class teachers and music specialists. They reflect on the impact and effectiveness of each programme, seeking feedback and responsively developing what they do to ensure it meets the key aims. Apollo have offered our pupils an experience that is hard to replicate outside of this programme and it is highly valued by our schools.
Stephen Hall, Executive Headteacher, Orchard, Southwold and Hoxton Garden Schools
1. ‘What was the best thing about Apollo Music Projects this year?’
‘The best thing was listening to the amazing music Apollo Music played.’
‘The best thing about working with Apollo Music was getting to listen to the wonderful pieces of music because they’re just beautiful!!!’
‘It has inspired me to take up music.’
‘The best thing about working with Apollo Music Projects was that you learn something new every time they come here.’
‘When we closed our eyes and listened to the music.’
‘Because it inspired me to get an instrument and start to play and I might be like them one day.’
2. In response to the Mendelssohn Op.44/2 Quartet, slow movement:
‘I was feeling calm and relaxed as a smooth and soft pillow and it made me fall asleep. It even made me have a good dream on a soft bed. And it made me feel like crying.’
‘I felt like I was flying in the sky in heaven and dancing up in Heaven. It also made me feel calm, relaxed, peaceful.’
‘At the start it was a beautiful day as it was turning to night with a beautiful susnset. Then the stars start showing up and glistening, all the way to sunrise.’
‘It makes me feel like I can do anything and it makes me feel calm. And Happy.’
‘This really makes me feel calm. It also makes me feel like I am stranded on an island. I can hear the waves waving to the left and to the right.It makes me want to cry’
3. In response to the Shostakovich String Quartet no. 7, first movement:
‘The music makes me feel like I am so happy. It makes me a little scared but happy. It makes me feel excited and cool. It makes me really really calm. It makes me want to cry.’
‘I feel over the moon because it is like I am playing the instrument with them as well and it is a nice feeling.’
Since working with Apollo Music Projects my class have shown an appreciation for all new types of music, but particularly classical music pieces which they would possibly not hear anywhere else. They are now able to clearly state what they hear in the music, either discussing an emotional response or using their broadening musical vocabulary to explain what they hear. They have further developed the skills of listening and are now able to listen for enjoyment or critically discuss why musicians and composers make the choices they do for their audiences.
Juliet Forsyth, Springfield Community Primary School
”’Working with Apollo Music Projects brings a new dimension to our pupils’ appreciation of music. For many of the children it is the first time they have experienced musicians playing classical music before their eyes. There is delight as the sound fills their own classroom and excitement when they attend a real concert at the Hackney Empire. The skills of careful listening and differentiating musical sounds transfer to other areas of the curriculum and improve their ability to concentrate and attend to details.”
Mary Igoe, Headteacher, Columbia Primary School
“I would say that AMP really understand the potential which brilliantly performed, imaginatively presented, live music can have for school children. There is a lot more instrumental music making going on in primary schools these days, however opportunities are limited for listening at close quarters to music performed extremely well. The chance to hear and meet musicians is vital in stimulating children’s imaginations and giving them a clear example of the thrill of making music with other people.
The notion of presenting a concert is not a new one, but explaining complex musical themes and structures in a way which engages children requires subtlety and skill. Through a structured listening programme AMP musicians and students break music down into its very building blocks and come to understand a little of its magic – how music can tell a story, conjure feelings or generate new ideas. Music is the perfect entry route into learning about almost any subject, and by working closely with teachers, it is possible for projects such as AMP’s to become a significant part of all children’s learning.”
Senior Cultural Policy Officer – Music
Greater London Authority
“Our school has been very impressed with the impact that the Apollo Music Projects has had on the children’s learning. Not only have they been able to access the music curriculum in a lively and engaging manner, but they have also benefited in other areas of their education. Many of the students involved have found that listening to classical music had a calming affect on them and mentioned that they work well when music is played in the classroom. Indeed the teachers who have been a part of this programme have noticed that their classes are more open to listening to classical music after starting the project and that the concentration of the children improves as the project progresses. The children also become better able to discuss ideas around music, the science of sound and the expressive elements of the music they hear.
Of course many children have been keen to take up an instrument once they have seen and heard the instruments of the orchestra played live and those already playing have been further inspired to progress. One great example of this is a boy in year 4 who has had many behavioural issues since starting school however, after starting the Apollo Music Project he has begun to practise with renewed passion. As a result he has now been chosen to go onto a gifted and talented music register allowing him to receive individual tuition. Naturally his confidence and interest in succeeding in all areas at school has vastly improved”.
Music Co-ordinator, Sir Thomas Abney Primary School
Rebecca Lindsay, Music Co-ordinator
“The Apollo music program has been a wonderful new experience in the classroom. Bringing music to life in front of the children has captured their imagination and held their concentration. Even children who have difficulty concentrating were completley absorbed. I see more interest from the children in taking up a musical instrument and classical music is now regularly played in class, even in numeracy lessons!
“The staff have been a breath of fresh air to work with and have not only made the experience engaging for the children, but also enjoyable for the adults.”
Simon Harper, Teacher
Rushmore Primary School