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Bolton academy offers learning with strings attached

Ferns Primary has adopted a professional violinist to help engage pupils in music education

Posted by Julian Owen | June 01, 2018 | School life

The Ferns Primary Academy in Bolton is taking part in the Hallé Education Adopt-a-Player programme, which involves workshops, a concert at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and a final performance. For many of the children, this was their first experience of attending a classical concert.

The school has ‘adopted’ Nicola Clarke, a violinist for the Hallé Orchestra. The children met Nicola for the first time when she came to the school for the first workshop, when she brought along percussion instruments and carried out activities on rhythm and pace. She also allocated roles and instruments to the children to practice in preparation for their final performance at the end of the project.

The Hallé Orchestra ranks among the UK’s top symphonic ensembles and the players are considered the finest in the world, coming from fourteen countries to play and work in Manchester. All are essential to the huge community and outreach schemes such as the Adopt-a-Player programme.

“The children were mesmerised at the Hallé concert, it was something they had never experienced before."

The Ferns, part of the Northern Education Trust, has timetabled music lessons from nursery to year six. Several of the children play musical instruments both in and out of school including the drums, violin, recorder, guitar and piano. Being involved with Hallé education allows the children to further explore their musical interests.

Principal, Mr Howard, said: “We are delighted to be involved with the Hallé scheme as it gives talented musicians at The Ferns further opportunity to develop their skills and perform in front of their peers and parents.

“The children were mesmerised at the Hallé concert, it was something they had never experienced before. One of the pupils said they expected it to be a bit boring, but after the concert added that ‘it was amazing’.” 

The children have since performed their version of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger at a performance marking the end of the Hallé education project.

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