A pilot project with Barrs Hill Secondary School. Funded by Coventry Performing Arts.

During June and July 2016, OOTS musicians led four 2-hour cross-curricular workshops in Barrs Hill School, Coventry relating to Key Stage 3 history, music, english and maths.

Working with thirty Year 7 and 8 pupils, cellist Matthew Forbes, viola player Ruth Woolley and violinist Naomi Rump used themes from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending to inspire young composers to develop their own creative responses through poetry and music. Working with a mixed group of instrumentalists which included cornets, saxophone, steel pans, keyboards, tuned and untuned percussion and voice, OOTS musicians explored the George Meredith poem of the same name, the inspiration behind the work and the political landscape of the time.

Each session began with various ice-breakers and warm ups to get the group working together and were followed with improvisations and composition practise based around the D Major pentatonic scale, as used in “The Lark”.

 “What an amazing experience this has been for our students. This has not only provided them the opportunity to work with professional musicians of such high calibre but has also challenged their creativity in so many ways. To produce such a fabulous final performance with the addition of profound poetry and beautiful haikus written completely by the students themselves gives them, their parents, their teachers and the school something to be extremely proud of.” Detta Edwards, Head of Music at Barrs Hills School
“I enjoyed when everyone joined in together with their instruments because it sounded great – as if it was building”
year 8 pupil
“All the things we did in our session were incredible and really inspiring”  
year 7 pupil

Read more about BBC Ten Pieces project

If you would like to know more about how your school can book OOTS to lead a similar project, please contact Sue Pope, Learning & Participation Manager, by email: education@orchestraoftheswan.org

View the Curriculum Map for how you could embed a similar project into your curriculum.