A band comes to visit…

Last Wednesday we had a great music-filled day at the Language School. My friend TTG arranged for his band of young musicians – the Jazz Band from Melbourne Girls College – to come to the Language School to give a concert.

They are a young band – I think they’ve been playing together about a year or so, with a number in the group being relatively new to their instruments, playing alongside some older students who are very skilled. This was a performance opportunity for them, because they have worked up a very slick program over the last year, but also a wonderful chance for the Language School students to have an up-close concert experience.

MGC jazz band

We were treated to classic hits like Tuxedo Junction and Louie Louie. And my favourite for audience participation – Tequila.  We brought out some of the hand percussion that I use in music classes and distributed it among the students. TTG taught them some rhythms and they played along. As the closing number, TTG had also written an arrangement for the band of a song we knew – Kavisha Mazzella’s As I Walk This Country.  Everyone sang their hearts out, and it was a beautiful, moving point of connection.

playing along

Then, at lunchtime, the MGC girls and teachers hung around the playground. Some went off to join various soccer and other ball games. But others got out their instruments, some spare mouthpieces, and some antiseptic wipes (naturally!) and let any of the Language School students who wanted to, have a turn. They formed a long line (I’d like to say orderly, but that doesn’t happen…. lining up takes a lot of practise!) and one by one had a try of the sax, the trombone, or the guitar. The sounds echoed around the surrounding streets.

trying the sax

The sky initially threatened rain, but in the end, it was sunny enough for sunglasses and sunhats! Students from the secondary school came and joined in as well, so it was a whole-school event. I’ll finish this post with a photo of one of the teachers doing the Twist with one of the students – it was a great way for everyone to let their hair down at the end of a very full school year.

dancing teacher, dancing student

It was a such a great day, for everyone involved. And so worthwhile – TTG and I agreed we should do this kind of project again. Of course it is great for students to go and see professional performers – orchestras and the like. But it is also incredibly valuable for them to see people their own age playing and performing. It lets them imagine and see possibilities, and recognise that these start with small steps, and gradual progression. There are many things that make instrument learning inaccessible to many students – finances and family support being two major ones. But sometimes, too, that sense of something being out of reach for you, can be challenged by mind-seeds getting planted and watered, and by the desire being invited, and encouraged. I think this concert would have planted seeds in students’ minds. Many of the Language School teachers also spoke about this with me, at the end of the day.

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2 comments so far

  1. bobbiejane on

    Ah – antiseptic wipes! Necessary for music workshops and mouth pieces!

    Maybe next time the language students can play a piece to the visiting band?

    Thanks for sharing, great pics!

    B

    • musicwork on

      Wouldn’t that be great! We’d have to time it carefully (this event was organised very spontaneously) – they (my students) always do a performance in the last week of term, so I tend to pace things carefully to make sure they don’t ‘peak’ too soon. I find primary students are still not quite able (in a consistent or reliable way) to ‘lift’ themselves for performance. But yes… have them play their music to the visitors. And then have them all do something together. That would be beautiful, and really cement the experience.


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