The weather wasn’t much – but the music
was great!

Summer’s over and, by the time you get to read this, we will all be back from our summer holidays. The return to school and work is never easy; the holiday memories are fading and the prospect of winter is not attractive. There is nothing quite like music to lift the spirits when feeling low, and there is a great family classical concert to look forward to, this autumn.

My orchestra, the de Havilland Philharmonic, is holding a family concert which is suitable for adults and children of all ages. James Mayhew, the acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, will host the concert, painting pictures (to be projected onto a big screen) about Sinbad the Sailor and the stories of Scheherazade, while we play music with an Arabian influence. (Nielsen – Aladdin Suite – Oriental Festive Dance; Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade.) Held on Sunday 6th November at the superb Weston Auditorium in the de Havilland Campus at the University of Hertfordshire, there will be two performances at 2.00pm and 4.30pm. Tickets are £12 for adults and £5 for children, with the option of a craft session beforehand at 1.00pm and 3.30pm when the children can make their own Aladdin’s lamp. Tickets for that are £2.50 per child. The combination of watching James paint and the impact of a full symphony orchestra is an exhilarating introduction to the concert hall for any child. Box office telephone number is 01707 281127. Don’t miss it!

Finally, I held my own family concert this summer for my piano pupils. Although some of them were only four years old, they delighted in entertaining their parents, grandparents and friends with a varied programme of solos and duets. Unlike people who play an ensemble instrument, such as the violin or flute, pianists are usually lonely people, since they rarely get the opportunity to play with, or for, others. Learning to play in front of ‘a captive’ audience and learning about concert etiquette, builds confidence and gives a sense of achievement. It was good to hear, subsequently, that one of my little students (a shy child) had been able to pluck up the courage to play her piece at the end of term school concert. Her father was amazed.

Quite apart from all the confidence-building, it has been shown that learning to play an instrument has a positive ricochet effect on other academic subjects. The Suzuki style of teaching means that very young children can achieve that spring-board effect even earlier! I always welcome parents who would like to observe how I teach. Do ring me if you would like to do so.

Claire S. Partington

C# Music Tuition
Claire's biography is here