Thursday, 27 February 2014

A visit to Derwent Vale Primary School

We had a last-minute booking recently, to help a school which was doing a whole week of music-related activities.   It seemed like exactly the right thing for us to do, to help promote live music.

Only four out of the six of us were able to be involved, so arranging some of the music for a quartet was required.   We knew that this was going to be a half-hour-long gig, and that the audience would include children from age 4 or 5 up to 11 years old, so it was going to have to be a varied programme full of short pieces, to allow for possible limited attention span in the younger members of the audience.

We played a sort of 'potted history' of music, starting with a 13th century Ductia, followed by 14th century Trotto, and so on, with each century represented by one or two piece of music.  Here's the programme:

Ductia  (anon)   1200s
Trotto   (anon)   1300s
Scaramella (Josquin des Pres)   1400s
Tallis's Canon   (Tallis)   1500s
Spagnoletta (Praetorius)   1600s
Ha Ha (Rathgeber)    1700s 
Rondo (from 2nd Terzetto by James Hook)   early 1800s
The Blue Danube Waltz (Strauss ... just a little bit of it!)   late 1800s
The Golliwog's Cakewalk  (Debussy … just a little bit of it!)  1900s
Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter films (John Williams)   2000s

The children in our audience were wonderful!    They were very well-behaved, sat still and listened with all their ears, and joined in where we needed them.   The piece by Rathgeber has places in the music where one has to shout ''Ha Ha'', or whistle twice, or stamp feet twice, and they obliged very enthusiastically, being directed as to which was required, and when, by Liz, who held up signs for them.

I think it's fair to say that we would welcome the chance to do this sort of thing again, for other schools, not necessarily as part of a special week of music.   Please contact Ally at  if you would like us to visit your school!