Classrooms around West Waterford have been alive with the sound of music last week (28/01 – 01/02). Children at Bunscoil Bhothar na Naomh, Lismore, Ballyduff National School, Aglish National School, Scoil Mhuire, Tallow and Cappoquin Primary School have benefitted from opera music workshops provided by outstanding classical musicians considered some of the very best in Ireland. The members of the group are all highly experienced musicians, and are in constant demand as performers both at home and abroad. The roving troupe, known as the ‘Mobile Music Machine’, with soprano, Sandra Oman, cellist Gerald Peregrine, violinist Lynda O’Connor and violinist Andreea Banciu who plays the viola aim to foster a sense of music appreciation within local primary school children, their families and the wider community.
Peregrine went on to say, “The content of the workshops includes introduction to the instruments, via demonstration and comparison and includes their historical background. Introduction to the core elements of music, rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, tempo. An explanation of the universality of music and its power as a tool for cross cultural communication. We also explain how certain chords used by composers effect our emotional response to music. We encourage the children to verbalize their emotional response to music in a group setting.”
The feedback from the school children and their teachers has been overwhelming. Sandra Oman, who appears in this year’s ‘Don Pasquale’ at Blackwater Valley Opera Festival reported, “Things are going brilliantly here in Blackwater Valley. Today, after the very first piece of music, one boy from 4th class declared “I’m gobsmacked! Later, when we ran over time with a class, into their lunch break, and we apologised, explaining that they would still have a full break, another boy said “I’d rather listen to you than have my lunch! This is one of the most rewarding working experiences of my life. We are so grateful to the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival for making this possible.”
Violinist, Lynda O’Connor, went on to explain, “Each workshop is age related, and is specifically designed to engage with the children emotionally and intellectually. The classes are highly interactive and last approximately 50 minutes. All classes are free to the schools.”
The intention is that the musicians of Mobile Music Machine will continue their collaboration with the philanthropic arm of the Blackwater Valley Opera Festival to provide more music workshops to additional schools in the area later in the year.
For more information on Mobile Music Machine workshops contact Fiona Howard firstname.lastname@example.org and for FREE SCHOOLS’ TICKETS to School’s’ Performances on Tuesday, 28th and Friday, 31st May – see also our education section