Our schools' workshops offer the following:
  • the excitement of hearing a live orchestral performance
  • an introduction to and demonstration of the instruments of the orchestra
  • a chance to meet musicians and learn how music makes their lives richer and more fulfilling
  • an opportunity to learn about the role of the conductor (some children will even be able to try out this key role)
Our schools' workshops are designed to give children the opportunity to get to know the instruments of the orchestra and experience live music performance - but above all we aim to communicate the richness and joy music brings to our lives.
The session begins with the ensemble playing a short movement from a symphony.  Our musical director, Richard Gonski, then explains who we are and encourages the children to respond to the music, perhaps by asking what colours the music conjures up to them, or what scenes it evokes in their imagination.  He talks about the love we all have for music and how it has added excitement, purpose, fun and friendships to our lives.  He also shows how orchestral colour and harmony are created by combining the sounds of different instruments.
The next part of the workshop involves individual members of the ensemble introducing their instrument and the orchestral family it belongs to, and explaining how it produces its distinctive tone.  They play a short tune to demonstrate the character and qualities of the instrument.
The final element generates real excitement, as some of the children get to have a go at conducting, having been shown how to use speed and magnitude of gesture to communicate their musical intentions.  The orchestra mirrors their movements in an improvised way, producing loud, crashing chords to ethereal muted sounds, as appropriate.  The pupils are thrilled to be given this maginal, musical power for a few moments, and it is heart-warming to watch.