• What We Do: Encourage a lasting interest in and love of classical music in young people along with opportunities to take up learning an instrument, working in conjunction with professional musicians playing for the Wye Valley Music Society and other local music organisations. We provide local schools with one-off music programs ranging from workshops to concerts and lectures by professional musicians already performing for Wye Valley Music and by performers specialising in introducing musical instruments to school children. We have worked with 8 schools and over a thousand children already.
• Why We Do It: Although Gloucestershire is a wealthy county, parts of it are not. The Forest of Dean, particularly Cinderford, Lydney, and the smaller village schools, as well as towns in the Wye Valley just over the border such as Chepstow, include some of the more deprived areas of the county and their school budgets reflect this. In addition, national austerity cuts have hit “non-essential” subjects hard including music. The schools we target do not have the resources to provide their pupils with exposure to live music, not to mention classical music. Even our short introductions to classical music can have a positive effect on the children participating in them. Music—listened to and performed—has been shown to contribute to mental wellbeing. Our programmes can do that while providing children with exposure to music by top quality classical musicians and instruments that they would otherwise not have. This not only provides a short term benefit but a potential long term benefit as well, introducing the idea that music can be learned and played by anyone and that it can be a profession. Learning about a range of instruments and a little of what they can do can ignite a spark in children which some may pursue later in life either as amateurs or professionals. We can enhance what local schools are doing with something they cannot afford to do themselves. And we can do this by offering aspiring, professional young musicians a chance to conduct community outreach with their art in a most immediate way—by working with pupils at our local schools when they come to perform for the Wye Valley Music Society.
• 2020 and Beyond: We hope to reach even more schools, enhancing and building on what has worked best in 2018 and 2019; follow up with the schools we have worked with already, rotating our programs to meet the changing needs of our target schools; continue to fund music classes where feasible and explore additional ways of using the wonderful musicians we attract for our concerts for the benefit of local children.
2018 (Funded by an Anonymous Sponsor):
‘The Astaria String Quartet’
St. Briavels (KS2) 50 pupils
Clearwell (KS2) 24 pupils
Ellwood (KS2) 35 pupils
2019 (Funded by The Lark Trust)
‘Travelling by Tuba’
St. Briavels (Nursery, KS1, KS2) 95 pupils
Clearwell (KS1, KS2) 45 pupils
Ellwood (KS1,KS2) 68 pupils
The Lark Trust also partly funded the concert given by students from the Royal Welsh College of Music
2020 (Funded by the Lark Trust)
Clare Hammond - Pianist
Thornwell - Bulwark, Chepstow 200 pupils
The Dell – Bulwark, Chepstow 200 pupils
Pembroke, Chepstow (KS1, KS2) 200 pupils
'Travelling by Tuba’
St. White’s School Cinderford (KS1, KS2) 180 pupils
St. John’s Academy, Coleford (KS1, KS2) 200 pupils
Heart of the Forest Special School, Coleford