Having a blast: youngsters get chance to work with BSO thanks to music making project

Bournemouth Echo: MUSIC MAKERS: Children of Heathlands Primary School with the BSO’s community musician Andy Baker MUSIC MAKERS: Children of Heathlands Primary School with the BSO’s community musician Andy Baker

AN inspiring music making project launched by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra celebrated its first year with a debut performance from Heathlands Primary School’s Ukulele ensemble.

BSO Blast, the Orchestra’s three year education and participation programme, has reached 12,000 participants in its first year and aims to reach a total of 24,000 young people by 2015.

It offers children and young people the opportunity to work alongside the professional musicians of BSO.

The JP Morgan Chase Foundation has provided £140,000 to support the BSO Blast project in its first two years.

As part of BSO Blast’s roll out of tailor-made activities to schools in the region, it paired up with Bournemouth and Poole’s music education hub SoundStorm to deliver the project to Year 6 students at Heathlands Primary School in West Howe.

The project has seen children from Heathlands composing, playing and performing in an ensemble supported by an expert music educationalist from BSO.

This level of musical achievement would not have been possible without the support of BSO Blast and its partners.

Heathlands Primary School has formed a 30-strong ukulele ensemble with workshops led by the BSO’s Community Musician, Andy Baker.

Deputy headteacher Jackie Huggett said some of the school’s most challenging children have been involved in the lessons and added: “On the whole they have been able to integrate successfully, fully enjoying the benefits of being of a large group with a common purpose.”

And BSO chief Executive Dougie Scarfe added: “Witnessing Heathlands Primary School and the local community benefiting in such a positive way is a testimony to the power of music and making music accessible to all.”

Heathlands, like many other schools, does not have access to a specialist music teacher and few of its pupils have musical instruments at home.

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