Adopt-a-Player, the Hallé’s flagship education project, embraces a philosophy to music education and the arts which is based on establishing long-term relationships and encouraging direct interaction between professional musicians, young people, teachers, community leaders and parents.
The project has been conceived to introduce children, mainly from inner-city primary schools, to the Hallé by offering them the opportunity to attend Hallé concerts at The Bridgewater Hall. For many of the children this will be their first experience of attending a concert and visiting the Hall, which is one of the UK’s finest music venues.
The project, usually involving students from one high school and three of its feeder primaries, takes place at least once a term in one of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs. Stage one of the project is based around the actual concert visit and commences with an INSET session for the participating teachers and musicians to prepare them for the project.
This is followed by a pre-concert workshop visit to the school by its ‘adopted’ musician, when the young people will meet their player for the first time. During this visit the player will perform to their class or ensemble, tell them about their instrument and the Hallé, describe what life is like as a professional musician and explain what happens at an orchestral concert. With guidance from the Hallé musician, pupils will also start to look at a piece of they will hear in the concert visit and begin to create their own version of it.
Schools will attend an afternoon performance at The Bridgewater Hall where their adopted player will greet them in the foyer before the concert starts. This will be a chance for pupils to see their adopted player perform and may be their first concert experience. Each child also receives a specially designed concert programme to reinforce the information that has been imparted during the musician’s visit, providing them with some activities on which they can focus after the concert.
The second stage of the project involves two further visits to the school, during which the Hallé musician continues to help the students create and rehearse their own compositions. Each school focuses on a different section of the set work, incorporating themes into their new creative piece.
At the end of the process there is a culmination when all the schools congregate, usually at the participating high school. Each class or ensemble share their new music with each other before performing to an audience of families and friends, interspersed with performances provided by the quartet of Hallé musicians.
Adopt-a-Player is generously supported by Manchester Airport, New Charter Group, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall and the Stoke on Trent Festival.
Hallé Education also runs a number of Meet-a-Musician projects throughout each academic year. These generally take place in areas further afield than Greater Manchester and involve only the first workshop and a visit to a Hallé concert or rehearsal in an out-of-town venue.
This term almost twenty schools in Nottingham and surrounding areas will take part in the Meet-a-Musician project before the Hallé’s Now Hear This! concert in partnership with Nottingham Royal Concert Hall. This year, pupils will be exploring ‘The Galop’ from Rossini’s William Tell Overture before hearing the orchestra play it in full. Other works in the programme will include extracts from Stravinsky’s The Firebird, Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet, film themes by John Williams and a specially commissioned piece written by Nottingham Royal Concert Hall’s Music Programme Manager, Neil Bennison, and Hallé Education Director, Steve Pickett.
Last year’s event with Nottingham focused on Bernstein’s ‘Times Square’ from On the Town, while in Stoke-on-Trent, two primary schools explored Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances. Both classes had the opportunity to hear the Hallé perform at The Victoria Hall in Hanley.
Adopt-a-Player in Oldham
May 2017 saw the culmination of the Adopt-a-Player project in Oldham where pupils from four schools created their own version of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5. Blessed John Henry Newman RC College hosted the event and kicked off the evening with a performance from their senior choir before handing over to the school ensembles and their adopted Hallé musicians. Each school took a completely unique approach, incorporating both classroom percussion and the pupils’ own instruments to perform alongside their adopted player.
In June we will celebrate our final Adopt-a-Player project of the season, with schools from Bury focusing on Smetana’s epic symphonic poem, ‘Vltava’.
Occasionally Hallé Education will invite pupils from the RNCM String Leadership Training Scheme and the University of Manchester to take part in a project within Greater Manchester. They will be partnered with an adopted player to work alongside them in coaching pupils and performing as part of the concert interludes. This gives the students valuable experience of the orchestra’s education programme, delivering workshops and becoming a role model for the young people as well as performing demanding chamber music.
For more information on Adopt-a-Player or any other Education projects, please contact the Education team on firstname.lastname@example.org
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