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Scottish Borders Community Orchestra

Meet the Music in Nursery Project

YMI Informal Sector funded a pilot project involving Scottish Borders Community Orchestra to take orchestral instruments to Scottish Borders nursery classes in October 2008


In June 2008 schools in the Borders region with nursery classes were approached to be involved in the pilot scheme. There was considerable interest from the schools with 29 out of 46 wishing to be involved.

The project had 4 nursery class places available with 4 quite different groups being chosen: 1 small rural nursery; 1 town school in Galashiels, the largest of the Borders towns and two medium sized nurseries in a smaller town, Jedburgh, where one of the teachers was pleading for some help with music.

Lis Dooner (professional Flautist with SCO and animateur) was appointed to lead the project. SBCO had been working with Lis on a previous music programme for primary school's over the past two years.

Meet the Music

The programme provided initial training to Lis Dooner, 4 musicians from the SBCO and nursery staff by Vanessa King, a specialist from the London Symphony Orchestra, to provide them with the skills required in providing music activities to the 0-5 age group.

Lis Dooner and finger puppets Piano Pete and Forte Fred

4 weekly visits of 45 minute sessions were then set up with Lis and two players, usually one string and one woodwind.  These sessions saw the children grow in confidence, experiment with different sounds and learn to respect each other's contributions using simple percussion and tuned percussion instruments.  Helen Longmuir, General Manager of the SBCO, said that the children's "ability to remember details about the orchestral instruments was remarkable." 

In the fourth session, parents were invited along to watch so they could try out the ideas with their children at home.

Feedback from the nursery teachers was very positive and they felt that they really benefited from being part of the training day with Vanessa and say that they have more confidence to use music in class following ideas gained from Lis and SBCO player visits.

The programme will continue with sessions in two more schools after Easter. 

SBCO Website: www.sbco.org.uk

Related internet links
* Scottish Borders Community Orchestra
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