I am currently studying music performance at Coventry University and feel extremely passionate about music education and the importance of music practice in schools, particularly for young children. As part of a module in my current study I was offered the opportunity to work with one of AC Academy after school choirs which, after a little research, seemed the perfect chance for me to gain experience with children that have shown interest in music. As soon as I entered the school, I felt welcomed, by both the children and the choir leader (AC Academy Head of Education, Gaynor Larkin), who together helped me understand and learn more about their upcoming performance of Carmina Burana at Warwick Arts Centre on 14 March 2017. For the first week I took my time to settle in and adjust to the music, including the piece O Fortuna which was most impressive to hear from such a young choir.
The following weeks I helped Gaynor head the choir by assisting with warm-ups and keeping separate parts in time. Each week, the students continue to show astounding enthusiasm as well as talent along with their continuing friendly and always entertaining personalities. This week the choir were introduced to a new piece, Veris Laeta Facies, which hosts many challenges, some of which I found difficult myself. Impressively the students took to it straight away – within 10 minutes the song was at a level many conductors would struggle to achieve with an adult choir.
Despite their upcoming performance, Gaynor ensures that the main focus of the session is to make it a fun experience for the students. In order to do so, there is a short break were the children are encouraged to eat and drink before they start the ‘entertainment’ break. This term this consists in AC Academy has got talent which has so far proved an exciting addition to the session – the response has been tremendous. The entertainment also helps build each and every student’s confidence and ensures they enjoy their time with the AC Academy team and me.
Alexandra Morgan, January 2017