Earlier this summer I had the pleasure of observing the City of London Sinfonia in their series of Lullaby Concert events for under 5s.
The Lullaby Concerts consist of a series of workshops produced by Orchestra’s Live, and run by Claire Bloor. The series has run very successfully in Suffolk, and this year was extended to Essex. Claire visited several children’s centres in Essex over a number of weeks to work with the children, and the visits culminated in an interactive performance with 12 musicians from the orchestra, and fronted by Claire. The 2011 series for suffolk have yet to take place, so my recommendation would be to get involved if you can…
I attended one of the Essex workshops and also the concert performance. The first thing to say about this experience is how incredibly hard Claire worked, and what an assured confident early years music leader Claire is. The workshop was based in a large hall in a children’s centre, and it was towards the end of the series so the children were familiar with all the activities.
There were a range of engaging activities that included an introduction to pitch, rhythm, dynamics, imitation, and improvisation within the workshops, and they were open ended enough to suit the varying ages of the children. There was also a good amount of singing, actions, listening and responding to Claire’s flute playing, and even the obligatory teddy and parachute play. The delivery style was very traditional, just as you would expect an orchestral early years music workshop to be.
It was very challenging for Claire, who had different children turning up each week and different ages at each session, as well as the children’s centre staff not always being in the session. It also seemed a real shame to have such a wonderful opportunity apparently lost on some parents.
The concert it has to be said was much better attended, with children from all the workshops and children’s centres coming together. The orchestra were fabulous and actually large enough to conceivably be called an orchestra. The instrumentalists all seemed to thoroughly enjoy being in the early years environment. The workshop elements came alive in this context, and offered superb blend of the familiar activities in a new and wonderful context of the orchestra. Importantly there was also a good proportion of performing traditional repertoire as part of the concert demonstrating to parents and children alike the joys of being part of the audience at a classical concert.
Overall I would give the Lullaby Concerts a 9/10 – but which could have been a 10/10 if not for the “not particularly bothered” attitude of a couple of children’s centre staff and parents meaning the true value of what was available to them was never fully exploited.
Posted by: karen