The value of taking part in a music workshop

Last week, we were joined by Sally Aiko, a student from Swanage School, who spent the week with the team finding out more about what we do as a Music Hub. Having recently attended the Broadstone Music and SoundStorm ‘String Orchestra Day’ we asked her to blog about the day

Getting up at 7am in the morning on the last weekend of your holiday takes a lot of willpower.

But with the Broadstone Music Series’ Strings Day to look forward to… it did the job. After all, working with a talented, passionate, experienced conductor from another country, who has managed to learn your language within 6 weeks isn’t something you get to do every day!!

Roberto Fantiel

Roberto Fantiel is a conductor who came all the way from Italy to take part in our string day! He brought his culture and passion with him, inspiring me and all the other young musicians there.

The day began with a warming welcome from Alison Kay and an introduction to Roberto Fantiel, who gave us a little talk about his background, and his plans for the day. We were also introduced to Andrew Foan, and excellent singer, and our translator for the day. They let us have a little chat after this, to ease the air, and then the rehearsal began.

We started the morning by playing some scales to get to know who we were playing with, and what he wanted us to play like. Communication between the conductor and ensemble were very important for every note change, as it’s not easy for 30 musicians to play a scale exactly the same. Then, we were given the opportunity to play some traditional Italian music which we don’t have in this country. The slow first movement gave us an idea of what the day was going to be like, and reminded us the importance of communication as a section in an ensemble.

Why should you play in an ensemble?

Playing in ensembles is just as or even more important than playing solo. This is the same in music as in any other every day activity. Having more than one idea about how to do something is always going to make your task turn out more interesting. When you play in an ensemble, you can extend your ideas on how the music should be played, as you won’t only have your own knowledge on the piece, but also other people’s thoughts and opinions. All members of an ensemble are as important and inspiring as each other, and listening to each other’s ideas always gives an outstanding result in the overall performance!

Improving your sound

When you play in larger ensembles, you also have to learn how to play as a section. Roberto spent time working on this skill with us throughout the day, allowing all the young musicians to learn something from this experience. We spent a lot of the time trying to create a unique section sound, one where you couldn’t hear every individual player but one layer of fluffy sound. After every section achieved this, we managed to create a magical performance for the audience.

Run-through

The day ended with a run-through of all our pieces, which gave an excellent result to all the effort we put into the day. Roberto thanked us at the end of the day, and told us that he hopes there will be future plans following the string day.

We all learnt so much from this experience, and I personally discovered a new style of playing… maybe an Italian style?