Benjamin Moermond, bassoonist; Xiangyu (Joe) Zhou, clarinettist; and PengPeng Gong, pianist and composer came to our school to present interactive workshops and performances to our students as well as some individual coaching as part of the Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme. The day started off with a workshop for the whole of Year 8, where our students were exposed to high quality live performances and had a chance to talk to professional musicians.
Some students were even brave enough to come up on stage and introduce themselves and their musical background. Later on in the morning, Years 4, 5 and 6 had a chance to learn more about the woodwind family and asked the musicians lots of interesting questions, including ‘Why did you choose the bassoon?” and ‘What does it feel like when you play music?’ Year 5 in particular recognised extracts from 'Peter and the Wolf' as they are currently listening to this music in their music lessons.
Before lunch, eight students had the opportunity for a short master class with the musicians. Our clarinettists Victoria Sze and Evie Gilsenan worked with Joe on improving their technique, whilst Bertina and Cherish Sum had the chance to practise for their upcoming ABRSM exams and gain some top tips from Ben.
Back in Stage 1, Daniel and Nathan Hibbitt, as well as Natarsha and Jacqueline Yan were given some excellent advice about improving their performances from PengPeng. In the afternoon, it was Year 7’s turn to be amazed by the artists’ performances and they recognised extracts from the Rite of Spring, one of the 12 core works that they are currently studying as part of our music curriculum. The day ended with a workshop for Year 3 who enjoyed hearing all the different sounds that the instruments could make.
Alongside these artists, we were also joined by Patrick Jankowski, Manger of Juilliard Global Ventures, who was looking around our school with Miss Rakowski and planning future ventures for our students as part of our Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme.
This is the first alumni visit that we have had and we are looking forward to hosting more phenomenal musicians so that we can expose our students to as many different musical experiences as possible.
Next week, we will have interviews from some of the students who received one to one coaching sessions with the alumni.
Charlie Rakowski, Head of Music