We knew that setting out to establish an Open Orchestra in a main stream school would lead to some questions and present some challenges. We think that both of those things are useful. Arguably, some young people who attend main stream school and receive learning support are as excluded, maybe even more excluded, from the opportunity to join an orchestra than those in "special schools". Some of the barriers are the same, some are different, but ultimately inclusion is inclusion and equal access is equal access.
Our first term has perhaps enabled us to formulate some questions:
What is an orchestra? What does being a member of that orchestra look like? What is an instrument? What is repertoire? What is original work? What is performance?
What is open? What is inclusive?
And maybe none of these questions have or need a right answer, maybe the answers should be open â maybe that is inclusion.
Some thoughts from the conversation Dominic, Tom and Lucy had with the group in this weekâs after-school session:
Whatâs an Orchestra?
A large collection of instrumentalists, bigger than a band, playing a selected piece. Having listened to a range of repertoire and been particularly interested in John Cageâs 4â3ââ ... maybe an orchestra is more than that, maybe it can extend to include "the audience" and people who arenât sat with an instrument.
Whatâs an instrument?
A thing that makes a sound that you can control.
Is Clarion an instrument?
What orchestral instruments would you like to include/ explore in our piece?
Violin, flute, trumpet, cello.
Pieces and ideas that got a positive reaction:
In the hall of the mountain king, James Bond â Dr. No, Supermario theme (could we orchestrate it?).
Could we change these sessions to happen during a school day?
No, if it was timetabled time yr 10-11 wouldnât be able to attend and if it was at lunch time it would only be 45mins and weâd have to skip lunch. After school means more people can chose to join in.
Weâre really pleased with how this is unfoldingâ¦ more to come next termâ¦
Written by Jane Williams, Published by Dom Palfreman