At the Youth Music Centre a great deal of care is given to placing children in the appropriate orchestra or chamber group. Examination results are just one of the criteria that are taken into consideration. I would like to point out that there is often quite a big difference between a child’s ‘independent’ instrumental/orchestral skills and their prepared work. We invariably find that children’s orchestral level can be two grades below their examination standard and for that reason we assess our students every year. However, I would be more than happy to listen and assess anyone more often if asked.
All children in orchestras and groups are given music to take home and practice. I would like to emphasise the benefits to both the student and the group that a few minutes of personal practise can make.
Introduction to orchestral playing
11.45 am Gregory Emfietzis
This is a string ensemble mostly made up of children 6-8 years of age. The standard of playing ranges from children who have just left their first year group lessons on violin, viola and cello to children who have taken their Grade 2/3
Preparatory First Orchestra
9.30 am Fiona Nisbett
This is an orchestra for string and wind players mostly made up of children around the ages of 8-11 and the standard of playing ranges from children who have a good working knowledge of 3rd position i.e. Grades 3-4 on the violin or viola and the cellists should be Grade 3 upwards. Wind players should be Grade 3 upwards.
11.00 am Nigel Goldberg
This is a string orchestra made up of children who are usually about Grade 5 standard on violin and viola and Grade 4 on cello. By this stage they should have a good degree of ‘instrumental’ knowledge in all the requirements for those grades.
10.15 am Nigel Goldberg
In the Junior Orchestra (for string and wind players) we aim to work on more advanced repertoire and therefore grade 6 is expected from violinists and a good Grade 5 violists and cellists. Some of the repertoire includes wind players and members of the advanced wind ensemble (Grade 6 and above) take part in this orchestra on an occasional basis. Practise parts are always given it is of great benefit if the children look at them during the week. Some children might need to take their music to their teachers for a little extra help.
9.00 am Nigel Goldberg
The children in this orchestra usually have achieved Grade 7 – 8 on the violin and Grade 6 on viola or cello. We play some very challenging repertoire including works especially written for us and personal practice of the parts is certainly necessary.