Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Annual Concert

I am very tired today and this is the reason why! I started this string group from scratch 3 years ago. They have all been taken from 4 primary schools that I teach at through the week. It is only 4 of the 11 schools I visit throughout the week but these 4 now holds a special place in my teaching.

Most of these children had never seen a violin up close and even more had never heard of a cello. Now we are able to put a 50 strong junior string orchestra together that is able to sustain an hours worth of music. It really is quite an acheivement and none more so than in the children themselves. They have worked very hard to acheive what they have and it has now become a desired activity for many of the children in the schools.
I was very fortunate to be asked by an inspiring Primary Headteacher, who had the insight to realise what music could bring to children, to set up a programme of string teaching in the 4 schools. She managed to get money from the Social Inclusion Partnership (SIPS) which enabled me to buy string instruments for the schools. This was quite unique in todays climate of wasting money on instant fixes such as computers and computer games. She wanted something that would last for years if not generations and so it began. It has taken a lot of hard work, none more so than when I was attempting to teach violin as well as cello, but when I heard them all together on Friday I knew it was all worth it. Thankfully I can now call on a specialist violin teacher to help me and it has made a difference. I would still like more help but I know that these things take a long time and I am in for the long haul.
I wouls love to replicate this set-up in my other Primary Schools but I know that you do not, for one, come across many Headteachers like the one I have had the good fortune to meet and that without the desire of others it will be very difficult. I would never give up on it happening because I get so much from it but I can always look at these photos and know that I have begun to acheive something very significant in my life.

If you would like to see some more photographs, click here

Thursday, June 15, 2006

West-End Festival

Some photos of the first of the summer festivals here in Glasgow. This the West-End Festival
It's now in it's 10th year and has grown year on year to become a pretty large festival now. The parade started in the Botanic Gardens with the usual array of Dragons.

Unfortunately one had to fight it's way through the copius number of trees in this beautiful park

Others just joined the parade!!

But Kate knew where to find the fun!!

And survivied
to tell the tale!!

It was a really good day and showed Glasgow at it's best with the Byres Rd. being closed to traffic and being taken up with bands, street musicians and other entertaing acts. I wish Glasgow could maintain the festive atmosphere the whole year round but on the other hand we would probably all become complacent and some would even get sick of it. There is no pleasing everybody!!