Dame Fanny Waterman will visit primary school children taking part in a piano-led education project in March in the lead-up to the world famous Leeds International Piano Competition (29 August – 16 September 2012).
Around 1,500 Leeds primary school children will take part in this interactive music initiative, aimed at introducing young children (5 – 11 year olds) to the world of the piano, which is a collaboration between the Leeds International Piano Competition and Live Music Now – a UK organisation who train young professional musicians to work with groups of pupils who do not often have the opportunity to engage with live performance.
The participating Leeds schools are: Beechwood, Bramhope, Greenside, Kippax Ash Tree, Little London, St Antony's Catholic, St Benedict's Catholic, St Nicholas RC, Talbot and Wykebeck Primary Schools and Cockburn High.
The schools will each have two visits from contrasting musical ensembles – one from a classical duo and the other from a jazz trio – each ensemble includes a pianist.
The Classical Keys workshop will feature The Glendower Duo (piano and clarinet) and Duo Zingara (piano and violin) while the Piano Grooves workshop will feature a Manchester-based jazz trio, theAndrew Stamatakis-Brown Trio, with a line-up of piano, drums and bass. The musicians will explore repertoire covering more than 400 years of music, from Bach to Ragtime, Mozart to Funk and will give pupils an opportunity to experience live music of the highest quality as well as participate in performances, workshops and active listening.
In addition to this musical journey, during some of the workshop sessions, pupils will find out how a piano works as they observe musicians take a piano apart. This allows them to see the hammers, strings and pedals, which will help to give them a greater understanding of the instrument and its capabilities.
The Leeds International Piano Competition, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2013, has had the chance to work with primary schools in Leeds on several occasions and welcomes the opportunity to again engage with so many young people in the run-up to the 2012 Competition. The Competition is held every three years and has seen many great pianists to prominence.
Dame Fanny Waterman, Chairman/Artistic Director of the Leeds International Piano Competition and also a Patron of Live Music Now, hoped that the pupils will enjoy the experience of playing instruments, finding out more about the piano and listening to performances and that some would be interested in learning to play the piano.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for children to hear live music at such close quarters by fantastic young performers at the start of their careers. I hope that these workshops will inspire them and help develop a love for music which will remain with them for the rest of their lives."
Sarah Derbyshire, Executive Director of Live Music Now, a partner in this initiative, explained how projects of this nature are advantageous to everyone: She said: "These sessions give young children an introduction to the piano and new genres of music. Music inspires children to express themselves creatively as well as re-enforcing life skills. It offers enormous benefits, drawing out responses from hard to reach children, providing ways for children to communicate in new ways and participate in activities at a level that meets their abilities and interests.
"This project also finds a way of engaging all members of the school including teachers, other staff and parents and introduces them to the finest piano competition in the country which is right on their doorstep."
This project has been funded by a grant from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts.