If you follow the Two Moors Festival closely, you’ll know that music education in the UK is a cause particularly close to our hearts. We do a lot of work with young people in schools introducing them to the world of classical music and giving them all sorts of wonderful opportunities that may never have come their way otherwise.
And we love to hear about other similar stories going on around the world, in particular this BBC news report about the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, which eight years ago moved their rehearsal space to a secondary school in Tenever, a high rise housing estate in Germany that is renowned for its high poverty and crime levels.
We were unsurprised to hear that since the orchestra came to stay, drop-out rates have fallen to below one per cent and the number of pupils leaving school with the lowest qualifications has also dropped.
The school has been working closely with the orchestra ever since they moved in to bring both professional musicians and students together, be it visiting classes to give workshops and talks or helping both pupils and those living in the housing estate write and perform their own operas.
“Normally you only see an orchestra dressed up for a concert, but the kids mostly see them running around in jeans and find them very approachable. It has broken down the barriers,” co-head teacher Annette Rueggeberg was quoted by the news source as saying.
Hearing this really spoke to us here at the Two Moors Festival – we’re always keen to take classical music out of the traditional concert halls and make it more accessible for young people, challenging perceptions that classical music is somehow elite and not something that everyone can enjoy.
And feedback that we always get from the children that we work with in schools in the south-west (where we’re based) is just how much they enjoy learning about classical music and meeting professional musicians, so many of them coming away inspired to continue and take up an instrument themselves.
We’d love to hear if you’ve got anything like this going on in your local area – share your stories in the comments below.