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Blackbird Lees primary pupils learn violin on free summer course
YOUNG musicians from Blackbird Leys are going to get a free summer course to expand their artistic horizons.
The Blackbird Leys String Band, made up of about 30 children from primary schools in the area, will be able to enjoy a four-day long summer music course.
Children will have the chance to take part in a four-day summer school to fine-tune their skills.
Oxfordshire County Music Service’s deputy head Liz Stock said: “They are in a socially deprived area, so these are children who wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford other music courses or be able to travel to classes because their families don’t have cars.
“It means they aren’t excluded because they can’t pay.”
The course will be open to members of the string band, which has been running for almost two years.
Its members are handed instruments and given free lessons to build up their musical skills.
Mrs Stock said: “We felt these children have given up so much time and they’ve been so brilliant and dedicated we wanted to do this for them. It will be a real benefit to them and extend their arts experience.”
The scheme will have music lessons in the mornings and lessons in arts, dance and drama in the afternoons. It has received more than £4,000 from Blackbird Leys Parish Council for the course to pay for workshop leaders and materials.
For Toby Collier, 10, the violin reminds him of his other school subjects: “I like music because it is fairly mathematical and maths is my favourite subject.”
The Blackbird Leys lad added: “I can play the piano too a bit but I want to learn how to do both.”
Fellow bandmate Luke Hitchcock, 11, plays the violin and attends Pegasus Primary School.
He enthused: “It helps me express my feelings. When I’m quite happy I can play happy songs and if I’m sad I can play sad music. It’s better than other things at school for doing that.”
His twin brother Elliot added: “I like that not many of my friends get to play it. It makes me feel special. The Saturday band helps me get out of things that I don’t like doing like going shopping. It’s good if you don’t like sports then it’s better for you.”
Their classmate Benito Cruz-Guterres, 10, from Blackbird Leys, said that he was looking forward to the chance to learn more music in the summer. He added: “I like how you hold it and really get into it because I hadn’t played it before that. I like learning.”
Children taking part will receive an arts certificate at the end of the course, which will be held at Pegasus Primary School.
Its music teacher Jo Gill said: “A lot of our children go to the string band. It has been brilliant.
“It’s important for them to play with other children and have an experience of playing in a group.
“It’s definitely made a difference to their rate of progress with their instruments.
“It would be really nice for them to have something in the holidays. Some of them might not be going away on holiday so it’s a nice thing for them to look forward to.”
No specific dates have been set aside for the summer school, but it will be taking place in the school holidays.
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