Endangered Instruments Day

  • Millfield Prep pupil learning the viola on Endangered Instruments Day
  • Millfield Prep pupil learning the bassoon on Endangered Instruments Day
  • Millfield Prep pupils learning the tuba on Endangered Instruments Day
  • Millfield Prep pupils learning the trombone on Endangered Instruments Day

On Saturday, we had our first Music workshop of the 2019/2020 academic year. Entitled ‘Endangered Instruments’, we were treated to demonstrations on four instruments, which music departments up and down the country are keen to encourage more uptake of – bassoon, viola, trombone and tuba!

We were fortunate enough to have the expertise of five outstanding musicians leading us through a wonderful morning of music – Pierce Brown on the viola (Assistant Director of Music, Co-Curricular at Millfield), Luke Gilbert introducing the trombone (Head of Brass at Millfield), Eleanor Little (professional bassoonist), Jo Sykes introducing lower brass (teacher of brass at Millfield Prep) and Steve Sykes on the tuba (one of the finest tubists in the country, visiting instrumental professor at HM Royal Marines Band, tuba tutor to the National Youth Band of Great Britain, Wales, Switzerland and Sweden and low brass tutor at Bristol University).

The workshop began with the professional musicians performing an exciting and specially commissioned performance of The Muppets theme. This was followed by workshops on each of the four instruments, which included the sound of a bassoon reed orchestra, novice viola players learning two pieces in the space of ten minutes, creating a trombone from a hosepipe, a fascinating insight into circular breathing (although this will probably be the last time spitting water is ever permitted in the Recital Hall!) and finally 30 novice pupil trombonists and tubists giving a rousing performance of ‘I Feel Good’ to end the workshop in style.

There was a great deal of interest from the pupils attending the workshop, with over 25 signing up for a taster lesson and we hope will result in increased uptake of these wonderful and often overlooked instruments. The end of the workshop saw the pupils and parents treated to a wonderful array of croissants, shortbread and fruit platters – a welcome treat after a wonderful morning of music.

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