Partnership programme

Where:
Edinburgh
Project:

Saturday Music Classes

Contact person:
Eleanor Parker
Activities:
Community, Instrumental, Singing

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Saturday Music Classes at St Mary’s Music School. These are open to all children in and around Edinburgh with no auditions and bursaries to help those families who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access music classes. Around 150 young people attend one of more classes every Saturday while families get together in the café downstairs – there’s a buzz and a real feeling of a community connected through music.

There are three big classes – Dalcroze, Kodály and singing – and lots of smaller instrumental groups for everything from violin and recorder to the clarsach. Children are grouped with other children of a similar standard – it’s not always about age – and this both increases their confidence and allows them to learn from and through each other. Group tuition introduces young people to important life skills too – they have to learn to listen and to wait for their turn.

The youngest children can take part in Dalcroze and Kodály classes. Dalcroze allows them to begin to get a feeling for music through movement, which is great for fine-tuning motor skills in their pre-school year as well as encouraging them to listen, wait and respond as individuals and also as part of a class. Through Kodály, children learn how to use hand signs to represent pitch before starting to invent their own music. Both Dalcroze and Kodály classes are offered to children in their final pre-school year while instrumental group tuition is offered from around eight years old.

The building the school currently occupies doesn’t leave any room to expand so new choir classes, for example, now take place on a Friday in the Cathedral’s Song School. With more space, the world would be their oyster so fingers crossed their plans to relocate work out!

 

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