Monday, 1 February 2021

Making Music: Opera North's online activities for all ages

Opera North's Little School of Music offers fun online musical activities. Photo credit Tom Arber
Photo Tom Arber
With no performances possible at all, and with many children being home schooled, Opera North has announced a new programme of on-line content aimed at keeping children entertained and engaged with music in the home, alongside feelgood initiatives for adults to raise spirits and encourage connection.  

Opera North's Little Music School is aimed at encouraging 5 to 11-year-olds to explore music at home, providing a series of free interactive ‘pick and mix’ videos designed to encourage families to explore the world of music together. The resources have been created using the expertise of the tutors involved in Opera North’s award-wining In Harmony project which has been running for over seven years in primary schools across Leeds. Further information from the Opera North website.

Orchestral Academy Online (available from 15/2/2021) provides free masterclasses and workshops led by members of the Orchestra of Opera North. Each one has been devised especially for young musicians aged 10 to 18, studying an orchestral instrument at Grade 4 or above. The sessions have been designed in collaboration with Opera North’s professional musicians, and they all take place during February half term and will focus on a particular instrument or on an orchestral section, such as woodwind, brass and percussion. Sign up at the website.

ONe-to-ONe (launching mid-February) is designed to bring the thrill of performance into people’s living rooms; a chance for community groups, care homes and anyone in need of some lockdown positivity, to have a song or instrumental piece performed for them live on Zoom by a member of the Chorus or Orchestra of Opera North. The free one-to-ones will need to be booked in advance via the Opera North website.

From Couch to Chorus: Sing into Spring (starts 24/2/2021) follows on from the success of the company's previous From Couch to Chorus projects [In June last year I chatted to Jennifer Sterling, one of the choral directors involved in From Couch to Chorus , see my article]. Over the course of four weeks under the guidance of a professional choral director and with input from the Chorus of Opera North, participants will learn uplifting operatic repertoire from Mozart, Verdi and Dvořák, culminating in a session when the whole virtual chorus will come together online. Full details from the website.

Step into Singing is a free fortnightly online singing workshop being held for people living with persistent pain as part of the Footsteps Festival 2021. Developed in collaboration both with those with chronic pain and specialists in the field, the focus of each session will be on supporting wellbeing and helping people to live well despite pain using breathing techniques, vocal exercises, mindfulness and a healthy dose of singing.

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