jueves, 2 de marzo de 2017

Music as our identity

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I have been singing with our school choir and living the musical atmosphere of our school, which happens to be pretty vigorous, for the last 18 years or so.
That was when music teacher Miguel Rodríguez came in search of a school where many boys and girls played with music bands.  And he found the school and the musicians.  Our school receives students from surrounding villages whose musical tradition is long and rich.  Most of them have junior bands in which children have the chance to start playing a musical instrument and practice it.  

In our school music rooms and in the assembly hall, you can hear music every weekday all year round.  Whether it is flute sound, choir, piano or a jazz band.
The idea underlying this bustling endeavour is expressed in the front page of our blog (http://coroxunqueira1.blogspot.com.es/) “music as our identity”, where we say that “music can be a subject whose only aim is to fulfil a school curriculum, or become a teaching and leisure activity which goes further than the subject and involves the whole institute community, beyond the actual students and teachers who learn and teach it.  In our school, we chose the second approach, and here is the result:  we play and sing, and get hundreds of students involved in the project.  We started an orchestra and a choir which have been growing and improving.  We started with Christmas concerts in the school, then we performed in neighbouring ones, in the town theatre, in the auditorium, …. We recorded a band cd, and another one with the band and choir.
Future projects? Continue getting our students to play and sing music and, of course, have fun doing it and feel motivated when they see –or better listen to- what they have achieved”.

Some years later, a young music teacher came to the school, Luisa Sánchez, who started a small choir.  That small project started growing and improving quality.  There were some singing courses where students, and a few teachers who have been enthusiastically taking part in the choir activities, were able to improve our vocal technique and performance.  In 2010 the music department prepared a band and choir cd, recorded live in the auditorium, with the participation of 104 students- about 20% of the school total. 

We also organised a couple of exchanges with Ies Galileo, from Valladolid and Ies María Guerrero, from Madrid, which turned out to be two extraordinary experiences for the students.  Rehearsing with other groups, working and singing with them was an amazing and inspiring experience which improved the quality of the group, together with a generation of highly talented musicians, some of whom are now following their music training at professional colleges; and we are still lucky to have them back in some of our performances.  Last year we released our third cd- a double one: choir and band-.  

Our most recent experience took place a month ago in Ourense: Ourencanto, a course organised for schools and conducted by the most talented choir director I know, especially for children, Josu Elberdin (https://www.youtube.com/user/josuelberdin) .  350 children singing and dancing  together on stage, after two days of rehearsal.  A wonderful visual and musical display (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRmWe2VaMOE&app=desktop )

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Our aim?  Follow the same path.  That is, trying to improve and enjoy this wonderful hobby, which has also become a powerful educational tool, as it involves compromise, cooperation, discipline, respect and many other qualities and values which are basic to form fine citizens.

Arturo Neira.


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