Instrumental sounds echoed through the halls of Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre last week when the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) performed for more than 4800 school students.
Parramatta Marist High School and Northmead Public School were among the 35 schools who attended the eight interactive concerts, held from March 7 to 10, as part of the SSO’s world-class education program.
SSO managing director Rory Jeffes said the Sydney Symphony Orchestra recognises the importance of western Sydney as one of Australia’s fastest growing and most diverse regions.
“As the state orchestra for NSW, we are committed to providing young audiences from this important area the opportunity to experience a professional orchestra with the aim of inspiring them to pursue their own artistic talents,” he said.
As well as watching the SSO perform, students had the opportunity to engage with the orchestra in an interactive workshop-style setting through being invited to ask questions, move along to the music and even conduct the musicians.
The concerts were arranged around the theme ‘Olympian Orchestra’ and showcased music that has accompanied some of the world’s most memorable sporting moments, including the theme from Rocky, Fanfare for the Common Man and Olympic Fanfare.
SSO conductor Toby Thatcher said there are a multitude of studies that suggests access to and involvement in the creative process enhances children’s ability to learn.
“It is our duty to demonstrate what options are available to children – whether that be through music, art or creative writing,” he said.
“This program is not so much about teaching the kids, but more about allowing them the access to see us perform and watch talented people who’ve worked incredibly hard, to look up to as role models.”
Granville’s Holy Trinity Primary assistant principal Kathryn Salkeld said the concert helped students be inspired by musicians.
“Music can help kids develop their creative skills and it gives them another way to express themselves,” she said.
“It’s a great form of kinesthetic learning.”
Year 5 pupil Neha Nair plays the clarinet and said playing a musical instrument helps her relieve stress.
“The show was very interesting and fun,” the 10-year-old said.
“I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about instruments and music that I can apply to myself.”
Rahima Sankoh, 11, started playing the flute this year and said her family was her inspiration.
“My family members play the drum and flute and make music by beatboxing. Music makes me happy,” she said.