An inspiring musical gathering
At the end of January we were proud to present Making Music Together. This collaborative project brought together young musicians from international schools across Malaysia for a rewarding day of music making. Ryan Lewis, our Malaysia National Consultant, reports. On Friday 30 January, 130 students and staff from schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya gathered at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre. The schools involved were the Alice Smith School, Garden International School, Nexus International School and The International School @ ParkCity. Together they formed an orchestra and choir to take part in a stimulating day of rehearsing and performing. It was an exciting and busy afternoon in which the choir and orchestra worked both separately and together in the theatre and surrounding studios. The scores and parts were sent to the schools in advance and it was great to involve students of different ages and levels, who could play and sing together with their peers and teachers, and with musicians from other schools. For Sze Lynn, in Year 10 at Garden International School, ‘it was a great experience to collaborate with other musicians’, while 13-year-old Nicholas Ng, from Alice Smith School, welcomed the ‘support of senior students and teachers’. Rehearsals were led by our special guest, Mustafa Fuzer Bin Nawi, Music Director and Conductor of Malaysia’s National Symphony Orchestra. The repertoire was varied and challenging and the students found it enriching to work with a professional conductor. This was something that both Tasuku Noguchi and Wongeh Foo Jeng, from Years 12 and 13 at Garden International School, particularly enjoyed. The day finished with an evening concert, attended by teachers, families and friends, in which orchestra and choir performed under the baton of our guest conductor. Everyone rose to the challenge of rehearsing and performing together. ‘It was an intensive afternoon with some very challenging repertoire, particularly Pirates of the Caribbean,’ commented 13-year-old Mervyn Martin from Alice Smith School. ‘We enjoyed every minute of it!’ In addition to popular film scores, pieces and songs covered a range of genres, from classical to contemporary as well as songs from across the world. The popular Malaysian classic Getaran Jiwa was featured and there were even echoes of Christmas! Overall, the project was a great success. All the students applied themselves with such commitment and enthusiasm throughout the day and many came away feeling even more motivated about their music making and learning. Wency Gooi, from Year 10 at Garden International School, left feeling ‘inspired to practise more and improve’, while 14-year-old Sarah Chok from The International School @ ParkCity liked the way the day ‘encouraged a passion in the art of music’. Special thanks must also go to the staff for their input, support, and organisational help. Tim Costello, Head of Performing at Nexus International School, summed up the day: ‘The learners from our school gained so much from working with the other young musicians at this wonderful event and made many new friends. We are all looking forward to participating again next time.’ In addition to giving a platform for the young musicians involved, this event was designed to promote ensemble playing and choral singing, activities which make such a valuable contribution to a rounded music education. It was also very much about encouraging collaboration between school music departments and other organisations. Making Music Together provided a dynamic start to the year in Malaysia. Congratulations to all the young musicians involved!
This article was originally featured in the March 2015 edition of Libretto, ABRSM's magazine.