During the JSO’s ‘Carnival’ concert week, 22 local young musicians took part in an intensive education project led by members of the JSO percussion section.  Russell Abraham, James Bower, and visiting marimba soloist Eva Hsieh worked with the youngsters on a variety of percussion skills, including Samba drumming, rhythmic improvisation, and four-mallet tuned percussion technique.

The range of age in the group was from 10-18 and there was a mixture of experienced percussion players and complete beginners. The tutors were all impressed by how quickly the group gelled together and how enthusiastic the young musicians were to get involved in the various activities.

During the two days of workshops the time was split between working as one large group and splitting into smaller groups for more intensive training on the various aspects of percussion playing. The end result was that the group had learnt enough Samba patterns and structures to perform a parade through St Helier on Friday lunchtime, and they had also learnt to play an arrangement of the famous song ‘La Bamba’ using tuned and untuned percussion, all from memory and without using any musical notation!

The success of this project in bringing a group of young people together under the umbrella of the JSO and giving them such an enjoyable and educational experience was highlighted during the ‘Carnival’ concert, when the group performed to a high level and were greatly appreciated by the JSO audience.

We would like to thank all those who took part in the project directly, and all those who work tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of the JSO to ensure that such events can take place.

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