NZ String Quartet visit to String Ensemble August 2016

Sep 17, 2016

NZ String Quartet visit to String Ensemble August 2016

Report by TMT Manager Catherine Blomfield:

In 2015 the NZSQ visited Papatoetoe Intermediate School to deliver a workshop to around 120 students from four schools in the Papatoetoe area in South Auckland. All students were learning to play a string instrument.

With a newly formed string extension group of 12 players at Papatoetoe Intermediate School (Octave Up), the decision was made in 2016 to offer this experience exclusively to the intermediate students in order to make it a more intimate and targeted workshop. 36 students attended the workshop with the 12 Octave Up members working with the Quartet while the others observed.

Students were totally engaged in the performances by the NZSQ. They watched and listened intently and showed enthusiastic appreciation at the end of each piece. From the viewpoint of the tutors and me, this was a very satisfying and rewarding response. We were all quite moved by the warmth and sincerity of the exchange between students and Quartet musicians.

The Quartet also worked with Octave Up and gave invaluable advice about how to communicate with an audience and bring vitality to performances. The Quartet performers modelled this approach with great conviction and aplomb which our students found both motivational and inspirational.

At the end of the afternoon several students hung back to talk to Gillian and Monique, their faces alive with intent and all so eager to learn more. This was a standout experience for our students and one which many will remember for a long time to come.

On behalf of all students, string tutors and staff at Papatoetoe Intermediate School, I thank you most sincerely for your visit and for reinforcing the joy of music performance.

Catherine Blomfield Programme Manager Tironui Music Trust

Student feedback was sought in the week following the NZSQ workshop with four questions formulated to gather responses to reflect the impact of the workshop. The following is a collation of responses from 14 students:

What was your favourite part of this visit? Why was this?

  • I liked the way they played, it was inspiring
  • It felt very good and fun plus they played with us too
  • The performance. It was inspiring when the Quartet played with us
  • Listening to the cool techniques
  • When the NZSQ played some of their pieces to us because it was exciting listening to what they can do
  • I got to see how you can play more advanced
  • When they played with the Octave Up people because it felt like they changed it
  • My favourite part was when the NZSQ played their pieces and how they talked about our bow hold, because it made me notice how important it is
  • The NZSQ playing their pieces and them making faces that made me feel excited
  • NZSQ play us the beautiful music, is amazing. I can imagine the picture in my mind
  • When they perform some of their music and I enjoy watching them
  • When they played with us because I felt happy and joy
  • Watching the NZSQ play
  •  Listening to the music because they sounded unique
  • Watching the NZSQ play. It was incredible.

Did the members of the NZSQ inspire you with your own playing? How?

  • They encouraged me to play more and made me feel more lively
  • They encouraged me to practise and enjoy
  • Yes. It encouraged me to practise because if you practise the better you get
  • Yes, they always have fun playing and make pieces their own
  • They inspired me to play with my own style
  • Yes, it inspired me to practice more to achieve what they could do
  • Yes, because it makes me more motivated
  • Yes, because it showed me you can do anything
  • Yes, because they made me think you can do anything if you put your heart into it
  • Yes, it brought me more confidence to playing the violin
  • NZSQ inspire me to practise because I wish to become one of them
  • They inspire me a lot because of how they play together
  • Yes. They made me want to play with more joy!
  • Yes, the sound that the NZSQ created sounded magnificent
  • Yes, by giving tips in how to make it loud and quiet
  • Yes, I liked how the violin 1 made faces according to how the music was. If it was happy she would make a happy face

Tell us something new that you learned from this workshop:

  • I learnt that we should use more energy when we play
  • I learnt that once you move on to harder music it looks hard
  • To play with enthusiasm
  • That every piece of music has its own shape and you add dynamics if it feels right
  • That bowing is super important
  • To make a spooky sound you play on top of the bridge
  • How to play more advanced
  • Practice
  • I learnt about your bow hold and adding all the dynamics when you’re playing and listening
  • Listen to the others who have the melody, add softs and louds while playing for more attention grabbing
  •  I learned how to make soft sound and loud sound
  • Always listen to others while playing and always work together
  • To not grab the bow too hard
  • How to position your fingers on the bow
  • How to make it louder and softer
  • I learnt that if you want the lightest sound play near the fingerboard, not on the fingerboard though

Give three words that describe the impact of this workshop for you personally:

inspiring, amazing, enthusiastic, impressive, great experience, astonishing, superb, engaging, surprising, exciting, awesome experience, big sound, playing better, advanced playing, entertained, motivated, influencing, wonderful, magnificent, cool, fun, amazing, together, joy, lovely, inspirational, incredible.