Victoria College is aiming to get every single one of its Year 7 students playing a musical instrument at grade one level by the end of the year - and there are even plans to get teachers involved too.
The newly-launched Victoria College Orchestral Challenge (VCOC) is a scheme that aims to get the secondary school’s youngest students enthusiastic about playing instruments.
Every boy is paired with an instrument “that genuinely sparks their interest” and given weekly 30-minute lessons to get them up to grade one by July next year.
Pictured: The students taking part in the challenge are aiming to get their grade one by the end of the academic year (Victoria College).
Speaking to Express about his ambitions for the project, Director of Music Francis Murton, who is leading the department in the challenge, commented: “Our aim is to get every student taking part, playing music and finding an instrument that resonates with them – something, that genuinely sparks their interest.
“The VCOC sets the bar at Grade 1 because in our experience, our students thrive when they’re focused towards a specific goal. There is also the benefit and fun of all being on the same journey together, and sharing the progress and ups and downs with their peers.”
So far, the Music Director says, the response from students has been promising.
“All 104 of our Year 7 boys are taking part, learning a range of instruments including: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, euphonium, trombone, violin, cello and double bass.
Pictured: The students are getting free lessons in a range of musical instruments.
“The boys have taken up their new instruments with great gusto, and we’ve received great feedback and support from our parents and staff. The VCOC will soon be extended to staff, who are keen to get musical and in turn, role-model the spirit of lifelong learning.”
To check in with how the students of the inaugural Orchestral Challenge are progressing with their instruments, the department is putting on a concert on 5 December where the budding musicians can demonstrate how far they’ve come after a term of lessons.
Mr Murton hopes that this initiative will grow within VCJ as well as in other schools around the island.
“As a school, Victoria College is wholeheartedly passionate about music, and so would love to see other Jersey schools get inspired and initiate musical programmes such as this.
“The programme was first created and run successfully in the UK, and when I joined Victoria College last year, I thought it would be great to roll it out here too. The school and I recognise the importance of music as a part of a curriculum which supports and develops the whole child. We would welcome other schools to come and see the programme in action, and consider how it might work for them.”
The school is also looking for a sponsor to ensure that the pupils starting at VCJ next year can get the same opportunity.
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