Continuing our partnership with Cambridge Youth Music, we hosted a Clarinet and Sax Play Day at West Road Concert Hall for young people from the local area as part of the Festival of Ideas 2014. Dan Forshaw from Cambridge Saxophone led the play day, assisted by Ellie McMurray (Cambridge Young Musician of the Year 2006), Jamie Elston (Runner up in Musician of the Year 2006), and Dan’s student Matthew Nixon. Saxophonists Joe Shaw and Dianne Muir from CaMEO were also part of the workshop team, working alongside the young players.
The day started with Dan leading a whole group session playing a number of popular TV theme tunes, including The Simpsons and Family Guy, which got the day off to a lively start. They then moved onto an exciting big band piece called The Chicken, which provided the opportunity for the group to play a big number as an ensemble, as well as providing opportunities for individuals to have a go at improvising.
In the afternoon the players took part in a creativity workshop exploring the blues scale, which gave them an opportunity for more freedom of expression and a chance to experiment with their instrument a little more. The group started off together, with Dan explaining the basis principles and structure of the 12 bar blues, then practicing this as a whole group whilst he improvised over the top.
They then split off into smaller groups to learn some riff patterns and then improvise around them. Although some individuals were a little uncertain to start with, they really started to gain confidence after having the opportunity to practice improvising in a smaller group. It was fantastic to see some of the young players really flourish.
Later in the afternoon they had the opportunity to show off their achievements, to family, friends and the general public in a performance showcase of their work. The Showcase featured individuals having a chance to show off their improvisation skills in The Chicken and a chance to hear both Ellie and Jamie perform some beautiful pieces on the clarinet and saxophone. All in all it was a fantastic day for both clarinet and sax players both to develop their skills and embrace the opportunity of performing on the West Road Concert Hall stage.
"Just to say a huge thank you for the clarinet and sax day last Thursday. My daughter had a great day and really enjoyed it..... a wonderful opportunity. Many thanks for organising and holding such a super event."
Parent of Play Day attendee