Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Music to Our Ears

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Music to Our Ears

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@trinitymirror.com

HOW classical music is transforming the lives of children is to feature on TV.

e Geordie Symphony School focuses on the young pupils of Hawthorn Primary School in Elswick, Newcastle, who have been taking part in one of the most ambitious social projects the country has ever seen.

One of just four In Harmony projects nationally, it has the aim of changing young lives by teaching them how to play music.

And with parents, children and teachers on board, it has been delivering groundbreaking results. Two years on from never having picked up an instrument, the children are seen performing in a world premiere at Sage Gateshead.

What's more, seven youngsters have been identied as having exceptional potential which may never have been discovered.

e documentary describes the school as one of the most deprived in England, in one of the poorest areas with few opportunities and struggling families.

But it now boasts two classical symphony orchestras.

Music tuition starts at reception with the children given their own instruments at the age of four or ve.

To t in tuition time, head teacher Judy Cowgill said: "We cut lunchtime down by half an hour. We didn't tell them and they never noticed."

ere are 23 languages spoken at the multi-cultural school, but music has become a language that unites, not least for nine-year-old Daniel whose stammer had made him withdrawn.

He is one of three youngsters whose story is followed in detail in the half-hour documentary.

Born to refugee parents from Zimbabwe, Daniel has a new-found condence and discipline through learning the violin.

Another violin enthusiast is Shannon whose young mother said: "I thought there was no way she would stick with it but she loves it."

en there's 12-year-old Kieron who lives with his grandparents and is seen talking knowledgeably about music while his gran asks: "What is he talking about? …

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