Music school offers free brass instrument taster sessions to youngsters

St Mary's Music School is offering free taster sessions for lower brass instruments in Edinburgh and Elgin.

Youngsters are being given the opportunity to try out the trombone, tenor, tuba and more in a free instrument try-out day in Edinburgh and Elgin.

St Mary’s Music School is hoping to expand local access to music within education and raise interest in lower brass instruments as part the ‘Lower Brass Days’ masterclasses.

The school is welcoming school aged children at any level – from beginner to expert – to come along and give it a go in the hopes of encouraging more young people to study lesser available brass instruments.

Instrument manufacturers, Buffet Crampon, will be supplying brass instruments on the day for children to try out.

Benjamin Thomas is a student at St Mary’s Music School and studies the tenor trombone.

Benjamin Thomas hopes other young people will get the same opportunity to try out a brass instrument like he did.STV News

He’s been playing the instrument for seven years after realising he was a natural during an instrument try out day at school.

Now he hopes others will get the same chance he got.

Benjamin said: “There are many people who don’t have the opportunity to play an instrument. I think it would be wonderful to have everyone having that opportunity so that it opens up this whole new world to them, all these experiences that musicians get to have.

“Having had masterclasses previously at St Mary’s it’s been a great experience to work with professionals who know a lot about their field and learn from them, it’s always a very enriching experience.”

The sessions came around after St Mary’s Music School noticed a drop in students auditioning with heavier brass instruments.

Kate Aitken, music department manager at St Mary’s Music School, said: “These are incredibly expensive instruments to purchase, they are incredibly expensive instruments to maintain and at the moment there is not enough funding within Scotland to ensure that even if you get free music tuition, you don’t automatically get an instrument to learn on.

“So a lot of families will find that, yes their child wants to learn the trombone or tuba but actually purchasing that instrument is cost prohibitive and therefore these children can’t have access to these instruments.

“It’s really important that we’re doing what we can to shore up that instrumental learning.”

Jonathan Gawn will be performing at the open taster sessions. STV News

Jonathan Gawn has been playing the tuba for over 30 years and plays in the Orchestra of Scottish Ballet.

He’ll be amongst the musicians leading an array of presentations and performances at the taster sessions and says he’s delighted more children will get the opportunity to try out his life-long passion.

Jonathan said: “I think accessibility to music is key, and I think as a brass player, music is something that should be for everyone. It’s nice to see that the doors are open and really, anyone can get involved.

“It’s particularly inspiring to see centres of excellence like St Mary’s just open the doors and make everyone feels so welcome it’s an incredible experience to come here for your first music experience.”

Lower Brass Days is taking place on Saturday February 24 at The Parish Church of St Cuthbert and Sunday February 25 at Elgin Academy.

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