Sheila Joynes's Musical Diary

From the sublime . . .


This weekend I am off to teach on the Worcester Youth Music String Course which caters for children between the ages of 7 and 15, from Grade 1 to Grade 5 standard. Usually there are about 65 of the little darlings keeping us awake all night with midnight feasts etc – one was even heard practising her violin at 2am once!

The course starts at 5pm Friday – fire drill, pep talk, food then first rehearsal. This is ALWAYS excrutiating and we all wonder how we are going to persuade them to play in tune by the time of the concert on Sunday. They practise a lot on Saturday, have some free time trying to break their arms on the assault course in the afternoon, have a barn dance in the evening and then – they sleep!!

On Sunday their parents arrive to hear what they have achieved – and it is always stunning how much they have improved – not just their playing but their orchestral discipline. They know how to sit when not playing, when to raise their violins up, how to hold the bow in the rest position – all very impressive.

And GREAT fun!!