Taking place on Sat 4 Feb and Sun 5 Feb at Bolton’s Victoria Hall, the Benedetti Sessions offer a range of fascinating, constructive workshops for school-age string players of all levels of playing, as well as professional development sessions for string teachers. The sessions will then return on Mon 27 Feb to host a day of inspiring participatory music workshops for primary school children from Years 1-6.

Curated and operated by the Benedetti Foundation as part of its mission to ‘deliver transformative experiences through mass music education’, the session schedule includes:

Introductory String Orchestra (open strings – Grade 1*) – Sat 4 Feb
Beginner String Players (Grade 1 – 3*) – Sat 4 Feb & Sun 5 Feb
Intermediate String Players (Grade 4 – 6*) – Sat 4 & Sun 5 Feb
Advanced String Players (Grade 7+*) – Sat 4 Feb & Sun 5 Feb
String Teachers (a professional development weekend) – Sat 4 Feb & Sun 5 Feb

Led by founder and acclaimed Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti alongside a team of tutors, the foundation ‘aims to ensure equal access to music participation and appreciation for all’ with a weekend dedicated to approaching music in a way that inspires fun and enjoyment, a great sense of togetherness and an abandonment of caution, as well as connecting to creativity, rhythm and improvisation.

On Sun 5 Feb, the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Orchestras will combine to perform a special arrangement by Paul Campbell of Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances for mass string orchestra, as well as working on a piece as individual orchestras. Participants receive the music and tutorial videos for preparation in advance.

On Mon 27 Feb, the Foundation will return to Victoria Hall for a day of primary school music workshops for both Year 1-3 and Year 4-6 pupils hosted by creative leader Lucy Drever and percussionist Calum Huggan. Pupils will embark on a ‘musical adventure’ featuring singing, body percussion, listening to live music and having lots of fun along the way. This inspiring and engaging schools workshop will introduce pupils to the fundamentals of making music, covering the basics of pulse, rhythm, pitch and harmony.

Ahead of the three-day event, Nicola Benedetti commented: “There are no limits to our learning possibilities through music. We just have to be curious and open-minded enough to notice that this language is as rich as life itself, and we aspire to expose our participants to this. In order for everyone to gain the most from the workshop, we require a commitment for participants to prepare.

“Regardless of level, we want to help everyone to believe that to be good at something and therefore experience more enjoyment, it takes consistent and intelligent work. It doesn’t happen on its own. By signing up for our workshops, participants are also signing up to daily preparation. It doesn’t have to take long, but consistency is key.

“We will support and guide everyone all the way through this process, via our tutorial videos and online resources and through supporting your learning environment. We can’t wait to get started!”

Registration is open until Mon 16 Jan, and costs £10 for Introductory Orchestra, £15 for Beginner Orchestra and £20 for Intermediate, Advanced and String Teachers workshops. Full bursaries are available to all.

Workshops for primary schools on Mon 27 Feb are free of charge and registration is open until Feb 10.

To sign up, head to the Benedetti Foundation website.

*Approximate playing level – no grades need to have been taken.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Sat 4 Feb - Sun 5 Feb, Victoria Hall,
37 Knowsley St, Bolton, BL1 2AS
, Tel: 01204 522569, £10-£20
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Thu 5 Jan 2023