Sheku Kanneh-Mason Leads Inspirational Masterclass

Last week, Cellists Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Guy Johnston, who have both previously won BBC Young Musician of the Year Awards, visited three of music education charity London Music Master’s partner schools in Lambeth, to perform and work with year 3 and 4 musicians. Sheku and Guy presented ‘Until a Reservoir No Longer Remains’, a piece that Composer Emma-Ruth Richards wrote for the pair. They then collaborated with the young musicians to create an exciting composition, developed through exploration workshops led be cellist Tara Franks, to later perform to their teachers, school friends and family.

Speaking about the event, Composer Emma-Ruth Richards said: “Feedback from the children and teachers was tremendously positive. Not only were we able to excite the children with physical warm up sessions, exploration of various extended techniques and compositional activities, but we created space for them to play alongside Sheku and Guy using ideas from the piece. We also used text to create sound-scapes with them so they could explore their responses to the new music and perform in their school assemblies”.
When asked about what she’d like young people to take away from the event, Emma also commented: “I think the most important aspect of workshops like this is enthusiasm to keep practising and for the children to feel encouraged and motivated to be the best they can be at their instrument. Practising can sometimes feel like a lonely and arduous task that demands a lot of attention, so it is a wonderful thing for children to be able to put their hard work into an ensemble setting, have creative input into the music they play and perform for their classmates. It was also important to me that the young cellists could hear live music being played on their instrument up close and personal with two great cellists like Guy and Skeku.”

Cellist Guy Johnston, who has previously won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Award: “I’ve always heard about London Music Masters and was finally able to witness their wonderful work first hand during our sessions with 3 primary schools. It was very special to see how the children responded to Emma-Ruth’s piece, the imaginative ideas they came up with in response to what they heard, their curiosity and their concentration during the performances. Their friends came to watch, and you could sense that they felt empowered by playing a musical instrument and being a part of something they helped to create.”

Sheku Kanneh-Mason is currently Ambassador for London Music Masters, a music education charity which teaches 1300 children from disadvantaged schools every week to play the violin or cello. As a result of LMM’s work, 94% of parents say their child has displayed increased concentration and enhanced teamwork skills. The charity has also recently launched Team Teach, a new course in group instrument teaching, which has been designed to create a culture of excellence in classrooms.

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