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The Lullaby Concerts

  • Date: 14 January 2011
  • Artform: Music
  • Area: South East
Young children in the audience at the concert Lullaby Concert audience at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, Photo: Paul Coghlin

Sustaining the attention of a room full of very young children might be a challenge, but one project in Suffolk has managed to do just that through the medium of classical music.

The Lullaby Concerts was a series of events and workshops that invited young children, their parents and carers to experience inspirational live orchestral music.

The project also brought together Early Years practitioners and childminders to see how music can be an effective tool for learning through play.

It was co-produced by Orchestras Live, an Arts Council regularly funded organisation and the national development agency for professional orchestral music, in partnership with City of London Sinfonia (CLS) and six local authorities.

The programme included:

  • 39 workshops held at 13 nursery settings in four districts, involving 252 children and 178 practitioners and parents.
  • 20 childminders and Early Years practitioners taking part in a training day on using creative music techniques with young children
  • Eight Lullaby Concerts performed by CLS over four days, attended by 1,317 children and adults at locations across Suffolk.

Each of the eight concerts was presented by specialist musician Claire Boor, whose playful energy created a lively, fun and interactive atmosphere to the events.

Children in the audience were encouraged to dress up as animals to match an animal theme to the music. Pieces performed at the concerts included Rimsky Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, Bratton's Teddy Bear's Picnic and the Waltz from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake among others.

Young musicians from local schools were invited to perform in one of the pieces as a way of providing role models to the young spectators.

One audience member, Naomi, aged 4 commented: 'I liked the violins and bouncing up and down.'

The project was aimed particularly at engaging people from Suffolk's more hard to reach, rural communities in high quality arts.

With a total of 1,750 people taking part between 15 September and 28 October 2010, and overwhelmingly positive feedback from those involved, the project was considered a success.

Julia Ient, Relationship Manager, Music at Arts Council England, said: 'The Lullaby Concerts project has inspired pre-school children, parents, childminders and nursery carers across Suffolk, and shown how engagement with music can also improve language development. It is a valuable addition to the cultural offer in this region.' 

This year's programme followed on from two successful Lullaby Concerts held in 2009. It was the culmination of seven years work to build on previous orchestral projects in Suffolk and further contribute to the development of the county's Early Years music infrastructure.

Stuart Bruce, Partnership Manager at Orchestras Live said: 'The Lullaby Concerts and workshops in autumn 2010 were the latest manifestation of Early Years work we have been developing in Suffolk over many years, again confirming the relevance of orchestral activity to very young children, and the inspirational effect of hearing and working with musicians of the highest quality.

'The consortium of local authorities, venues, nursery practitioners, settings and a professional chamber orchestra assembled by Orchestras Live is a prime example of partnership working which is at the heart of everything we do.'

Discussing plans for the future, Rachel Nightingale, Arts & Heritage Officer, at Suffolk Coastal District Council, one of the partner local authorities said: 'We will work with Orchestras Live and other partners to develop this programme including music sessions to introduce sustained use of music in early years settings; a more developed programme of training for early years care workers, working in partnership with early years services at County level.'

To find out more about The Lullaby Concerts go to http://www.orchestraslive.org.uk/lullaby2010