Play that tune

Encouraging music-making: From left, orchestra conductor Natasha Kumar with a saxophone and Turn Up the Music co-founders Emma Wilson and Alison Price with a recorder and a glockenspiel

A new trust-funded music school is expanding opportunities for Wakatipu youngsters to learn musical instruments.

Launched this term, the Turn Up the Music school is teaching in local schools, taking about 40 kids for after-school lessons and running an orchestra, concert band and a choir.

It’s hoping next term to entice under-seven-year-olds to learn, too.

Preschoolers – through a ‘Small Hands’ programme – can learn music on a little glockenspiel, while five-to-seven-year-olds can learn in a recorder group called ‘Start Here’.

The recorder’s a good introductory instrument, school co-founder Emma Wilson says.

Lessons are highly subsidised – the recorder group’s $50 a term and ‘Small Hands’ is $5 a session or whatever a family can afford.

Wilson says the trust’s happy to assist families who can’t afford lessons or instruments – “we’ve got two families taking advantage of that at the moment”.

The trust’s also buying more instruments to hire out, and is also looking for cello and flute teachers, in particular.

Turn Up The Strings, the orchestra, has 15 players, Turn Up The Wind, the concert band, has a dozen players, and Turn Up The Voices, the choir, has about 30 members.

“Numbers are increasing every week,” orchestra conductor Natasha Kumar says.

Wilson adds: “This is a really exciting time for music in Queenstown.

“There’s such a range of opportunities for youngsters to take part in and have fun.”

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