Porirua classical musicians pass the test
Liz Sneyd knows her music students are talented but she wanted to prove it to them - and everybody else.
Last year 44 members of Sneyd’s Virtuoso Strings Orchestra sat Trinity College London music exams and the results were outstanding, she said.
‘‘The exams were a way of showing the kids and everyone else what they’re capable of.
‘‘All 44 students passed and exactly half passed with distinction.’’
With an average mark of 84 per cent, the student’s results were all the more impressive given 38 of the musicians come from low decile schools in Porirua East, she said.
Sneyd, and partner Craig Utting, first offered free music tuition to school students in 2013, ‘‘on a whim’’, and now have more than 130 children in the pro- gramme.
She could triple that number if she had the resources.
The tutoring programme has a strict no cost approach to teaching classical music to children who might otherwise miss out.
‘‘To remove barriers you have to remove cost and I’m not willing to compromise on that,’’ she said.
‘‘Everybody knows the benefits of learning music, all the studies prove it, yet at the same time we only give the opportunity to a few select people - that’s just hypocrisy.’’
Lara-Lee Lemisio got 92 per cent in her exam and loved seeing people’s surprise when she played the violin for them.
‘‘Liz says I’m getting better and better.’’
Nikky Teepa’s children played in the Virtuoso Orchestra and she learned to play the violin so she could help Sneyd tutor more budding musicians.
‘‘This isn’t cute or tokenism. These kids are talented and serious and hungry to succeed.’’
Orchestra Wellington general manager Kirsten Mason said the exams results showed just how talented the Virtuoso Orchestra musicians were.
‘‘The talent of many of their youngsters is really exciting, and this shows in the great results.
‘‘We are looking forward to getting to know them, playing with them and planning to do more together in the future.’’
From left, Arno Stil, Ataahua Pakaurangi, Veititi Alapati, Avril Stil and Jillian Tupuse.