Trust instrumental in musical upswing
One hundred new Nelson students have taken on an orchestral instrument in the past year with the help of the The Nayland Music Trust.
Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson said the trust had been set up last year and it had been ‘‘more successful than we had thought in our wildest dreams’’.
‘‘If we had 40 or 50 students learning by this stage we would have been incredibly happy.
‘‘So to have 100 students that have picked up the opportunity to learn a musical instrument from the orchestral family, we think is a great show of support from our community around what we try to achieve with music around the district.’’
Wilson said the focus on specifically the orchestral instrument family, including brass, woodwind and string instruments, came from the desire to develop the musical programme.
‘‘When I arrived at the school two-and-a-half years ago we didn’t have a lot of kids learning orchestral instruments, we had a lot of students that were identified as good singers or played guitar, drums or piano but that opportunity to sort of learn a flute or a violin or clarinet... there weren’t many students that had taken up that opportunity.’’
He said playing music ‘‘uses every single aspect of the brain, it’s a really great skill to learn in terms of resilience and perseverance and creativity’’.
‘‘The main reason for us is that we know that students get involved in extracurricular activities be that music or sport or drama or dance, all achieve academically better.
‘‘So having an interest that they can really work on and develop at high school we feel is really really important.’’
The Nayland Music Trust had also set up a new Year 9 Instrumental Music Programme, again focused on orchestral instruments.
‘‘For the children coming into the high school there needed to be a programme for them to join if they had been learning instruments.
‘‘Year 9 we think is not too late to pick up an instrument, so we wanted to continue the momentum when they got to secondary school.’’
Wilson said the trust provided free lessons and musical instruments to the students wanting to take on an orchestral instrument.
‘‘At this stage the trust is providing pretty much all the instruments for all of the students.
‘‘We believe in music as an organisation and we’re really keen on developing that within the community as well.’’
Nayland College music department head Nigel Weeks with students in the Instrumental Music Programme.