Rattray Primary School Showcase

Musical collaboration will have lasting impact

by Richard Burdge, published in the Courier, May 17 2016, 8.20am

Pupils of Rattray Primary School during their performance with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.Pupils of Rattray Primary School during their performance with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

A collaboration between pupils at a Perthshire primary and some of the country’s top musicians could be a life-changing experience for the children, their teacher believes.

“For several of the children, this may be one of only a few opportunities to discover their talent or love of drama and music as primary children,” said Beth Strachan, primary 7 teacher at Rattray.

“It offers many opportunities for self-expression of their own thoughts and ideas, and self-discovery of hidden abilities.”

Players from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra joined pupils from Rattray on Monday for a showcase performance at the Norie-Miller Studio at Perth Concert Hall where they unveiled new compositions created by the children  during the first year of the SCO’s two year primary school residency.

Since October last year 180 pupils of all ages from the school have worked alongside composer and workshop-leader Matilda Brown and SCO players to create new music using a variety of orchestral instruments, guitars, percussion, and electronic instruments.

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The pupils shared the work they have created throughout the year with parents, teachers and classmates at the concert.

Primary 6 teacher Louise Walker said the pupils had gained a great deal from the collaboration.

“Their involvement in this type of open, creative activity helps children who don’t have the vocabulary to develop in more conventional ways, and it means they can contribute and communicate more, and consequently feel more valued, which in turn makes them more engaged in school life,” she said.

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“It gives them exposure to people with a real passion for their art, and skill which is very inspiring for them.”

The SCO began working in partnership with Rattray Primary School when the head teacher, Lyn Boxhall, identified music education as a key priority for their pupils.

As some of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and, due to its rural location, many of the pupils have limited access to cultural activities.

16MDNC_RATTRAYPSORCHESTRA (3).JPGWe would like to express our sincerest thanks to The Robertson Trust, The Plum Trust, Paterson Logan Charitable Trust, Perth Concert Hall and all SCO Patrons for their very generous support towards this project.