Ulster Orchestra’s Learning and Community Engagement department has been working with its community partners, The Greater Shankill Children & Young People Zone, Colin Neighbourhood Partnership and The Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation at Queen’s University, Belfast, to develop and run Crescendo, a primary school engagement project supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
Crescendo is a long-term collaboration with four Belfast primary schools including, Good Shepherd, Malvern, Holy Evangelists’ and Wheatfield, which all lie within areas of marked social deprivation. Currently reaching all children in P1-5, as well as some in P6 & P7, the programme aims to give pupils access to high quality music education throughout their primary school careers.
Despite the many challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Learning and Community Engagement team at the Ulster Orchestra quickly adapted and provided weekly recorded workshops for all students. Videos were sent via schools to students during home-learning, with parents encouraged to join the workshops with their children. Keyworker and vulnerable children participated alongside their teachers in school and just last week, one of the Crescendo associates was able to give outdoor lessons at two participating schools, meeting some of her pupils for the very first time.