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Leeds steelpans experts in Lille

Last week we told you about the recent educational agreement which was signed between Leeds and Lille city councils and the education authority in Lille. This is a guest blog by Victoria Jacquiss from the Silver Steel Sparrows who went to Lille earlier this month to teach young people to play the steelpans and to perform at Lille’s “Kids Art” festival.

On my last trip to Lille, where I introduced my own particular pedagogy for teaching steelpans, I was invited to return with a band of players who could demonstrate that the pedagogy worked, and who could also teach the music students and the music teachers of Lille how to use the system and how to get the best out of their relatively newly arrived steelpans. They also wanted us to play at the Youth Mom Arts Festival, which lasted for four weeks from May to June.

Thus the six of us found ourselves on Eurostar on June 6th. And then teaching at the Maison Folies Moulins from Tuesday to Friday, with the big concert on Thursday evening, and a little one at a brand new school on Friday evening. We also visited the Conservatoire Wednesday afternoon to see their teaching and some of their central youth ensembles.

Along the way we taught five different Yr 6 classes, who children were International relations personified, coming as they did from Morocco, Senegal, Congo and everywhere. In one class, only three were French born. We also supported Viviane teaching the adult taster class on Tuesday evening, and on Wednesday and Thursday aftern we rehearsed Under the Boardwalk and Rolling in the Deep with the music teachers from Lille Conservatoire , the first tune incorporating three conservatoire musician’s own instruments [flute, accordion and cello], and own ideas for the arrangements.

We stayed at newly-opened and wonderful Gastama Hostel, where we, as with everywhere else, were received like Royalty. The music teachers and people from International Relations worked tirelessly to ensure that our trip was a success. The only negative thing about it all was that we had to come back to the United Kingdom!

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