Festival spirit for music

As participants in the Shout! project (Schools in Henley Outreach) with Henley festival, in collaboration with members of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, we arranged for the Korkoro String Quartet to hold a performance and workshop with our Year 10 GCSE music students and others from participating schools.

We have a strong tradition of performance and good GCSE results in music; when Mandy Beard, who co-ordinates schools' involvement in Shout!, approached me last year, Year 10 music students were very keen.

Our students gained an insight into composing for the string quartet in many different styles and using unusual techniques. The programme included movements from Michael Nyman's String Quartet No 2, Company by Phillip Glass, Graham Fitkin's Servant, Shostakovich's String Quartet No 8 and Jesus's Blood Never Failed Me Yet by Gavin Bryars. Each performance was followed by lively discussion. I have decided to continue with some listening and discussion during lessons.

Six more sessions were arranged for students' work on their own compositions, some of which will be performed at the Henley festival in July.

Kevin Pankhurst Head of the arts faculty, Gillotts School, Oxfordshire

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