Major Musical Coup for Tintern!

19th Jun 2017

Over the last term there has been a wonderful opportunity for some students to learn about orchestral conducting, in preparation for a visit from Benjamin Northey, Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Associate Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, who came last Wednesday, 7 June. In the lead up to the event, the three students who volunteered to be part of the workshop practised conducting the orchestra, becoming familiar with beat patterns and the score of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Medley.

When Mr Northey came to Tintern, he first gave a presentation to students and Music staff about his experiences as a conductor and how he prepares a score. This was particularly insightful into the little-known world of conducting and was also a good chance to get some tips about the analytical side of things and all the preparation that takes place before rehearsals even start. Then he moved on to the practical side, as he led a workshop with the Symphony Orchestra. Everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed this experience, whether they were a musician, onlooker or hoping to improve their own conducting. Mr Northey explained how to communicate clearly through gestures, how to show dynamics and feeling, and also technical aspects, such as how to show the change of tempo or time signature. Finally, there was a short Q and A for anyone who had questions or wanted to know more.

Overall, this was a fantastic experience for all involved. Some of the highlights from students who attended were the enthusiasm Mr Northey brought to our rehearsal, the expert advice and guidance, and learning about a lesser-known musical profession. We would like to thank Ben Northey for coming to Tintern – maybe some of us will one day become maestros ourselves, or at least we will definitely be watching our conductors more closely from now on!

by Molly Fleming, School Pianist 2017