I honestly can say that this term has been one of the busiest we have experienced since our launch! The amount of workshops, events, masterclasses, exam sittings etc. (not to mention all of the office procedures on top of this due to the financial year end of our customers) have been phenomenal and you will be able to read about many of the highlights of these in our Spring Term newsletter and on our website.

This vibrant account of some of the exciting events that have been happening over the last term is thanks to reports given to us by CMST teachers and importantly, the coordination and compilation of these by Verena Watkiss (Woodwind Team Manager) into our new look newsletter.

This week has been an extra special week with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra BSO taking up residency in Cornwall. The BSO outreach project has been a huge success for many years now and offers a wonderful experience to many students of CMST who will be visited by  the musicians of the orchestra via their schools. The live music experiences on offer range from instrumental family specific masterclasses to a full blown Symphony Orchestra concert given at the Hall For Cornwall.

Interestingly, CMST teacher Matt Harrison is also an associate for the BSO and has spent much of his time this week working with many schools across Cornwall and I have had the privilege of working with a group of BSO musicians forming an “In At The Deep End” quartet. This unique group, consisting of Double Bass, Tuba, Bassoon and Trombone has visited schools in an attempt to showcase the versatility of these instruments that we class as “endangered”. Featuring music from Metallica, Gounod and the obligatory pop tune “All About That Bass” the workshops have really raised awareness of what these instruments can do and the pupils engaged have demonstrated a very keen interest to take on one of these unique and very special instruments.

The collaboration between the BSO and CMST is set to continue and demonstrates the respect that CMST is gaining as Cornwall’s premier music service with national organisations, such as the BSO, wanting work with us on such a large scale.

In our newsletter you will also read about the amazing Cornwall Flute Festival that is now happening annually. The hard work of Kate Whetter has been paramount to the success of this festival and we thank her for all the hours that she has committed to make it happen. I had the privilege of opening the Festival Gala concert, featuring Katherine Bryan and Tim Carey, and whilst giving my comments it dawned on me that due to this, the BSO residency and many other events, CMST is now bringing into Cornwall some of the highest calibre of professional musicians and that our students, the general public and teachers are able to access. It also became apparent that our CMST teachers are right up there with them being able to perform and educate to just as high standard, something that I am very proud of.

On a final note, an exciting new development for CMST is the potential of Early Years provision for children pre Key Stage 1. James Sargent (CMST Trustee) and I had the privilege of going to observe Hannah Birt (CMST String Teacher) in action at one of her Early Years sessions and it was clear to see the multitude of benefits that absorbing children of this age in music making had to offer. Further to this, Hannah explained that through her experiences the longer term benefits of the children accessing instrumental lessons at a later stage, but after having this initial Early Years delivery, was very clear with those children progressing at a much quicker rate than those that hadn’t accessed the Early Years sessions. Therefore, we have embarked upon setting up an Early Years team who will, through research and exploration, devise a musical journey for Early Years provision by CMST.