Durham music student and violinist, Nina Kumin, shares with Music Durham her experiences playing for an outreach project with the prestigious Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. 

I spent the first two days in two secondary schools in Belmont and Darlington teaching the children parts of the Hallelujah chorus and a new composition as well as helping them compose an instrumental piece using the trumpets shall sound as a stimulus. The following week we spent putting everything together, getting the two schools to combine their ideas and to play and sing together and then collaborated with singers from Durham university to play several arias and another chorus without the schools to demonstrate what can be achieved with practice and hard work! Then we did four showcase performances to several primary schools from the area. I learnt so much technically from playing within the orchestra, picking up on phrasing and intonation from the other violins and conversations with them have helped me enormously with my playing and future plans.

I learnt so much technically from playing within the orchestra, picking up on phrasing and intonation from the other violins and conversations with them have helped me enormously with my playing and future plans.

All the orchestra were very approachable and eager to help in any way – they have given me teachers to have lessons with, advice on buying a baroque violin as well as insights into their career and an invitation to audition for their experience scheme after my masters. I also learnt so much about teaching from observing the education members of the orchestra work and taking groups myself, adapting to different ages, abilities and instruments. All in all it was a hugely rewarding experience to see how much the children enjoyed playing, the confidence and joy they experienced when we used their ideas and the curiosity and wonder from the primary school children, most of which had never heard music like that before. The project inspired a very wide age span – from primary school to university students and it was truly amazing for me to be a part of it all.

The project inspired a very wide age span – from primary school to university students and it was truly amazing for me to be a part of it all.