There’s a pBuzz around Riverside Rookies’ introduction to brass playing

Sunday 21 February 2021

Inverclyde-based Riverside Youth Band stalwarts Mark and Laura Good have created a free online programme for local youngsters to get an introduction to brass instruments. And such is the popularity of the scheme that it became fully subscribed in no time at all.

The 'Riverside Rookies' sessions were borne out of the pandemic and 12 youngsters have enlisted to be taught how to play a 'pBuzz' plastic instrument by Laura, who works at Newark Primary School in Port Glasgow.

She will be guiding the youngsters through a fun and interactive weekly course to give them a head start on learning a brass instrument before progressing to Riverside's training and youth bands.

Laura said: “We started a pilot scheme in August as we were concerned that young people might struggle without having opportunities through music due to the pandemic.

“This programme is designed to teach the youngsters, who are aged between six and nine, basic music theory using a much cheaper and more accessible instrument. We hope that eventually they will be able to join our training band then go onto the youth band.”

The initiative will run for a year and will be split into four-week blocks, each focusing on a different aspect of playing the instrument.  Parents can sit in and watch although the hope is that, once restrictions have lifted, the young people will meet up and play as an ensemble at the band’s rehearsal facilities in Port Glasgow.

Laura is also being supported by youth band member Rachel O'Connor who has come through the organisation’s set-up and is benefiting from the opportunity to develop her leadership skills.

Musical director Mark, who is also editor of the British Bandsman, is continuing to take the training and youth bands for their weekly rehearsals via Zoom, but added he'll be watching the progress of the new recruits. “It was really exciting to see how quickly the spaces filled up,” he said.  “We wish we could take more youngsters but Laura wants to make it a really immersive and engaging experience and ensure she can give each child her full attention.

“It was really important to us to make it free too as we know how difficult people might be finding things at the moment. We have always said we never want finance to be a barrier to learning music and Riverside Rookies will hopefully help young people in Inverclyde take the first steps on a lifelong journey in music.”

Photo credits: George Munro, Greenock Telegraph


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