Tuesday 19th March

Karawhiua! Let's Play! residency at Linwood Avenue School

Combining poetry, percussion, song, and cross cultural exploration, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra musicians spent a week working with students at Linwood Avenue School this month.

The Karawhiua! Let’s Play! residency programme entails a group of CSO musicians embedding themselves in a school to work with students on various music based projects over the course of a week. The projects are designed to encompass broader themes as well as music, fitting the school’s curriculum.

The residency in Linwood Avenue School had a special focus on the school’s theme for this year, Flying High, for which the CSO had a rap created for the whole school. It also focused on the themes of climate change, the first encounters between Māori and later European explorers, and celebrated the intrepid voyagers who first discovered and settled Aotearoa New Zealand.

“We want the children to be brave,” said Linwood Avenue School Arts Co-ordinator and teacher Victoria Brookland. “Some of them have never touched these instruments before, let alone played them, and now they’re going to perform in front of their peers.”

The school, which caters to students from years 1 to 6, has a growing music and cultural programme that includes a hip hop group, a strong Kapa Haka group and a Pasifika music and dance group, but they have not yet been able to provide as much instrumental music.

“For us, it’s about giving children the opportunities to explore outside the core curriculum,” said Linwood Avenue School Principal Blair Dravitski. “The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra coming along and showing what they do on a daily basis will excite and hopefully engage some of the kids into seeing music as a real step forward and a real interest outside of their initial life paths that they are going to choose.

“It’s been well documented that music opens up the other side of the brain, and kids can have more confidence, feel good about themselves and succeed in an area where we probably don’t provide quite enough in so by having the CSO musicians here, hopefully it will engage them long term in something they really enjoy.”

CSO Principal Bassoon Selena Orwin, who was one of the musicians who worked with Linwood Avenue School, designed some projects that she hoped would be able to tie together some of the ideas around the Tuia Mātauranga 250 celebrations this year, commemorating 250 years since the first encounter between Captain James Cook and Māori.

“I thought it would be really cool if we could incorporate some Māori culture with a classical composition from the same year that Captain Cook came to New Zealand, and that was pretty much the idea of the Weaving project,” she said. The project, designed for students in Years 5 and 6, wove together a minuet that Mozart composed in 1769 and the traditional folk song E Papa, which accompanies Tī Rākau, a Māori stick game.

Selena said she hoped that, through the projects, the students would learn a bit more about New Zealand’s history.

CSO Principal Oboe Jenny Johnson, Principal Harp Helen Webby, Principal Trumpet Thomas Eves, Principal Bass Trombone Pablo Ruiz Henao and First Violin Cathy Irons were also involved in the residency.

The week concluded with a concert that saw the school hall fill up with whanau and friends for the students’ final performance.

In April, a group of CSO musicians will be taking up residence in Bamford School in Woolston to work with students on various music projects.

For more information about our Community Engagement Programme, please contact Community Engagement Programme Leader Cathy Irons at communityengagement@cso.co.nz or visit our Community Engagement page

CSO Karawhiua! Let's Play! residencies are Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom funded by the Ministry of Education. The CSO's Community Engagement Programme is sponsored by Beca.