Maestro & Me Week 6 & 7

Maestro & Me Blog Week 6 & 7

From Gemma Turvey, Artistic Director



The first piece I ever wrote was called ‘The Galloping Pony’. I must have been about 5 years old. I can still remember sitting in my room, playing around with a pattern of notes which to my imagination were exactly portraying a horse galloping. With my very limited grasp of music notation, I wrote it down in a way that was not theoretically correct, but made sense to me.

I showed my teacher Diane at my next lesson who made the necessary corrections (very diplomatically!).  And now we have it for posterity!


It is this memory and experience which gave me the confidence to embark on the Maestro & Me project in the first place; to encourage these young students to improvise and discover their own melodies.  What is so wonderful is how fruitful and successful it is proving to be – beyond my wildest imagination!


This week the students worked on developing the melodies they had begun in the previous session. My instruction to them was to work out how their melody was going to start, what was going to happen in the middle (roughly at least), and how was it going to end.


By the end of the session many of the students had completed their pieces and proudly played them for me – a premiere performance! Their sense of achievement is palpable. One student in particular had such a look of pride and mystification, he walked out of the cottage completely stunned by his own ability.


The following week we tidied up any loose ends, and had a reflective session discussing in small groups what each student found easy about composing, what they found difficult, and what different elements and approaches they would like to try for their next piece!


I can go on and on for pages about what is good and beneficial about teaching children these skills. What is clear to me is how this program is opening music to these children as something they can understand, speak, and inhabit for themselves. A veil is lifted!



About Maestro & Me

Maestro & Me is an initiative of Buninyong Primary School and the NPCO, funded by Creative Victoria’s Artist in Schools Program.

Through Terms 2 and 3 students at Buninyong Primary School Years 3-6 will work with NPCO Artistic Director, pianist/composer Gemma Turvey learning how to improvise and create their own, original compositions! The program will culminate in their Music on the Mount concert in September, showcasing many of their compositions performed by the New Palm Court Orchestra for the broader school community!