10yo Joe’s account of playing in the Sydney Festival of Instrumental Music

In August 2016, I played my violin at the Sydney Opera House with some people from my school. It was the Sydney Festival of Instrumental Music and we played in one of four concerts that were held during the week. From my school there were about 20 people playing recorders and three of us played violin. In the concert, there was about 200 children playing violins divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd violin sections, and about 800 children playing recorder. There were also a few children playing cellos and violas. The children were all from all over NSW public schools and most were primary school children.

I had to learn four pieces of music and my arts were for the 3rd violin. They were Mala Rain, Autumn (Vivaldi), Terra Nova and Pagodas by the Heavenly Lake which the violins performed with the recorders. Some of the music was written for the concert.

On the day we had three rehearsals in a separate room and then two rehearsals with the recorders. While the main concert was going on in the evening, the violin group got to watch a mini concert that was in a hall backstage. When it was our turn to go on, I felt very nervous and my legs were shaking a lot. When I started playing it sounded really nice and big because there were so many people playing around me. At other times it sounded so quiet too! I was standing at the back, just in front of the percussion section, and that sounded amazing, because they had big drums and gongs. Because of the lights on the stage, I couldn’t see the audience, but I could hear them clapping.

Next year I would really like to do it again. It taught me that if you practice enough, it’s fine on the stage.

For more info – https://www.artsunit.nsw.edu.au/music/music-festivals/festival-instrumental-music