First Music Literacy Course

Our resident musical genius, Alastair Cockburn, earlier this years presented a first for G&S – a musical literacy course to assist members who don’t read music – as well as for those who needed a refresher. Based on the feedback we received it was a resounding success and it hopefully was the first of many more. I asked some of the attendees to share their thoughts with us.

James Maritz: The music literacy course was a fascinating experience, learning a little about the history and classification of music genres. I found the section dealing with reading music to be of particular interest, I cannot wait to put it into practice with our next show. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and I hope that Alastair does another session sometime in the future for those who were unable to attend the course.

Lorna Hansen: I was actually a bit of a fraud at the music literacy course, because I can read music, and am actually qualified to teach music at primary school level (although I feel sorry for any primary school class that gets me as its music teacher!).  The reason I did the course was because I was very keen to brush up on my music literacy skills.  And what a wonderful course it was! Alastair took us slowly and carefully through all the notes, rests, time signatures, interpretation clues, etc, and the ways that they are written in a musical score.  We were given lots of opportunities to read (and sing) many examples of each. Alastair of course started his career as a teacher, and as the course went on, I realised what a brilliant teacher he must have been. I love any situation when I feel that my mind is being stretched, and this was certainly one of those.

Bronwyne Scott: I have SM over 30 Musicals, Operettas, Pantomimes and Musical revues and for the first time I look at the Piano Score with great excitement. To recognise the Treble clef (or G Clef) and Bass clef (or F Clef), the keys – sharps and flats, a quaver or crotchet. To understand crescendo, allegro or andante.  I have always been able to learn and call the music by ear, instinct or a magic Morag finger (my crib note friend). I know I have a long way to go, but Alastair you have opened up a new world to me. You are such a great teacher – committed, knowledgeable, passionate and you have the ability to make the subject come alive with such a joy, that one cannot wait to hear and learn more. BRAVO MAESTRO!

Christoff van Wyk: It was really insightful to learn from such an expert in the field. Alastair’s passion for music is infectious and his knowledge in the field boundless. The course covered everything from the different movements in music through the eras, to the basics, like the difference between a sixty-fourth note and a hemidemisemiquaver.

Alastair has confirmed that he will be presenting another course towards the end of the year – no confirmed dates yet, but possibly somewhere in October.