Confidence shining for new violin and cello students

Children take part in a cello lesson at Ebbett Park School.
Megan Hunt

Children take part in a cello lesson at Ebbett Park School.

A violin or cello may seem like just an instrument to some, but for students at two Hawke's Bay schools it's a special gift, helping to grow their confidence and self-esteem. 

The Orokohanga Music Trust was started by former Heretaunga Intermediate School music teacher Ngaire Shand after a segment on a current affairs television show caught her eye.

"About fours years ago I saw a documentary on the Sunday programme of Sistema Aotearoa teaching at schools in South Auckland," she said.

Ebbett Park's violin students taught by the Orokohanga Music Trust.
Megan Hunt

Ebbett Park's violin students taught by the Orokohanga Music Trust.

"I thought to myself 'that is so needed in Hawke's Bay' - so I set off to try and establish a similar programme."

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The first intake was a class of 17 students at Camberley School in term two last year.

Children learning to play the violin.
Megan Hunt

Children learning to play the violin.

Each term another class is added and towards the end of 2016 Ebbett Park School joined, with 95 students now taking part across the two schools.

The trust pays for the lessons, instruments and administration cost, while schools provide a venue, students' time and liaise with parents.

Recently the trust sent out feedback forms to parents.

"I had a whole pile of them last week," Shand said. "I was reading [them] and just about in tears because it was all such positive things."

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One parent said their daughter loved to come home and practise.

"Her confidence is shining heaps more ... this programme is 100 per cent aimed at our children to help them not only with music but everything in their lives."

The programme was designed to provide self-esteem and self-discipline to children in low-decile communities, with cello and violin selected as they were instruments unattainable for many families.

In May students will give their first public presentation, with a similar format to a lesson, at the Hawke's Bay Opera House Plaza on May 25 at 5.30pm.

Currently the trust relied on grants but wanted to move to a sponsorship scheme, which would be more sustainable.

Ebbett Park principal Steve Bloor said if he had to describe the programme in one word it would be "wonderful".

"Its a real gift, taonga for the children. People don't normally get the opportunity to learn an instrument like that for free."

Children taking part learnt so much in a short space of time and came to school with "vim and vigar" on music days.

 - Stuff

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