Instruments sought for new scheme

01:00, Jul 29 2013
Music school
Joel Bolton and Margaret Jackson are seeking donations for musical instruments for students such as Maya Speers, Joy Gutschlag, Amy Knudsen and Ben Kirby to use.

Got a stringed instrument, flute or clarinet you no longer need and want to see it go to a good home?

A group of Nelson music teachers are looking for musical instruments to give to children who sign up to a new free scheme to study music.

Music teacher Joel Bolton said he wanted to set up a project in Nelson inspired by the Venezuelan youth orchestra - El Sistema.

The Venezuelan scheme gives free musical tuition to children of families who might not normally be able to learn music. The children also join orchestras.

The scheme has been a huge success and, according to Wikipedia, there are now 125 youth orchestras, as well as the instrumental training programmes.

The organisation has 31 symphony orchestras, and between 310,000 to 370,000 children attend its music schools around the country. Seventy to 90 per cent of the students come from poor socio-economic backgrounds.


A sister project has been set up at Mr Bolton's old school in Otara in South Auckland.

Mr Bolton said a number of Nelson music teachers had agreed to donate up to an hour a week to tutor children in the scheme.

He was pioneering the programme through Victory School as it had been so keen to get involved, but hoped the scheme would expand to other schools.

To take part in the scheme children need to commit to two years of tuition. Bolton said their parents also needed to be supportive of their children attending lessons and help with their practice.

Children on the scheme would also need to take part in an orchestra.

"It's a three-pronged approach."

Bolton is starting a junior orchestra, which will meet on Fridays at the Nelson School of Music.

Taking part in an orchestra was a great motivating factor for young players, he said.

Bolton said he was excited about the programme. He believed it was important to get students into music early, as by the time they got to intermediate school it was almost too late.

"We need to reach into primary schools to build young players," teacher and violinist Margaret Jackson said.

ackson said musical instrument specialists KBB had offered to apply for grants to help Nelson buy KBB instruments for the scheme.

But they hoped that others in the district who had musical instruments at home that were not being used might donate them to the programme. They were looking for violin, cello, double basses, flutes and clarinets.

In time they would look for sponsorship of the programme if it took off.

"We are really going all out to get littlelies," she said.

She said children got a real buzz being in an orchestra and hearing all the different instruments.

Learning music helped with other areas of their lives including concentration, maths and behaviour.

If you can help donate an instrument contact Joel Bolton on 021 0798 479 or

The Nelson Mail