Friday 11 August, 2011

viviennewintherVivienne Winther is Artistic Director of Music For Everyone, the ACTʼs community music organisation . In November 2005, Vivienne was named 'The Canberra Times Artist of the Year', for her uncompromising vision and achievement in gaining national and international recognition for opera in the ACT. Vivienne will be blogging for us in the run up to our Music in Communities day in Canberra.

Music For Everyone (MFE) is gearing up for our annual Open Day, packed full of short performances from all our programs and hands-on opportunities for the general public.

smfedrumcircle2Within the next week or so, we hope to post info on our website about some “play-in” events we are planning for Open Day this year, that are open to the general public as well as our members.  These are based on activities we did in 2010 for Making Music Being Well Week, Drum Circle and Big Guitar Gig.

Drum Circles are well known and popular activities all around the world, and a great way for novice and more experienced drummers to get together and jam: you just need a lot of drums and willing hands!

But what is the Big Guitar Gig? Well, our terrific team of acoustic guitar tutors gets together and chooses a simple ensemble piece in 3 to 4 parts.  This is given out to all their MFE students and friends, and also posted on the MFE website.  Then anyone out there who wants to play in the Big Guitar Gig can download the music, see what part they can manage, register with MFE to participate, and hopefully do some practice on it for a couple of weeks leading up to the big day. You do need to be able to read music to join in, and we do ask young guitar players to show the music to their teacher to get advice!

smfebigguitargig2On the day, all these guitarists get together, and the piece is rehearsed for about 45 minutes, with the MFE guitar tutors on hand to guide, help out and troubleshoot.  Then everyone relaxes for about ten minutes, and finally re-assembles to give a casual performance of the piece. 

A lot of acoustic guitarists have not had the experience of playing together with 20 others (although some have, as there are quite a few wonderful guitar and mandolin orchestras around Australia).  Massed acoustic guitars produce a beautiful sound, and we had a great time doing this last year in May.

So we are hoping to have some of the original Big Guitar Giggers back, plus a whole lot more guitarists as well, to play a piece at MFE Open Day on Sunday 18 September.

And we’re also doing a similar exercise for flute, clarinet and saxophone players: the Wind Blow-In.  The pieces have been chosen, soon they will be on the website and I’m looking forward to hearing massed winds perform as well.  It’s free, it’s fun and it’s open to everyone who plays these instruments!

smfebigguitargig1Plus there will be other popular hands-on activities, like the free come and try sessions of our MusicPlay program for toddlers and their parents, and you can chat to MFE staff , tutors and members about what music activity is right for you. The final program is going to take quite some pulling together and every year I wonder how we will find rehearsal space for each group to use before they perform, but somehow the jigsaw gets worked out.

Visit www.mfe.org.au from about 18 August to see how things are shaping up for our Open Day.