Faculty Fun Day

Earlier this month we welcomed a group of children from a large junior school in Bletchley to one of our Faculty Fun Days.

Jonathan Harris, Music Faculty Alumnus and Head of Music at the school, sent their reflections of the day:

We were very fortunate to be invited to take a group of 15 Year 6 children to encourage them to aspire towards university education (‘aim high achieve your goals’ as it say in our school Anthem!). It was a brilliant day, starting with a short tour of Oxford then the opportunity to learn about Tudor instruments in the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments in the Faculty of Music. Then the children were taught how to play the Javanese Gamelan that is in Oxford.

In the afternoon we had tour of Christ Church College which included a visit to see the stairs where the Harry Potter films were made and the Great Hall that inspired the design of the hall at Hogwarts. The day finished with a short, interactive concert of folk music.

Thank you to the University of Oxford for making such an inspirational visit possible, free of charge, thanks to support from the Finzi Trust.

To many of the children the architecture and sights of Oxford were the first experience of its kind for them. They were truly amazed to be able to walk around the city, seeing the colleges, Radcliffe Camera and Bodleian. Then to get a tour around Christ Church was truly eye-opening to them.

The visit to the Faculty of Music was superb. The Bate Collection visit linked to their study of the Tudors in school and being able to try out the instruments themselves was an experience they will never forget. They had seen videos of Gamelan being played in Bali at school but they really didn’t expect to be able to play Gamelan themselves. They loved playing the instrument and clearly got into the rhythm and style of the Gamelan very quickly. The day ended with a superb introduction to folk music with demonstrations on the violin and accordion and songs they could sing along with and dance to.

The day will have genuinely inspired all these children to aim towards university education and opened their eyes to a world they didn’t know existed. Hopefully some of them will keep in touch with us at their junior school; it will be wonderful to contact you in around seven years’ time to tell you they are heading to study at Oxford or elsewhere.

Nadya (age 11) said ‘the trip was amazing. My favourite bit was going to the Bate Collection and trying out lots of instruments. My favourite instrument was the cornett. I really want to study music at university so I can become a music teacher.’

Kya (age 11) said ‘I loved our visit to Christ Church College, learning about the history of the college and seeing the Harry Potter stairs and going in the Great Hall. I really want to live study there when I’m older.’

Abdullah (age 11) said ‘I liked the Gamelan music and when we got to visit the instrument collection.’

Nshira (age 11) said ‘Gamelan is really something you can enjoy.’