RSNO Takeover 2014, Day 1: Woodwind

RSNO Takeover is an intensive two-day work experience project which took place at the RSNO Centre on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 June 2014. The young people who have been working with the RSNO's musicians describe their experiences on the first day of the programme.

Rebecca Smith, Flute – Linlithgow, West Lothian
After getting to know everyone this morning and having a rapid run through of the music, work experience is going very well! It is great to see young people taking over each department and really learning what goes into the RSNO’s concerts. Our concert tomorrow night includes brilliant music which is fun to play and listen to. Well done to all involved.
Hilde Metzger, Flute – Edinburgh
Even though I was quite nervous when I turned up, some games with the whole group soon made me more comfortable. I was allocated to play my flute in the orchestra so with two other flautists and RSNO Principal Piccolo Janet we started tackling the challenging music with some technical exercises in between. I feel that I have learnt more in these few hours than I have in the last half year of lessons.
We then spent an hour learning about the ‘interesting’ world of finance and budgeting. I was astounded by the costs of a single concert.
I enjoyed the whole day and loved the fact that I got to meet other people with an interest in classical music.
Natalie Brayshaw, Flute – Fort William, Highland
Today I took part in the first day of the RSNO Takeover project, which involves a number of young people coming into various departments of the orchestra and experiencing what is involved in working there.
Firstly we were introduced to each other through a variety of (slightly chaotic!) games, before splitting up into our different departments. As a musician, I joined two other flautists to work on our playing with Janet Richardson, RSNO Principal Piccolo. We began by rehearsing selections from The Nutcracker Suite before moving onto technique which was very interesting, and beneficial to our overall playing.
We continued sectional rehearsal after lunch, before attending a budgeting and finance session, in which we learned about the costs involved in producing a concert: from music hire to paying the musicians. This showed a side to these concerts which we hadn’t considered before and was very interesting. Roll on tomorrow!
Valerie Barr, Clarinet – Wishaw, North Lanarkshire
As a musician, it has been really interesting to see some of the things that go on behind the scenes at the RSNO centre. I didn’t realise that there were so many departments and different things to think about when running an orchestra. It was also great working with professional musicians from the RSNO to get our playing up to scratch for the concert tomorrow, and I am really excited to play with the orchestra! Splitting up into groups and talking to other like-minded people to try and work out a budget for a typical RSNO concert was interesting and insightful – none of us realised how much thought (and money) goes into the concerts.
Beth Beattie, Bassoon – Aberdeen 
Today’s been an interesting day. It’s been great finding out about all of the different areas of RSNO and what they all do. I particularly enjoyed the bassoon sectionals with RSNO Principal Bassoon David Hubbard – the repertoire is familiar but David has opened my eyes to viewing the pieces in a completely different light.
It has been great meeting so many other people my age who all have interests in music one way of another and I’ve made a few new good friends! The staff were lovely too and are clearly very enthusiastic about what they do.
All in all it’s been a fantastic day and I can’t wait until tomorrow!
Sarah Mckay, Clarinet – East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire
Today I learned how to get along with people through getting to know you games and how to work together by playing to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses whilst in rehearsals.
Today, my high point would be getting to know people in rehearsals and “getting it”. It's really rewarding when you can play something really difficult after not being able to do it. I did a happy dance. Also we did some really fun games at the start which was a rather fun way of getting to know people, especially when I didn’t know many before. Low point: transposing semi-quavers in my head. It was soul destroying and I wish I had my own clarinet in C. Life would be so much easier. Cry, cry, going home to practice my mental transposing now.
Andrew Vettriano, Bassoon – East Renfrewshire
The first day started with some group games which were great fun and they allowed us to get to know each other. We then split up to do our separate activities. For me this was a sectional rehearsal with Dave Hubbard, RSNO Principal Bassoon. The pieces we had to play were quite challenging but we worked through them over the course of the day.
After the music, we had a session of budgeting and finance. This was very interesting as we learned about the expenses of an orchestra and got to form our own budget for a performance at the Royal Concert Hall.
Overall the day was very enjoyable and I learned lots. The techniques and tips form the sectionals have improved my playing and will help me in the future. The budgeting session was also fascinating and opened my eyes to something I had known very little about. I would have to say that my favourite part of the day were the activities in the morning, especially the singing!
All the young musicians are part of the RSNO's Takeover scheme, arranged by the Learning and Engagement Department. All views expressed by Takeover participants belong to those of the individual and are not representative of the organisation. For more information, visit the RSNO website.