Reflections on musicianship in action in Truro, Cornwall

Beale, R (2014) Reflections on musicianship in action in Truro, Cornwall. In: Musicians in the Community: Musicianship in Action, 11 November 2014, UCL Institute of Education, London, UK.


According to Green 'Whilst formal education has become increasingly available and diverse in content, it has not managed to stem the ebbing tide of involvement in music-making, particularly in the lives of adults after they have left formal education' (Green 2002: 5). This paper looks at efforts to increase involvement in music making amongst children and adults in Truro during the last fifteen years. In 1999, Richard White, founder of Polwhele House School, where choristers from Truro Cathedral are educated alongside other pupils from Cornwall, introduced violin lessons to the whole class of Year One children. In the same year, White set up a primary school outreach programme through which choristers visited local schools and sang with their pupils (Beale, 2012: 10). Both of these interventions were attempts to make music education more widely available for children in the Truro area. There have also been efforts to increase opportunities for musical participation amongst adults, including the Cornwall Returners Orchestra, founded by Colin Rendell in 2008, and open to adults who played instruments as children, or who have begun to study instruments in later life, but who are not employed as musicians. Such undertakings offer opportunities for what Syed (2010) would call purposeful practice, and they have the potential to create venues where 'career trajectories and musical styles of musicians are shaped and transformed' (Cohen 2011: 241). This paper considers (1) the impact of the introduction and continuation of whole class instrumental music lessons in schools and (2) the influence of musical leaders and adult musical participation on musical life in Truro. It draws upon my own participant observation, including as the teacher who taught the first group lessons at Polwhele (where I continue to teach whole class lessons) and as the leader of Cornwall Returners Orchestra since 2009.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

As stated in the conference presentation abstract about Beale's work: ‘Her research topic is Amateur, Professional and In between: Music Making in 21 Century Truro, Cornwall’.

This event was a one-day student conference organised by the Music Special Interest Group at the Institute of Education, University College London.

Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2022 19:36
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2022 19:36
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