Klio Blonz-  Programme Adviser to CMR / Notes of talk given to AGM October 2018

  • Introducing  myself : London based freelance flautist and chamber musician, working with different ensembles and musicians in the UK and abroad.  Have been working within  the educational sector in the UK for the past 18 years, teaching the flute for all ages and abilities as well as coaching ensembles. I have specialised in  early years music education and  have  worked for many years as a programme leader for Trinity College of Music, providing training for BMus students and delivering workshops in museums and other children’s settings all around Lewisham and Greenwich. I am currently leading  the thriving EY department at Blackheath Conservatoire, devising  the programme,  delivering training and offering continuous professional development for the early years team. I am also involved in other educational concert work such as the "Bach to Baby" critically acclaimed concert series. Blackheath Family Concerts: have conceived and devised ‘The Nutcracker’ and ‘Aesop’s Fables’ for flute piano and narration, they were both sell outs and are now taking place yearly.  For more info please visit www.klioblonz.com

  • I have worked for CMR since the autumn of 2017 with different artists, including harpist Siobhan Swider ( with whom I carried out CMR's first vist to an infants school) and cellist Rebecca Hepplewhite. I have been drawn  to work with CMR because of the continuity of their work and the potential to create a long term effect on children. It is not just a one off performance. It is evident that CMR  truly appreciates the musicians’ work, as reflected in the way we are actively involved and taken care of during our stay in West Norfolk. The fee is also very fair and is consistent with CMR's aim to support musicians. This positive attitude is not necessarily  true of similar enterprises. This encourages and inspires musicians to give their very best.

  • I have not encountered any other organisations in London that offer similar regular opportunities for children to experience introductions to classical music.. We see one off projects that can last from one performance or spread over a few weeks depending on the funding they have, outreach of different organisations  but nothing that offers the  regularity that  CMR offers. This can largely be due to the school system being a very ‘closed’ one, a difficult one to penetrate. Also  with schools having to deal with so much work themselves it is difficult to make space for external organisations coming in. Hence why CMR’s achievements so far  in creating connections with the schools are so important and precious.

  • As Programme Adviser, I hope to help CMR to have a clear direction in which we make connections between performances and bring them  under the same umbrella . It is also an aim to develop connections with the schools’ curriculum which will create more learning opportunities, at the same time attracting funds from both state and private donors. We hope to achieve continuous development and progression.

  • At the same time it is important to continue taking into account each musician’s specialist skills and strengths , thus allowing for flexibility in the programme  is crucial . We also need to be aware that a theme or an approach that will work with one group of children may not necessarily work with another. Thus  musicians’ approach needs to be a dynamic one and one that will respond to children’s needs at the moment and not the other way around. 

  • Ideas on how musicians can approach the programming:  if CMR’s objective is ‘Exploring the History of Classical Music’ within this frame each artist can choose to approach it in his/her own unique way. For example one can explore an era of history using a large number of composers and offering a broader range of pieces of a certain era, e.g. ‘Let’s Go Baroque’ , where another musician may choose to focus on one piece or composer.  Both approaches are equally enriching for children and can certainly  complement each other. Finally the History of Music  does not have to be  necessarily linear and thus assign an era for each term, something that can become very restrictive . Musicians can ‘jump’ into different times in history and explore different aspects, unravelling a new mystery, a different face of what music may be.

  • The overall programme of CMR should reflect the influences and inspiration of the music of other cultures, reflecting  the remarkable diversity in today’s world. This will enable children to connect with their own histories, empowering and encouraging them to feel proud of who they are and where they come from.

  • KS1 & KS2  have different needs and how one approaches children  in Year 4-6 cannot be applied the same way to children in KS1.  Early years need a much more specialised approach. There is a case for CMR to have school visits which focus on the needs of infants. However, sometimes the practicalities of working in small primary schools means that all children must be included.

  • A great start has already  been achieved by asking schools to do some preparation in advance with teachers /children researching  composers or finding facts before a CMR performance .  This has enhanced recent CMR sessions as the children and teachers have enjoyed the preparation, whilst this also enables fuller participation during the visit.Teachers have indicated that the extra work is minimal and fits with aspects of the curriculum.

  • There is a huge scope for creating even more curriculum links apart from the obvious musical ones: from exploring the history of a particular era, exploring and creating art works , from geography and exploring  different countries and their customs,  the list can be endless as long there is the will!