SÓN Horn education project

són team deliver interactive workshops across the city


The són education team were recently engaged by Southampton Music Hub to deliver French Horn development sessions in the City. Commissioned by the hub to plan and deliver workshops to local schools across Southampton, són devised a set of interactive demonstrations and workshops, involving mini-concerts and hands-on experience, for children between the ages of 8 and 11. Using a number of mini-horns, two young professional horn players (themselves not only top players, but also experienced teachers, used to working with youngsters in flexible education projects) convinced well over 300 children to try out the horn during the day. The two players, in tandem with són Artistic and Associate Directors and Orchestral Manager, visited two large schools in Highfield and Shirley during a fast-paced but extremely productive day.

Alex Joyce, one of the horn players involved in the project, said “I love using this fabulous instrument to show kids all about sound, vibration and music. It’s amazing how simple it is to get children to coax a sound from the horn, and then it’s not so many steps through early lessons towards their early grades – daunting at first, but we’ve got to try to show them how exciting, and how FUN it can be right from the very start.” Fun, indeed – with Alex getting the children listening to the vibrations using a garden hosepipe, mouthpiece and a funnel as an ear-piece!


As a result of the workshops, a number of youngsters have been motivated to ask the Music Hub for lessons. All being well, the ranks of the local youth orchestra will swell over the coming years, too. Robin Browning, són Artistic Director, is aware of the problem involving certain orchestral instruments: “many people want to learn the flute, or perhaps the violin, but certain more “endangered” instruments – such as horn, bassoon and double bass – will always be rarer, which is particularly regrettable when thinking about the youth orchestras, because they end up with gaps or low numbers. I’m glad – and proud – that the very first són educational workshop has done a little bit to redress this balance. All of us musicians have got to work to encourage others, particularly youngsters – it’s our duty as musicians.”