Katy B, Claudia Winkleman and Laura Mvula launch BBC Ten Pieces nationwide classical music drive

Stars will appear in new film that aims to inspire a love of classical music

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The Independent Culture

The BBC will next week stage free nationwide screenings of a new film, which aims to inspire a love of classical music in children.

But the violinist Nicola Benedetti, an “ambassador” for the project, has urged ministers to do more to give children the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Ten Pieces mixes CGI animation and live performances from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to bring to life ten core works from the classical repertoire.

The BBC is staging 300 free screenings of the 50-minute film, which features Claudia Winkleman, Katy B and Laura Mvula introducing the works, and is sending DVDs to schools so they can stage their own screenings.

Key Stage 2 pupils will be asked to develop their own responses, through music, dance or digital art, from the repertoire, which ranges from baroque to contemporary.

However a recent YouGov survey found that 30 per cent of primary school children do not have the chance to learn a musical instrument at all during their time at school.

Benedetti said getting instruments into children’s hands remained a challenge. “That’s the difficulty. Even to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star still takes a certain amount of practice. This is the most exciting initiative I’ve ever come across. The next step is trying to improve the infrastructure to allow children the chance to get an instrument in their hands and to improve.”

Another BBC ambassador Alison Balsom, the trumpet player, said she was supporting an instrument “amnesty” sponsored by classical pianist, James Rhodes, who asked people to donate unwanted instruments to primary schools. “It’s brilliant for brass instruments because they are relatively cheap and if they’re broken you can mend them,” Ms Balsom said. “Music is important as part of a proper rounded education.”

In 2011, the Government published the National Plan for Music which stated: “Children from all backgrounds and every part of England should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument”.

Although the BBC is not giving instruments to children, its orchestras will work with schools to help create special arrangements of the Ten Pieces, which include Beethoven’s Fifth and Holst’s Mars, which children learning instruments will be able to perform.

The Ten Pieces film includes scenes of a presenter being followed by a shadowy troll in a cave, and clinging to a mountainside whilst witches fly through the air to illustrate Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King and A Night on the Bare Mountain by Mussorgsky.

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