Education / Competition: An instrumental part of musical appreciation

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Learning a musical instrument in school can be one of the most valuable and enriching parts of a child's education. It fosters understanding and a lifelong appreciation of music of all kinds. And once the child becomes reasonably competent on an instrument, he or she can draw great benefit, and enjoyment, from the teamwork involved in making music with others, in bands or orchestras.

Unfortunately, not all children receive this opportunity. Changes in the way local music services are provided and financial cutbacks mean that schools cannot always provide the instrumental tuition they would like to. Instruments are expensive and, increasingly, parents are being asked to foot the bill.

Over the next four Thursdays, the Independent will be running a competition in conjunction with the musical instrument specialists Boosey & Hawkes and the video and audio company Pickwick.

Children aged nine to 15 will have the chance to win instruments for their schools, as well as a schools workshop, by correctly answering a series of musical questions. Each week's winner and four runners-up will also receive a Pickwick CD or tape, Classics For Children.

Each week the winner will receive an instrument from a different section of the orchestra. This week starts with the woodwind: the chance to win a Buffet flute, made from silver plate/nickel silver, complete with case. Week two will be brass, week three strings and week four will give the opportunity to win an instrument from all three sections, plus a schools workshop.

The workshop is run by Boosey & Hawkes and consists of an entire day for pupils to spend with professional musicians. They will work with the pupils on selected pieces of music, and give advice on playing techniques, instrument care and other related subjects. At the end of the afternoon pupils will have the chance to give a short concert to an invited audience of parents and friends.

Instruments produced by the Boosey & Hawkes group, which was founded more than 100 years ago, are highly regarded by professionals and students. Brass instruments, from cornet to sousaphone, are made at the Boosey & Hawkes factory in Edgware, Middlesex, along with a wide range of flutes. All other woodwind and stringed instruments are produced at the group's other European factories.

Pickwick's Classics For Children album is an example of the firm's commitment to making classical music more accessible to a wide audience. Ranging from Peter and the Wolf to The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, this album has been carefully compiled to appeal to children of all ages and increase their interest and enjoyment of classical music.

To enter the competition, work out your answers to questions 1 to 3 below and send them on a postcard with your name, home address, date of birth, school and authorised signature of parent/guardian/

music teacher to: Week 1, Musical Instruments Competition, Marketing Department, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

To win musical instruments from every section of the orchestra for your school and to win a schools workshop, collect the four answers to the 'accumulator' questions given over the four weeks and complete a tie-breaker (full details of this will be given in week four).

Weekly Questions

1 Name a work by Benjamin Britten specially written to be performed by children.

2 What is a berceuse?

3 Which instrument features prominently in The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy in Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite?

Accumulator question

Where and in which year was Theobald Boehm born?

The closing date for week one is 10 March 1994, and for the accumulator questions 31 March 1994. Standard competition rules apply and are available on request. The competition is open to children aged nine to 15 inclusive on 31 March 1994.