GCSE MUSIC students were inspired by the professionals as Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra musicians visited a Winterbourne school.

More than 200 music pupils from across South Gloucestershire attended the Blast GCSE concert at Winterbourne International Academy last month.

The performance was presented by Patrick Bailey, BSO associate musician, who took the students on a musical tour through history to discover how musical techniques and styles have changed and developed over time.

Violinists Rowan Patterson and Emma Welton, cellist Phil Handy, double bassist Andy Baker, pianist Samantha Carrasco, vocalist James Aldridge and viola player Rob Tuson. played some works from the GCSE syllabus, to help with preparations for the upcoming exam.

The ensemble played classical works by Bach, Haydn and Dvorak, film music by William Goodchild, a Beatles track, plus pieces by A Copland and Terry Riley.

GCSE music students Charlotte Passcoe, 16, Olivia Elvin, 16, Liam Oliver, 15 and Isaac Briggs, 15, spoke to the Gazette ahead of the concert about what they hoped to take from the performance, and about how their exam preparations were going.

“Hearing it live will be better than listening to Youtube recordings,” said Charlotte.

“When you hear it over and over again coming out of the computer, you just get bored of hearing it and you just shut it out, but actually seeing the orchestra play it will be interesting, so you’re more likely to pay attention to it,” said Olivia.

“And you will be able to tell more easily who’s playing what,” said Liam.

“In the exam you’ve got to spot which instrument is which and normally you have to work from what you’ve been told it sounds like, but after actually seeing it being played I think it will be easier to remember which instrument sounds like what,” said Olivia.

Guitarist Isaac, pianist Charlotte, Liam, who plays drums and bass, and Olivia, who plays piano and sings, are all particularly enjoying the composition aspect of the exam, which includes writing a piece of music suitable for a crime film or series.

After the concert Peter Smart, interim principal at Winterbourne, said: “It was lovely to see so many people engaging with this unique event, with students benefitting from the knowledge and experience of the prestigious Bournemouth Orchestra.

"We have a strong tradition of music at Winterbourne, with a number of young talented young people taking part in a wide range of musical genres. 79% of Year 11 students achieved a A*-C grade in their 2017 G.C.S.E examination.

"Part of this success is down to our staff who work tirelessly to provide our young people with a world class musical curriculum and who seek out opportunities such as this to broaden their experience.”