The start of our work experience has definitely been exciting so far. We’ve had the chance to visit one of the most amazing buildings in Birmingham, a little place called Town Hall.
Do you know it?
Learning the history of this building and playing the organ in Town Hall has just been the tip of the iceberg, and knowing that the Prime Minister had been in the building earlier made the trip even more exciting!
Playing the organ (the “king of the instruments”) was epic – one of the most powerful feelings we’ve ever experienced. Even though it is a very expensive and loud instrument with over 6000 pipes (some of them 32 feet long), the 12 bar blues suited it down to a tee.
We also played Bach’s Toccata in D Minor. The organ is such a massive instrument, you could hear the doors to the pipes move as we pulled out all the stops – it sounded like God was in the building and we felt like we were God ourselves!
The afternoon continued with insight into the work of THSH, including with the Jazzlines team, to whom we presented our ideas for a festival…just like Music for Youth which was happening during our week here.
Today we participated in a Marketing and Communications workshop. Two of the team spoke to us about how they produce leaflets for the public and what strategies they have to attract the public to concerts at THSH.
In the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit the Bars and Hospitality team and make our very own pizza, which was amazing. After pizza making, we tasted ice cream for one of the chefs who asked us to create a poster advertising our favourite flavour to persuade people to buy ice cream in the interval. We got to try mint choc chip, pear and elderflower, strawberry, caramel, lemon and ginger, chocolate and vanilla. Not bad for work experience!
This morning, we shadowed stewards on the doors – letting people into Symphony Hall before going into the auditorium with them for the performance where the stewards have to watch the audience to make sure they’re behaving! This experience was amazing as we actually got to do real life work at THSH!.
After lunch we had the chance to listen to a jazz performance involving a trumpet player and a saxophone player, then went over to Town Hall to look in on the ‘B-side Brum’ meeting. The panel of 10 people, including Horace Panter from The Specials and Laura Mvula, were discussing 20 artists from Birmingham that are to be put forward out of a long list of artists for a special CD.
A few people like me (Victoria) got the chance to take photos of this gathering. I got the opportunity to go on the stage and take photos. It was very interesting to hear the context they went into about the song and how they all judged tracks differently.
To start off the day we got to go backstage at Symphony Hall and went onto the stage where we took photos.
Afterwards we went over to the Town Hall and met the Technical team and took part in a workshop with them which included lighting, sound, and preparation of the stage.
For the lighting we went to the top where all the mixers were to control the lighting. We got to focus the lights on a banner that we had put up for Music For Youth week. For the sound we also used mixers to control different microphones on stage. We changed the frequency and the volume of each one. For the preparation of the stage we put up black drapes, a banner, and bunting. We learnt how to use a touch screen used to lift up the drapes and lift up the staging.
This was the best part of the day and one of our favourite parts of the week. Whilst the other people went up to learn about the mixing desk we went on stage and tried the microphones for them, whilst doing this we hosted our own chat show, shared a medley of songs with our work experience group including Elvis, Abba and Dolly Parton!
On top of this, some very intricate dancing was elegantly performed!
In the afternoon we started off by watching a primary school play their brass instruments. We then got to do admin tasks. We were each given individual research tasks such as researching festivals in the West Midlands and music contacts for film and TV.
We’re now signing off from a fabulous week at THSH, but not before taking part in a development workshop where we will be working with the fundraising team and learning about their roles at Town Hall & Symphony Hall.
– Victoria, Shaquilla, Alice, Ludovico, Haydn, Michael, Joe, Jack and Oran