Student musicians tune up skills at workshops

YOUNG musicians from Gladstone's seven independent schools are tuning up at the annual Gladstone Independent Schools Music Association workshops this week at the Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre.

The association is working with specialised tutors, including university and Conservatorium of Music students as well as music teachers, and a professional conductor to run three workshops aimed at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Rachel Needle, organising committee president and proud mum to two student musicians, says the workshops are an invaluable experience in music and teamwork.

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"My children took part last year and it was terrific for them to meet and play music with the other students," she said.

"This venue, and the professional conductor and tutors really inspire the kids.

"They are playing as an ensemble by the end of the week, which is amazing given their different levels and that they come from all over the region."

This year, the conductor is award-winning Adelaide musical director and educator, Mark de Laine.

This year is the 19th edition of the workshops, and like many community organisations, the association is looking for sponsors.

Treasurer Shaunagh Bignell encouraged local businesses to support the workshops with a financial or raffle prize contribution.

"The workshops have been running for such a long time now, we're seeing kids who attended at the beginning return as tutors, often studying music and performing professionally," she said.

"But our donations are down significantly this year and that's a worry. It would be a shame if financial issues meant the end of such a valuable opportunity for hundreds of children."

The workshops are organised by volunteers and are possible thanks to a Regional Arts Development Fund grant and local sponsors.

The week of workshops will finish with a concert on Friday night.