The session was the culmination of an introductory series of masterclasses hosted by the Royal Institution for primary school children, based on the success of their secondary masterclass series.
The workshop began with introductions from Karl and David who played their instruments - tuba and clarinet, to the class, in a rendition of the Dr Who theme tune! They explained how their instruments worked by demonstrating the vibrations made in their lips and with the reed in the clarinet. The length of tubing in both instruments was also explained to the class as the way musicians can change the pitch of the notes and volunteers got the chance to play on Dave's specially created instrument - made from a trombone mouthpiece, a funnel and a piece of hosepipe!
The session then moved to a working room where the children were encouraged to try out a set of 'Boomwackers' between their group, listening to the notes the created and putting them into a scale. Then came the clever stuff from Amy Hooker from the Ri, who talked to the class about how the notes in the scale could be represented as fractions, and handed out different lengths of paper to represent this. Who knew that a 5th is 3:2 and a 4th is 4:3?! All this went towards explaining what David had introduced at the beginning of the session when demonstration the harmonic series which he could produce without changing the length of the pipe, but by simply changing the speed of the vibration in his lips.
The children all seemed to enjoy the session, and we finished off by giving a small demonstration of the things we had covered in the masterclass to parents and friends. We're looking forward to hearing the results of the evaluation forms the children completed and hope to continue working with the Royal Institution on more of these primary workshops in the future. Thanks to Amy for putting the session together and David and Karl for presenting the masterclass.