Preps and Juniors Concert: Simon Mayor and Hilary James

Posted: 20th October 2017

Miss Westley tells us about the Prep and Junior School’s visit from musical entertainers Simon Mayor and Hilary James on Thursday 19th October, a great way to end Junior Assessment Week:

“On Thursday afternoon the girls enjoyed a lively afternoon of music presented by Hilary James and Simon Mayor. Everybody sang along to lots of funny songs with silly actions including ‘gobble gobble gobble’ and ‘a flock of fat flamingos.’ The girls were also introduced to the mandolin, mandobass, banjo and a bodiless violin, and listened to some fabulous guitar, violin and double bass music. Well done girls, for hosting the duo with such enthusiasm!”

The girls also had the opportunity to ask some questions, such as ‘how many strings does a mandolin have?’

Simon explained that you can tell by the tuning pegs – there are 8 strings doubled up – he showed the girls that if you play one note on one string on the mandolin, the sound won’t travel very far. To solve this, mandolin players have to play lots of little notes as fast as they can to achieve the sound of one long notes, which is called ‘tremolo’.

‘How long did it take you to learn?’

“I am still learning” said Mr Mayor. He didn’t take up mandolin until after he had learnt to play the guitar – and before that he played the ukulele (which is much easier for your fingers).

Why is it called a mandolin?

It is from the Italian word ‘mandola’, and means ‘little mandola’.

The girls then tried to guess the name of an enormous instrument – it was not a cello, but a mandobass, the largest and least common of the mandolin family! The girls can even tell you what a violin sound like without its hollow body attached! They also learned why the violin can be a bit squeaky when you first start playing – it happens when you don’t move the bow smoothly enough, and also because there are no marks on a violin to show you where your fingers go – so the notes are not very easy to find at first.

Everyone then thoroughly enjoyed guessing what type of farm animal noise was being played on the violin (“CHICKENS!”), heard a woodpecker and seagulls, and learned what a violin bow is made from!

This inspirational concert was a musically delightful way to end this half term!

Categories: Junior Prep Whole School