Blast Off™ Brass at Holbrook Primary School

Gosport on 12 June 2019
By Miss Chloe Price, Year 3 / 4 Class teacher / Music Lead, Holbrook Primary School
From the minute the children walked through the door this morning, Richard Harvey, Founding Owner of Blast Off™ Brass, captured their attention. Recently, there has been a significant drop in youngsters taking up a brass instrument, so to encourage children to pick up a brass instrument, Blast Off™ Brass was designed to offer huge amounts of fun whilst introducing children to elements of music, such as improvisation and imitation, and experimenting with different brass instruments.
Richard came fully prepared and delivered an interesting and informative assembly about what inspired him to start learning trombone and the opportunities it has opened up for him during his career as a Royal Marines musician and educator. Richard shared with the children an interactive and engaging film clip to launch the day and there was an element of fun from the word go. Also, Richard’s energetic approach hooked the children’s attention as he demonstrated a wide range of brass instruments from the low notes of the tuba to the sweet notes of the trombone. He also played instruments made from differing lengths of garden hose to demonstrate how the length of an instrument affects its pitch, and a ‘snake charmer’ made from a carrot before the children’s’ eyes! It was evident right from the beginning that Richard has a wealth of knowledge about his subject and entertained the children by involving them in live demonstrations and answering their bombardment of questions with ease.
During the workshop, the children were taught about the discipline associated with being part of an ensemble and Richard catered for everyone’s needs as he offered advice and gave the children an opportunity to try out the revolutionary pBuzz for themselves, playing the ‘ssh’ game to learn about imitation and improvisation. This immediately hooked the children as they tried blowing raspberries down the instruments for the very first time. Richard incorporated a range of skills into the workshop and encouraged the children to listen, collaborate and take risks in a safe environment. As well as this, Richard taught the children how to listen to the music and as the hour workshop came to an end, the children enjoyed rehearsing ‘I Feel Good’ with a backing track. The school hall at this point felt alive and there was a buzz in the atmosphere as the children practised ready for their performance in the afternoon.
Following a day of workshops and interactive activities, the children came together under one roof to deliver a one off performance of ‘I Feel Good’ altogether. The hall was filled with laughter, dancing and joy as the children came together to celebrate their achievements and show off what they had learnt in a day. There was not a single person in the room that did not have a beaming smile on their face and that is what music is all about. On behalf of everyone at Holbrook, I would to thank Richard for his professionalism, his love of music and his ability to entertain, educate and inspire the next generation of brass players. We hope to work with Blast Off™ Brass again in the future.
One thing for sure is that, “Every school should have a ‘Blast Off’ Day scheduled in their diary to promote brass.”

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