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Meet Sandra and Yara

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Sisters Sandra and Yara joined Hawthorn Primary school in September 2021 and were excited to start learning a musical instrument through the In Harmony programme. Yara, who’s in year 4, chose the flute and Sandra, a year 5 pupil, picked the trombone.

“I didn’t know what In Harmony was. I felt excited because I am happy when I hear music,” Yara says. “I like the flute because it plays a lovely relaxing sound.”

Sandra adds, “We played games to get to know each other’s names in the first session. I like the trombone’s sound as the notes are low.”

Their mother, Yusrra, is Sudanese and had no musical experience.

“I had never even touched an instrument before, so I asked Lorna [In Harmony manager] for a violin,” she says. In my previous background, usually, you don’t learn music unless you have graduated and choose to be a musician.”

“Here, children grow up playing music; this was very different for me. I wish I could have learnt music as a child,” says Yussra.

Music lessons have helped to improve Sandra and Yara’s confidence.

“I am learning to read music. Sometimes I find the marks under and above the music tricky and don’t know what they mean, but I feel excited to learn more,” says Sandra. “The tutors give us information about what we are learning and time to practise before playing officially.”

“When you are stuck because you don’t know what to play, the tutors help,” says Yara. ”At first, I didn’t know any keys, but I know a lot now.”

“Their English is better than mine. They tell me about the pieces they play. I don’t always understand the sheet music, but they know I love to hear them.” says Yusrra.

A visit to their school from Royal Northern Sinfonia’s trumpet and French horn players Marion Craig and Jonathan Quaintrell-Evans inspired the pupils by giving them an insight into the lives of professional musicians.

“The first time I saw an orchestra player was on Brass Day. The players introduced themselves and played pieces. We split into sections to practice. Then we joined back together and played.” says Yara.

Yusrra is grateful for the programme and its benefits.

“In Harmony is a new experience. It touches the soul. If you’re sad, you will listen to some sad songs. If you are happy, you will dance to the songs,” says Yusrra. “The violin says if you’re angry or happy. Everything you can feel, you can express in music.”