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Article posted on: September 21, 2018

Who? The Becket School, Nottingham

Where? Noordwijk, Netherlands

Ensemble type: band

Marie Jackson, Director of Creative Arts at the Becket School in Nottingham, takes her music students abroad every year. This year, she chose to take them to Noordwijk in the Netherlands, where they performed three concerts. We caught up with her towards the end of their tour to see how they were getting on. 

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to.

We’re in the Netherlands at the moment on a school music tour that we’ve organised with Halsbury. We’re playing a range of different concerts around the local towns and cities. 

We’ve had a really busy and exciting tour. We’ve been to a theme park with the students, where they’ve had a great day. We’ve visited Amsterdam and we’ve been to Delft and had a look around the historic city there. 

Plus, we’ve performed three different concerts in different towns - Zandvoort Aan Zee, Noordwijk and Amersfoort. 

What’s Noordwijk been like as a base for your tour?

Noordwijk’s been really good for the students. It’s a nice, quiet seaside town with plenty for them to do in terms of being able to play games on the beach. The hotel’s been really nice as well, plenty of space for the students and good-sized rooms. 

How did you choose the performance venues?

The venues are always discussed with Halsbury – they know that we like to do bandstands and open squares. It’s nice to be able to play outside and we like playing in the café venues because you get a lot of tourists walking past. 

What’s the reception been like from audiences?

People always stand and listen to us play. We’ve had people clapping, people singing along, some cheering yesterday which is good. We try to play a mix of music that local people will like. 

What have been the highlights of the tour for you?

I think some of the main highlights from the tour are the students being able to work together as part of a team, to be able to create music across different year groups, they get to know different people and they get to learn things from older students when they’re younger. It’s also been nice to find out a little about the Dutch national heritage. 

I love just working with the students. It’s all about the music for them and putting together a programme and helping them to develop as performers. 

What are the benefits of school music tours?

The main benefits of a school music tour are providing a long term aim for the students, so they know at the start of the year they’re going to be going on it. It gives them something to look forward to and it gives them a final aim in terms of learning music. You have so little time at school, so to be able to spend a full week with them means that you really get to know them and develop their music, and it’s an experience all children should have. 

Why did you choose Halsbury?

Halsbury have always been great. I’ve used them for many years now as a tour provider. They always provide interesting tours and provide you with a lot of information. They understand what it is to be taking children and instruments abroad and know the difficulties, and they think about that in advance. 

Feeling inspired?

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