FROM NICOLE MACKSON, MUSIC SPECIALIST
The Thunderbolts are NECOM’s newest ensemble. The group is designed specifically for beginner piano students to give them a similar ensemble experience to those for young string, wind, and brass players. Like the Puddledock, Boorolong, and Tilbuster ensembles, the name comes from a local area near Armidale, but we love the idea of zapping thunderbolts with our mallet sticks!
Led by Nicole Mackson and Sheila Guymer, each weekly session runs for 45 minutes on Thursdays and includes musical games and activities based on Orff and Kodaly methods. Students perform on tuned percussion instruments that have a keyboard layout.
Often at the end of each rehearsal, there are a few minutes for students to perform some pieces on piano in an impromptu mini-concert, so students get to polish their solo performance skills too. Playing the piano can be quite a solitary activity, so performing music together with peers provides significant and far-reaching benefits to young musicians. It inspires children to develop their listening, co-ordination, technical, social, and communication skills. We’re looking forward to performing in our first Foundation Program concert later in the year.