Student teachers from the University of Winchester helped more than 3,000 children and adults play their way into the Guinness World Record Book by scrutinising a musical stunt at the Royal Albert Hall.
Winchester’s volunteers observed 3,081 musicians from across the UK, Jersey and Gibraltar as they successfully broke the record for the Largest Ocarina Ensemble, beating the previous record of 831 players. The instrument used in the record attempt, the Ocarina, is a small, round flute.
The feat was staged during the annual Barnardo's Supporters Concert. Winchester’s eight Year 2 BEd students, with music specialisms, were among 130 independent observers with the important role of keeping their eyes on participants to ensure they played throughout the challenge. The performance was a new piece by composer Douglas Coombes called Ode to a Joyful New Star – a mixture of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, New World Symphony and Ode to Joy – and was accompanied by the Royal Albert Hall Grand Organ.
The record attempt proved to be a great learning experience for the University’s students as they were able to see 1,200 primary schoolchildren, and an audience of previously unrehearsed adults, taught to play the Ocarina by expert David Liggins, Ocarina Workshop.
“This was a unique way for our music students to observe teaching on a large-scale,” said Jon Audain, Senior Lecturer in Primary ICT and Music in the University’s Department of Teacher Development. “The power of music and a love of music are developed through purposeful musical experiences. Collaborative music-making and performing are important skills for children to develop.
“This concert provided a positive and extremely memorable experience. Finding out at the end that the world record had not only been broken but smashed by so many people was a truly humbling experience. The fact that our Winchester music students were able to participate made it even more special.”
The University re-established its BEd/MEd with Music Specialism this year. The course is delivered in partnership with the University's Foundation Music department, Hampshire Music Services and the Portsmouth and Hampshire Music Hubs. It enables students to develop the skills of a primary music practitioner and music co-ordinator, as well as developing skills in singing, performing, composing, and listening and appraising.