Intern diaries: Martha

Spitalfields Music Summer Festival 2016.

Once Around The Sun. Spitalfields Market. 10 June 2016.

From April through to July, a period spanning our 40th anniversary Summer Festival, we had the pleasure of working with Martha. Martha joined us as our Learning & Participation Intern, working with us to help produce our Summer Festival and year-round Learning & Participation projects. Before she left in July to move onto the next stage in her career, we asked Martha about her experience with Spitalfields Music…

In pretty much every career, it is necessary to ‘do time’ as an intern. A position known for vital responsibilities including – tea making, photocopying, shredding and extensive time ‘researching’ on social media…

But like many of Spitalfields Music’s projects, my internship has been nothing like any other and has shown me so many new things that before I started I didn’t even know existed. Spitalfields Music’s mantra is ‘Extraordinary music in unexpected places’ which I have definitely experienced – (the Schubert Ensemble in a rather rainy* Octagon Library at Queen Mary University for one) but in the amazing Learning & Participation department what has struck me has been the extraordinary music by extraordinary performers and to, sometimes, unexpected audiences!

Spitalfields Music works a lot in the Phoenix School and during my internship I was lucky enough to be invited along to one of their songwriting sessions. To begin, everyone stood in a circle and introduced themselves one by one. The rest of the group responded by repeating your name, and then shouting “YEAH!”. It’s a great way to feel accepted into the group and I definitely felt great! After some more games the pupils then got down to some serious songwriting, inspired by pictures of Brazil, they came up with two very catchy numbers – I’m trapped in a Diamond and Banum Bruna, the teenage judge of Brazil. This, along with learning a new song which they would sing with three other primary schools during the Summer Festival, meant it was a busy afternoon!  At the end we all sang goodbye to each other and headed off. The next time I would see these pupils they would be performing their songs on the stage at Shoreditch Church.

In the meantime, I was able to help on Musical Rumpus. When I tell my family and friends about my work here, I always tell them about this opera for 0-2 year olds. It is usually met with a confused face. What can a baby understand about opera? Based on Vivaldi, with two singers, a cellist, a bass clarinettist and hundreds of ping pong balls, I saw genuine wonderment and amazement as the babies crawled and explored freely around the set. From the youngest not able to walk, to the toddling two year olds, this unexpected audience were having the time of their lives.

Back to the Phoenix pupils – it’s the day of Platform: Global Adventures. They had obviously been working hard and I was blown away. They had perfected their songs, added in a dance-off and absolutely nailed their performance. I was proud just to be able to say I knew them.

So the end of my internship is near – I have perfected tea making, but have also been inspired by the most exciting education projects and performances that have confirmed my belief that making music together is the best thing ever. 

*Whilst page turning for the Schubert Ensemble, the rain was so torrential it came through the window and rained on me and the pianist…

Applications for our Learning & Participation Internship placement are now open and close on Monday 3 October, 12.00pm. If you would like to gain experience helping to produce our Winter Festival and supporting our opera for babies Musical Rumpus, please visit our website for more information on how to apply.

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