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Musical inspiration

17 January 2014

SOME 70 primary-school children are now regularly playing brass, woodwind, and string instruments in the hall at the Resurrection, Ely, in Llandaff diocese. Many of them would not otherwise be able to afford music lessons, but they have been brought there by the Revd Jan Gould as part of her Making Music Changing Lives project to give children on a city estate hope and ambition for the future (Feature, 20 November 2012).

Ms Gould was a professional viola-player before she trained for ordination, and she was inspired by the El Sistema project, in Venezuela, which began by giving violin lessons to street children. If it could work in Venezuela, it could work in Ely, she thought, and the scheme has now grown from one night a week to three. The children also learn music appreciation, visit the opera, and learn how to be part of an orchestra.

For this work, Ms Gould has now won the Community Foundation in Wales Philanthropy Award 2013 (above), her second great accolade, as Making Music Changing Lives was the subject of a BBC Wales programme that won a national award a few months ago.

The Community Foundation has supported the scheme since 2009, and an early grant to the charity enabled it to buy the instruments, so that the lessons would be free of charge to the children of Ely.

"I see this as very much an award for everyone involved in the project," Ms Gould says.

"For the children, it has raised their aspirations for the future, and many of them now want to become musicians when they grow up. The knock-on effects are tremendous, as it also gives parents a huge sense of pride in what their children have achieved."

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