Schoolchildren around the Isle of Man are being treated to pioneering music lessons this week, with the visit of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s MusicLab.

The visit of the orchestra’s new mobile ‘pop-up’ musical experience – the first time it has ventured outside of mainland Britain – is part of the Island of Culture 2014 celebrations and the Steam Packet Company was delighted to support the project by shipping the MusicLab to the Island free of charge.

At 13.5 metres long, the MusicLab is packed with interactive technology and is visiting Rushen Primary, St John’s Primary, Bunscoill Rhumsaa, and St Ninian’s Lower School during the week, with other schools visiting for sessions.

Emma Quirk, Island of Culture Events Manager, explained: ‘The MusicLab is part of a ground-breaking two-year digital audience and education project called iOrchestra, which uses  cutting-edge digital technology to offer a series of hands-on musical games and interaction designed to put visitors – both adults and children – in the shoes of a composer, performer and producer. It’s a real coup for the Isle of Man to have the MusicLab here and we would like to thank the Steam Packet Company for its generous support, not just for bringing the MusicLab across, but for its assistance throughout Island of Culture 2014.’

There are five activity ‘stations’ in the MusicLab:

• Chorus Booth (a mini recording studio enabling pupils to sing along to music, with recordings eventually layered to produce a ‘school’ piece)
• The Console (using your hand as a composer remixing orchestra sounds)
• The Instruments (have a go at French horn, timpani, cello and clarinet under video instruction)
• Hi5! (creating music by touching a digital sound board)
• Listening Bench (learning all about the Philharmonia Orchestra through a film library, including how it recorded the music for the Harry Potter video games)

To round off the visit of the MusicLab, there will be a public open day this Saturday, October 18th at St Ninian’s Lower School from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Island of Culture Director Michael Lees said: ‘The MusicLab is such a wonderful concept and we are thrilled to have it in the Isle of Man as part of Island of Culture, and to give pupils the opportunity to learn more about music and orchestras. One of the main aims of this year is to ensure that the arts are accessible to all and the visit of the MusicLab is central to that goal. We hope it inspires our young people to try something new, perhaps creating a spark or two that could lead to unearthing our new musical stars of the future.’

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We are proud to have been involved with other Island of Culture 2014 events this year, and the visit of the MusicLab is such a fantastic initiative which I’m sure will be welcomed by pupils and teachers alike, and of course we hope that the general public take advantage of visiting during the open day on Saturday.’

Left to right – Steam Packet Company Sales Development Manager Brian Convery, Island of Culture Director Michael Lees, Oliver Mason and Wilf Petherbridge from the MusicLab, and Steam Packet Company Marketing and Online Manager Renee Caley, pictured with the MusicLab outside St John’s School