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Richard Mainwaring and BBC Ten Pieces

14th October 2015

Richard Mainwaring and BBC Ten Pieces

Continuing our series of interviews with Ten Pieces contributors, is Richard Mainwaring, who created resources for both Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries and Verdi’s Dies Irae. Richard talks to Music Mark about musical building blocks, James Bond and metaphorical buckets of water!

What were your intentions with the resources that you created?

My intentions were to persuade pupils that classical music uses exactly the same building blocks as music that they are more familiar with.  With this in mind, I wanted students to use these pieces as inspiration for music they want to create, regardless of genre. This is why I boiled down the Wagner to two chords (a third apart) and why I tried to show the chromatic similarities between the James Bond themes and the Verdi.

Why do you think Ten Pieces matters in the current music education climate?

Every time that you throw a metaphorical bucket of water at children, some get wet. You won’t get everyone every time, but you might get some. Ten Pieces is a big bucket of water which might just soak a load of kids in a musical language that could change their lives.

If you could choose an ‘eleventh piece’, what would it be?

What about the last movement of “Feste Romane” by Respighi? Brilliant… and bonkers!

Describe the best music lesson you’ve taught (or seen taught)

The best lesson I ever taught was one to myself. After learning tenor horn for about 3 years, I took delivery of a French Horn. A week later, I performed a solo on the new instrument in a public concert, and splatted it all over the walls! It was a humiliating disaster. The lesson was simple… always, always prepare thoroughly!