"It was incredibly rewarding!"
Anita Okienko is a year 3 BA (Hons) Popular Music student at Edinburgh Napier University with the main focus on voice as her instrument. "I am driven and passionate about making positive changes in the local community. As a music student I always try to develop my skills and look for opportunities."
Anita channelled this drive and passion for music by volunteering as a vocal tutor for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Vibe programme.
"The main challenge for me was the transition between being a student to becoming a teacher"
"My passions are vocal groups and a cappella singing. It is my dream to lead a small vocal ensemble and share my knowledge about safe, healthy singing techniques and my interest in voice as a powerful instrument itself."
SCO VIBE is a fusion orchestra led by internationally renowned animateur and guitarist Paul Griffiths, open to young musicians aged 11-18. The course is open to all singers and instrumentalists from any musical background, including classical, folk, rock and pop. Over the course of a four day workshop, participants create and perform their own music with the guidance and support of professional musicians.
SCO VIBE is delivered in partnership with Drake Music Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council.
"It was incredibly rewarding"
Anita told us more about the project.
"The SCO Vibe project took place in Broughton High School in April 2015 and it was a week of music making and social workshops. Each day was filled with creating music and working in section groups (vocalists, strings, woodwind etc.). Every day we had a different task to do - Paul split us into groups where we had to work on our individual material."
"The main challenge for me was the transition between being a student to becoming a teacher - I had to be confident enough , make responsible decisions and decide on the creative outcome of any activity. One day after a great brainstorm the girls came up with fantastic lyrics ideas which we later used in one of the orchestra's compositions."
"This experience definitely confirmed to me that I want to become the best teacher I can possibly be"
"It was incredibly rewarding to see this great bunch of aspiring musicians having so much fun, interacting with each other and learning new skills. The feeling when you start noticing your contribution towards a child's education is impossible to describe - so heart-warming. This experience definitely confirmed to me that I want to become the best teacher I possibly can."
Anita goes on to describe her aspirations for the future. "In the future I want to become a vocal tutor. Both of my parents are music teachers in a local school back in Poland. They have always been my biggest inspiration. Being able to see my parents' students being so passionate about music and my parents enjoying their career made me think I would one day become a teacher as well. As a singer I want to share my skills, knowledge and passion for music with others."
"I enjoy making positive changes to the local community that's why the SCO Vibe project was a great opportunity as it was designed for Edinburgh-based children. I think we can change the world by making small changes in our own surroundings and being a good example for others. I would definitely take part in this project again!"
Anna Hainsworth from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra commented "It was lovely to have Anita on the project as she brought a lot of talent and enthusiasm to the team."
"SCO VIBE is a fantastic project as it brings together young people from all musical backgrounds and allows them to work collaboratively and creatively. Every participant brings their own talents, ideas and musical influences with them and our brilliant animateur, Paul Griffiths, helps them to combine these to produce exciting new music."
Anna continued, "Student Tutors are invaluable to making SCO VIBE work and bring a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and skill. We’ve worked with students from Edinburgh Napier on several courses now and they’re always reliable, positive and have a great work ethic. It’s a pleasure to have them on board."
If you're interested in getting involved with SCO projects, please see the SCO website for more information - www.sco.org.uk/creative-learning/university-college-student.
Finally as always, we asked Anita to sum up the experience in 3 words.
"Fun, rewarding, educational!"