What is BBC Ten Pieces?

With the arrival of BBC Ten Pieces at this year's Proms, here's our quick guide to the project that's helping 7-14 year-olds discover classical music


Ten Pieces composer Kerry Andrew


How do you teach today's children about the wonders of classical music?

It's a thorny question, and one which the BBC's Ten Pieces hopes to answer. In 2014, ten works from every era of classical music were chosen from primary school-aged kids, ranging from Handel's Zadok the Priest to 'Mars' from Holst's The Planets. The plan was to show off the genre's variety, proving that it is vibrant, engaging and exciting.

And so was born Ten Pieces I. After kicking off with a specially made film in cinemas across the UK, special resources were produced for schools along with workshops with top musicians, virtual classes linking schools together and even appearances at the BBC Proms.

Since then, we've had Ten Pieces II – for secondary schools – and now Ten Pieces III, which started last September. The scheme has so far reached over four million schoolchildren in total, and a BAFTA has even been won, for the Ten Pieces II film.

• BBC Ten Pieces

• Our children's guide to Beethoven's Symphony No. 5

Does Ten Pieces include any new music?

Every phase of BBC Ten Pieces has commissioned a contemporary composer to write a new work. First was Londoner Anna Clyne's Night Music, which combines electro-acoustic music with the classical orchestra.

Next was Scottish composer Anna Meredith's Connect It – a body percussion piece written for the children taking part in Ten Pieces II to learn and perform. It layers clapping, stamping, shouting and beatboxing, teaching vital lessons about rhythm and composing with whatever comes to hand.


• BBC announces line-up for Ten Pieces III

• Inspirational classical music

What's this year's new work?

This year's new piece is No Place Like, by another British composer, Kerry Andrew. She asked children around the country to answer questions about their homes, and received hundreds of responses from which she created her multi-layered piece.

'The hardest question I asked was to name some sounds which were particular to their home town,' says Andrew, 'so when I collated them there was this beautiful sonic portrait of the UK.'

Like Meredith's Connect It, Andrew's work uses body percussion. 'I just couldn't help putting some in. A big part of my creative ethos is to use the whole body – not just conventional singing – to create music.'


What's on at the Proms tonight?


Prom 19: Sunday 29 July 2018

Music by Kerry Andrew, Mason Bates, Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges), Copland, Dvořák, Elgar, Orff, Purcell, Sibelius, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky

CBBC's Naomi Wilkinson hosts this Prom featuring a host of performers and the BBC Symphony Orchestra and conductor Rafael Payare

The Prom will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

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