These past two weeks, the Pendlebury Library of Music has once again played host to some Year 10 work experience students who are studying at local schools. Here’s a taste of what they got up to…
On Monday 4th July, I arrived at the Pendlebury Library of Music for my first day of work experience organised via my school Comberton Village College. At first I was slightly nervous as I had never been in a working atmosphere like this before. However I soon settled in and began to work. Throughout the week, I was given jobs to do around the library and I learnt different skills such as how to find and secure books using the Digital Library Scanner and how to catalogue CDs. These tasks gave me a clear understanding of the working day and what everyone does each day. I also worked with Anna Jenkin, Outreach Officer, creating a display on the Outreach work in the foyer of the West Road Concert Hall.
I am looking forward to what I will encounter each day and the lessons I will learn. This experience, so far, has been very valuable and gives me an insight into the working life. I hope that I will use the rest of the week to my ability and gain an amazing experience and a life-long lesson.
Monday the 11th of July marked the beginning of my work experience placement via my school Chesterton Community College. Having not set foot in a library for about 5 years, you can understand my slight discomfort as I entered the unknown. However my fears were soon forgotten as I was set straight to work with my colleague Lucy from Impington Village College. We spent the week learning about how a library functions, and which tasks are necessary for everything to run smoothly – albeit there were no students because they had all gone home for summer. However we had a staff picnic with the music team from the Cambridge University Library so I met several new people.
My favourite part about the week was having the ability to do the task in our own way. We were only told what the outcome needed to be, not how we should achieve this, which meant we could work as a team to be efficient and find the easiest way to complete a job. Lucy and I created a collage on an empty noticeboard in the library’s Supervisions Room and revamped the Supervisor pigeonhole boxes which has brightened up the room a lot. We were given a big box of book dustjackets to use for inspiration and let loose with the glue, scissors and guillotine!
As you can see below, it was worth the effort and the room now looks much brighter.
We also had a tour of the main University Library across the road, accessing areas that weren’t usually open to the public. It is like a maze in there, but we had Margaret Jones of the Music Department to show us around. In all seriousness the library is an amazing feat of engineering, both modern and historic, and being able to see artefacts that don’t exist anywhere else was quite amazing. We even ascended the tower, via a very small elevator (even though I’m rather afraid of heights so I made it my mission to not let on).
I have been working with Michael for my week’s placement from Impington Village College from 11-15 July. On Friday, the final day of my week’s placement, I got to experience a Year 12 taster day that the Music Faculty were running. In the morning, I helped Anna and Joe (the Faculty Outreach officers) set up and I then helped hand out timetables and free bags, with extra booklets and information about studying music at Cambridge, to the Year 12s when they arrived.
The first part was a lecture on Bizet’s Carmen in context, delivered by Dr Delphine Mordey. It was really interesting and I learnt a lot about opera (although that wasn’t hard seeing as I knew practically nothing beforehand), including a feminist view on it.
I then got to look around Newnham College, including having fish and chips for lunch, and Selwyn College. Dr Mordey gave us a quick tour (including showing us Newnham’s library) and during it I learnt about the differences between the Cambridge Colleges (e.g. that some are more formal than others) and some of the reasons why you would choose to go to a certain one.
In the afternoon, we had a composition workshop with Dr Kim Ashton where firstly, we had a go at composing a short piece using only four notes (which I found quite hard), before briefly analysing a Stravinsky piece and looking at different modes (we looked at unusual types of scales that have been used by composers or certain genres of music). For the last part, we got in to groups to compose a piece using one of the modes we had looked at: I was in a group with two other girls and for ours, we planned a basic structure and then improvised around this using notes in a whole-tone scale. We all performed at the end and it was interesting to see what everyone had come up with – each group had created something really impressive, even though we only had a very short time to do it in.
The Year 12s then had a tour of the Faculty (including the library where they saw some of the music in the collection, that I helped get out for display on Thursday, which used more unusual forms of notation – see above) before a Q and A session when they could ask questions about the course and applications. Overall I had a fantastic day: it was really interesting, I learnt lots of new things, and I also got a taste of what it might be like to study at Cambridge.
With many thanks to our three work experience students this summer.