Masterclass for Shepparton string players

By John Lewis

Shoppers and pedestrians in central Shepparton were treated to the sweet sound of classical chamber music floating through the high ceilings and stained glass windows of Chapel on Maude yesterday morning as Goulburn Valley string players honed their skills under the guidance of a professional violinist from Orchestra Victoria.

The masterclass for four players was made possible by a Fairley Foundation grant that brought John Noble’s string quartet training program to the former Wesley church for a three-hour face-to-face session of tips and techniques.

Mr Noble, a violinist with more than 25 years of experience, has been running classes for young district musicians for about four years.

He said while some classes were run across the internet on Skype, his personal classes provided a chance for musicians to play together, and for more experienced musicians to mentor younger players.

‘‘It makes such a difference to play side by side. This provides invaluable lessons on body language and gesture and it’s a healthy way to solve problems,’’ he said.

‘‘The group then takes on a real sense of ownership and pride.’’

Among yesterday’s players was Liesl Parnell, 14, who took out the Shepparton Young Instrumentalist Award at a gala concert in Shepparton last September. She also plays first violin in the Goulburn Valley Concert Orchestra.

Ms Parnell said yesterday’s session was challenging, but rewarding.

‘‘Mr Noble always thinks of a way to make things better,’’ she said.

Other players included Evi Shepherd, 18, from Nathalia and more experienced players Carole McGregor from Shepparton, Kerri Jennings from Violet Town and Wanganui Park Secondary College music teacher Charlotte Drinnan.

Fairley Foundation chief executive Amanda McCulloch said the foundation was pleased to fund Mr Noble’s string quartet program.

‘‘We’re really pleased to see the program continuing, and thrilled to support the arts in our community,’’ Ms McCulloch said.