Addysgu Cerddoriaeth yng Nghymru: Cyfweliad â Geraint Evans/Teaching Music in Wales: An Interview with Geraint Evans

Eisteddom ni lawr gyda Geraint Evans, rheolwr Gwasanaeth Cerdd Ceredigion, i’w holi am ei waith o ddysgu cerddoriaeth i bobl ifanc ac am ei amser y tu allan i’r Gwasanaeth.

Chi yw rheolwr Gwasanaeth Cerdd Ceredigion – sut fath o waith yw hynny? 

Mae gennym 20 aelod o staff, a fy swydd I yn y bôn yw cydlynu eu hamser yn yr ysgolion. Maent yn yn gwneud gwersi ym mhob ysgol dros nifer o ddisgyblaethau; llinynnau, pres, chwythbrennau, a gwersi lleisiol hefyd.
Mae gan holl ysgolion Ceredigion un aelod o’r tîm sy’n ymweld â nhw unwaith yr wythnos – weithiau ddwywaith os ydynt am gael gwers ychwanegol neu os ydynt wedi cytuno i helpu’r ysgol gyda rhywbeth. Mae gennym nifer o ensemblau sy’n ymarfer yn wythnosol – mae sector y Gogledd a’r canol, sy’n cynnwys band chwyth gynradd a llinynnau, ac yna sector y De sy’n cynnwys band pres, chwythbrennau ac ensemble, a hefyd cerddorfa llinynnol. Fy mhrif rôl, felly, yw cydlynu cyngherddau, trefnu lleoliadau, a gwneud yn siŵr fod yr ysgolion yn hapus gyda’r gwasanaeth maen nhw’n eu dderbyn. Rydym hefyd yn gweithio ar draws ffiniau sirol gyda phum sir arall, felly chwe sir i gyd – Ceredigion, Sir Gaerfyrddin, Sir Benfro, Powys, Abertawe, a Phort Talbot. Rydym yn cynnal cyngherddau blynyddol yng Nghanolfan y Celfyddydau, ac hefyd ym Mhenfro ac yn Sir Gaerfyrddin.

Ydych chi’n gwneud ychydig o addysgu eich hun?

Dau ddiwrnod yr wythnos dwi’n dysgu – dau ddiwrnod addysgu ac yna tri diwrnod yn y swyddfa. Mae’n wych – yr ochr ddysgu o’r swydd sy’n fy nghadw i’n gall! Dwi’n mwynhau dysgu plant cynradd ac uwchradd, ac mae’n wych gweld ymateb y plant unwaith byddent yn gallu chwarae tri nodyn! Ac mae eu gweld nhw’n chwarae yn eu cyngerdd cyntaf yn ffantastig, ac mae’n rhoi’r brwdfrydedd iddynt symud ymlaen, ac efallai chwarae’n broffesiynol yn y pen draw. Mae un o’n cyn-ddisgyblion bellach yn chwarae’r brif trombôn yng Ngherddorfa Symffoni Birmingham, a pethau arall gyda Cherddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig y BBC a dechreuodd y cyfan o gael y gwersi cerddoriaeth yn yr ysgol.

Pa mor aml ydych chi’n addysgu yn Gymraeg ac yn Saesneg?

Bob dydd. Mae’r Gwasanaeth Cerdd yn gwbl ddwyieithog, a gallwn gynnig gwersi yn Gymraeg neu’n Saesneg. Mae ein staff wedi ei rhannu, byddwn i’n dweud, tua hanner a hanner – oherwydd bod nifer fawr o ysgolion Cymraeg yng Ngheredigion. Mae rhai o’r staff yn hapus i fynd i mewn a gweithio yn y ddwy iaith, ac ymdrechwn i weithio yn ddwyieithog os yn bosib.

Ydych chi’n mwynhau eich swydd?

Yn hollol. Dwi’n cael y cyfle i basio bopeth dw’i wedi dysgu dros y blynyddoedd i bobl ifanc yn y gobaith y byddent yn ei fwynhau cymaint â mi. Mae hi bendant yn werth chweil, yn enwedig os yw’r disgyblion yn mynd ymlaen i chwarae’n broffesiynol. Ar lefel broffesiynol neu ar lefel amatur, gallwch fynd i deithio a chymryd rhan mewn cymaint o wahanol bethau, yn gymdeithasol ac yn gerddorol.

Yn ogystal â’ch amser yn addysgu a gwneud gwaith gweinyddol, rydych chi hefyd yn treulio cryn dipyn o’ch amser yn arwain, nag y’ch chi?

Ydw, dwi’n cynnal dau fand mewn ysgolion uwchradd – band wynt a grŵp pres bach. Hefyd, dwi’n cynnal band wynt cynradd y Gogledd, sydd â tua 35-40 o aelodau, a ry’n ni’n ymarfer unwaith yr wythnos. Dwi hefyd yn cynnal band y dref, Seindorf Arian Aberystwyth, sy’n gymysgedd o fyfyrwyr, pobl leol a phlant ysgol lleol – ac mae’n agored i unrhyw un o bob safon, a bydd unrhyw un sy’n dod atom ni ar nos Fawrth yn cael croeso cynnes iawn.

Yn amlwg mae’r bandiau mewn ysgolion ar agor i’r disgyblion sy’n astudio yno yn unig, ond os bydd rhywun yn awyddus i ddysgu chwarae offeryn pres fel oedolyn, neu ailgydio mewn offeryn, sut gallent fynd ati i wneud hynny?

Wel, yn aml mi fydd pobl yn ymuno ag un o fandiau’r brifysgol wrth symud i fyny neu ddod i Aberystwyth i astudio. Ond os ydynt am ddysgu offeryn, neu ailgydio ynddo, gallent ddod i’r Seindorf Arian Aberystwyth. Gallant ddod draw ar nos Fawrth, ac rydym yn ffodus iawn ein bod yn gallu rhoi menthyg offeryn iddynt i ddechrau – ac os ydynt yn ystyried eu hunain yn ddigon da, gallent brynu eu hofferyn eu hunain. Naill ffordd neu’r llall, rydym yn eu hannog nhw a gwneud yn siŵr eu bod yn mwynhau eu hamser yn Aberystwyth.

Yn ddiweddar, roedd gan y Seindorf Arian daith gefeillio i Saint-Brieuc yn Llydaw. Sut brofiad oedd hwnnw?

Da iawn – dyma oedd fy ymweliad cyntaf. Roeddwn i fod i fynd pan oeddwn i’n iau, ac yn aelod o’r band fy hun, ond yn anffodus, torrais fy ysgwydd y diwrnod cyn gadael, ac mae’n 35/40 mlynedd ers y daith honno. Cawsom ein gefeillio â Saint-Brieuc 40 mlynedd yn ôl, ac mae’r band wedi bod yno bump neu chwe gwaith, ac maen nhw hefyd wedi ymweld â ni. Dyma’r daith gyntaf ers tua 35 mlynedd, ond rydym wedi ailgynnau ein cyfeillgarwch ac rydym yn gobeithio parhau gyda’r berthynas trwy gynnal teithiau blynyddol – ni yn aros gyda nhw, a nhw yn aros gyda ni.

Mae Seindorf Arian Aberystwyth yn ymarfer bob nos Fawrth 7.30-9.30 yn yr Ystafell Fand, Rhodfa’r Parc (nesaf i Pets at Home).

Marching down Queen Street in November Credit: Aberystwyth Silver Band

Marching down Queen Street in November
Credit: Aberystwyth Silver Band


 

We sat down with Geraint Evans, manager of Ceredigion Music Services, to ask him about his work in teaching music to youngsters and his time outside the Service.

You’re the manager of Ceredigion Music Services- what sort of thing does that entail?

We’ve got 20 members of staff, and my job is to coordinate their time in the schools. They go round and we do lessons in each school over a number of disciplines; so we’ve got strings, we’ve got brass, we’ve got woodwind, and we’ve got voices as well. All the schools in Ceredigion have a member of the team go in once a week, sometimes twice a week if they want an extra lesson or if they’ve agreed to help the school with something. We’ve got numerous ensembles which have a weekly rehearsal; we’ve got the North sector, which has a primary wind band and strings, and then we’ve got the mid sector, which has exactly the same, and then the South sector which has a brass band, a woodwind ensemble, and then a string orchestra. My main role, then, is to coordinate concerts, organise the venues, and make sure that the schools are happy with the service that they’re receiving. We also work across county borders with five other counties so we’re in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Swansea, and Port Talbot; we do annual concerts up in the Arts Centre, and also in Pembroke and Carmarthenshire.

But you do some teaching yourself, though?

I do, I spend two days teaching and then three days in the office. It’s great, the teaching side of it keeps me sane. I really enjoy going down to grass roots with kids from primary and secondary level, and it’s great fun because of the response you get from the kids once they can play three notes. Once they play their first concert it’s fantastic, and it gives them the enthusiasm to move on, and perhaps even end up playing professionally. One of our ex-pupils is now principal trombone in the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and another plays with the BBC Orchestra of Wales, and it’s all from having these peripatetic music lessons in school.

How often do you end up doing teaching in English and Welsh?

On a daily basis: the Music Service is totally bilingual, and we can offer it in English or Welsh. Our staff is split 50/50 English/Welsh because the schools in Ceredigion are in Welsh, and some of the staff are happy to go in and work in either language. Some of them struggle a little but we work bilingually if possible.

Do you enjoy what you do?

Absolutely. It’s great because I get to pass on everything I’ve learnt over the years and pass in onto youngsters in the hope that they enjoy it as much as I do. It’s definitely rewarding, especially if pupils go on to play at a professional level, and no matter whether you play professionally or at an amateur level, you can go travelling and get involved in so many different things, both socially and musically.

In addition to your time teaching and doing admin, you also spend a fair amount of your time conducting, don’t you?

Yeah, I do two secondary school bands – a wind band and a little brass group. I also do the North primary wind band, which has about 35-40 members in, and we rehearse once a week. I also conduct the town band, the Aberystwyth Silver Band, which is great because it’s a mixture of students, local people and also local schoolchildren. It’s open to anybody of all standards, and anybody who comes along on a Tuesday evening will get a very warm welcome.

Obviously the school bands are only open to the pupils who study there, but if someone wanted to take up a brass instrument as an adult, or get back into music having previously played, how would they go about doing that?

Well, often when people find they enjoy playing, they would join one of the university bands when moving up, or coming to Aberystwyth to study. But if they want to learn an instrument, or to get back into it, the trick again is the Aberystwyth Silver Band; they can come along on a Tuesday evening, and we’re very fortunate in that we can loan them an instrument to start with, if they consider themselves good enough, then they could purchase their own instrument. Either way, we try to encourage them and make sure they enjoy their time in Aberystwyth.

The Silver Band recently had a twinning trip to Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, how did you find that?

Really good! It was my first visit; I was due to go many moons ago when I was a young lad in the Silver Band. Unfortunately, I broke my collarbone the day before we were due to go, so it’s been a good 35/40 years before I’ve been able to get on the trip. We’ve been twinned with Saint-Brieuc for 40 years now, I believe, and the band has been over there five or six times, and they’ve visited us over here. This has been the first trip over in around 35 years, but we’ve re-kindled our friendship and we hope to continue that by annual trips from us over there, and by annual visits from them over here.

The Aberystwyth Silver Band rehearse every Tuesday evening from 7.30-9.30 in the Band room, Park Avenue (next to Pets at Home).