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WANTED: Young writers

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield

FIRMLY established as part of the local cultural calendar, Stratford Music Festival is looking forward to its 20th year and organisers are keen to hear from anyone too young to remember its first.

From 10th to 24th October, the festival showcases a string of renowned classical, jazz, folk and world musicians in a series of concerts and events throughout the town. This year’s line up features the Midlands Youth Jazz Orchestra, BBC Young Musician of the Year, Laura van der Heijden, and celebrated actors Henry Goodman and Joanna David.

The festival is asking musically-minded students to get involved and asking for their opinions on the fortnight of concerts, recitals and events. Budding young critics are being offered two tickets to a performance in return for a short review, which will then be published on the festival website and on the Herald’s arts pages or website. With works from classical, choral, contemporary, jazz, folk and world music, there are plenty of events to choose from.

The festival opens on Saturday, 10th October, with Musical Wonderland: A Family Fun Day at Stratford ArtsHouse, with music provided by local schools and groups, instrument-making and bhangra drumming.

To find out the full programme of events and how to become a young reviewer, visit the website at www.stratfordmusicfestival.com

How to write a review: six top tips from Herald arts editor Gill Sutherland

1 It’s easy to feel daunted by having to write a review – but just say what you think, but in a creative, entertaining way. Use your own voice, write as you would speak. Read other reviews (good ones!) to see how experienced writers express themselves.

2 Detailing your emotional reaction to something is often more relateable to readers. Did you laugh? Cry? Jump around the room with your pants on your head?

3 Be imaginative with your words. When you describe things, use words that are interesting and not clichéd or dull: eg, ‘juicy’ rather than ‘nice’.

4 Offer your opinion – what was good/what was bad/your highlight.

5 Include facts: when, what, where, who, how… But don’t get bogged down in detail. For example, name the key actors or players in a play or band – but don’t feel you have to give them all. Give a glimpse of the plot - what happens but not too elaborate and don’t give the ending away. Name songs that were played – but not whole set-list.

6 Think about openings and endings to your reviews. Try and grab the reader with an interesting opener – a curious fact, describe a scene, or ask a question… There are many different ways – again, look at the variety of openers employed by expert reviewers. In closing your review, think of a pay-off line, or another good method is to link back up to your opening sentence.

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