On the Royal Festival Hall stage, the children in the Montagu School Ocarina Group listened eagerly to the adjudicators as they prefaced their comments with “we don’t know how difficult it is to play an ocarina, so it hasn’t been easy to assess this performance”.
This is an ongoing issue with Ocarinas. Are Ocarinas too simple? Do children learn music ‘properly’ with these four-hole wind instruments? Is reading from tablature as acceptable as reading from staff notation? People get hung up on the instrument and its teaching methods, overlooking the quality of music performed – the very thing that should mark a child’s musical progress.