CBSO Planets Creative Project

I have been working with students from Holyhead School over the last 2 weeks to compose songs inspired by Holst’s The Planets. All students went to a CBSO performance of it a few weeks ago, this was our composition stimuli. At the start of the workshops I gave participants the option to compose about planets in our solar system or make up a completely fictional one.

All opted for the later but two groups kept the astronomical names. We had some truly imaginative creations. The most popular planet was Venus- turned into a romantic, mystical place, other creations were Blue -Ray, Stardust and Stardonia. I shall upload music next week.

It was truly an educational experience, I have always wanted to work with the CBSO, I joined the CBSO Youth Chorus when it first formed and was always blown away when taking part in colossal works by great classical composers such as Mahler, Britten and Orff . Being a part of such a prestigious and virtuous music group inspired me to practice several hours a day; I wanted to be a classical musician during most of my teenage-hood.

It has been great working with an orchestral member and having the guidance and support from someone who performs on a regular basis. Mark Goodchild helped guide the young people through performance skills and tricks of the professional trade.

We were also given the task of mentoring local primary school students; we had an intense 6 hr day to bond, pass on skills and get everyone’s performances ready for the big day at Town Hall. We are going to showcase our work this Wednesday 18th June- 6:30pm- how exciting!!

I have to give a big mention to Ms.Georgiou who was instrumental in the coordination of the project and dived straight in! She helped the students with their pieces as best she could and was a really positive force. I have delivered a fair amount of workshops- (well I think), and teacher’s attitude towards them differs quite a lot!! Sometimes gentle coercion of support staff sees them getting stuck in and having a laugh, yet unfortunately it can result in some busy bees lurking further at the back of the room/catching up with work; which is a real shame.

It’s always good for students to see their teachers getting involved and having fun. It inspires confidence and motivates. Some students may even think to themselves: “Well, if my teacher is prepared to look a tool, well maybe I might then….”


The summer term is always quieter work wise. I have been hustling the last few weeks; consequently promotional skills have improved.

2 projects I am excited to be working on are with CBSO Education where composition and creativity are based around Holst’s ‘The Planets’, the second is for THSH’s ‘Pipe Up’ project pivoted around cathedral organs.

During this quieter period I have been networking quite a fair bit, reading about developments in the community music sector and brushing up on my marketing skills.

In an earlier blog post I wrote how working as a part-time teacher would give me further insight into the world of formal education and help me decide whether to do a PGCE.

I suppose applying for the MediaSnackers’ trainer position is pretty much the biggest indicator of my decision not to be a full-time music teacher. I choose community musicianhood!

I really enjoy teaching my students, but I prefer the level of interaction I get working with smaller groups and being able to teach topics that I am passionate about and enjoy. One of several perks has been teaching keystage 4 and 5: individuals who realise the importance of music and are motivated. I had such a blast learning dance steps with students, from pavan and galliard to disco!!

I managed to get some friends into blogging; a pilates instructor and promoter/DJ/producer/cycle enthusiast chum. I was astounded by how keen and quickly they took to it. Why don’t you say ‘Hi!”

My blog has been recommended by the Music Manifesto website!! How cool is that!?!

Lastly, please click for an adventure in exploiting and bullying from Surface Unsigned Festival! In my opinion forcing bands to sell a set number of tickets in order to perform is manipulative, they have also tried to silence the peeps at Created in Birmingham! Tut tut!

Power to the blogging community! May we continue to scrutinise and encourage democracy! (Well maybe let’s not survey all my typos)!!