The Waiting Room

Harborne Academy‘s waiting room transformed:

We faced several drawbacks, people not understanding the ideas of our transformed space, (especially older groups), some said there was not enough seating, some didn’t like it, but we quickly we addressed their concerns, and resolved any issues.  Continue reading “The Waiting Room”

Paganel School “Home Week” Final Performance

It’s over and done with! The performances at the school were great, I was impressed with how well the classes did and the headteacher said the performances were fantastic! What really made our job easier was the support from the teachers, who had rehearsed the songs and staging during the week, how lovely!

We were able to add the finishing touches to the pieces, could offer year 4 a good hour and a half to refine their hard work, year 3 (in my opinion) were pretty much ready to go on stage before we arrived, they knew what we were doing and gave us advice!

Many thanks to teachers Mr. Harwood, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Philp and the head! Also to the musicians for adding an extra dimension to the performances and of course to Chris for being ace and easy to work with.

Down Your Way

I have been invited to work as one of 3 lead artists for a Sound it Out project called ‘Down Your Way’. We’re in the preliminary stages at the moment and will have a planning session this week. I was keen to sign up because of it being an intergenerational heritage and music project. I think it’s important for young and old to be able to interact with one another regularly, especially creatively because both parties have important skills, experiences and perspectives to share.

During this project participants will collect and research the history of Castle Vale and work them into a musical performance of some sort.

One of the tasks I have been set is to create exercises that allow interview material to be turned into melodic ideas. I am pondering over ways to turn words, text and oral history into musical phrases. How can I do this in a fun, engaging manner? Well, I am not sure as of yet, still mind mapping ideas and outlining problems. I shall post my findings.

I also came across an excellent blog by an Ozzie chap lady called ‘G‘. It has some cool resources for any music education practitioners and has inspired me to share more workshop ideas.

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….”

Perry Beeches School First Workshop in April ’07

Originally uploaded by Bobbalinhot.

I am working with the Performing Arts teacher of Perry Beeches School to give some of the year 8 and 9 students an opportunity to experience the joys of music. Some of the groups I am working with seem disengaged with education and for most teachers behavioural issues occur frequently. Quite a few participants were on report or were given detentions.

It is definitely going to be a challenge to make these students become creative and motivated about music. At present it is difficult to move from behaviourist or teacher led activities let alone to more cognitive exercises. I will persevere!!

I will have to have to engage with the ring leaders to a certain degree to get the pace of workshops faster.

Archbishop Ilsley School Music Workshop Session 1

I have started the first of 10 music workshops with year 8 students at Archbishop Ilsley School. We had loads of fun. We explored pulse, pentatonic scales and got to know one another. I was exhausted by the end. The Music teacher at the school has been brilliant!! Really supportive, open to new ideas and has given me lots of valuable advice!