We've been working with the deaf children at Selwyn for the last couple of years and over that time have introduced them to a whole host of instruments including the harp, bassoon, tuba and today the electric guitar. Our musicians show the children how their instruments work, how the sound is made and then join in with the second part of the session where everyone plays together using percussion and their own bodies to create rhythms.
Orphy, who wasn't in today (he's at Hackney Empire rehearsing for a show, our musicians get everywhere!) has been leading the sessions. Over the last 8 weeks he's got the group thinking about visual scores which can show long and short, loud and quiet sounds, as well as indicating when to play different instruments, or use parts of the body to make noises. From seeing the first and the last sessions, I can see how much the children have all picked up the concept and can now play quite long and complex visual scores, stopping and starting together, which they devise themselves using colours and lines to indicate changes.
As I mentioned, today was the last session, which is a shame as the children are a really great group to work with, always interested and keen to ask questions. They even give everyone sign names, mine is me miming playing the viola, as that's what I do in my spare time! We really hope to be back, funding dependent, as Selwyn are going to be seeing a lot more of NLO players in 2009/10 as we take up residency there, providing the whole school with music as part of the curriculum as well is after school activities.
Thanks to Max who joined us for the first time today and who we hope to involve in our projects in the future. All the children got a go on Max's guitar today, check out the photos!