Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Music and Literacy Baden's Blog 2

Our Music & Literacy project Moving on with Music continues at Redlands School in Tower Hamlets.

Redlands blog, Thursday & Friday 9 & 10 July

After a day off spent nursing sore vocal cords and tender eardrums, the team are back to try and tidy up the various pieces that will go into Friday’s performance: songs, rap – oops! make that “riff” - and soundscape/poem, letter readings; some of this unscripted, all of it woefully under-rehearsed (who am I trying to kid? Make that completely unrehearsed. We’re still at the learning stage here, at best)…

Thursday is a battle against time, with Jade class (as ever) proving to be a real handful. They’ve produced some brilliant work for the soundscape, but getting them to settle, concentrate and produce the required musical backing is hard work. By the end of their session everyone’s nerves are frayed. Emerald are a totally different proposition. By the end of the day they’ve got it all down pat…

Friday morning: reinforcements arrive in the form of Karl “S-Kool” Sorenson and Dave “Hosepipe” Powell. A couple of rapid-fire run-throughs later and it’s time for the morning dress rehearsal in front of the whole school, minus Years 5 & 6. The children are shoehorned into the hall and treated to a surprisingly successful and relatively smooth-running presentation. This could work…

Friday afternoon: Year 5, augmented by a healthy turnout of bemused parents, make up an appreciative audience and are treated to an entertaining and varied hour-long programme. The children perform the “Hello,” “Bala-Bala” and “Moving On” songs with enthusiasm; the school riff (NB: it’s definitely NOT a rap) and soundscape actually work; a small number of hand-picked children read extracts from their letters with varying degrees of audibility and fluency (some are excellent); Baden recites his “Que Sera” poem, aided and abetted by Year 6 (who almost know it by heart by now); and the musicians – well, they do what musicians do. The TV Medley draws particularly warm applause.

All too soon, it’s time for the “Goodbye” song, for final presentation of school- leaving certificates and photos, and time to say goodbye. It’s been challenging; it’s been frustrating; it’s been chaotic; but overall, it’s been fun. Time to say goodbye: “Namaste!”

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