Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Music & Literacy - Baden's blog

Our Music & Literacy project Moving on with Music started this week at Stewart Headlam Primary School in Tower Hamlets. Here's what Baden had to say about the first day:

The early hours of Monday 29th June 2009.

A day that started like any other. The sun rose in the sky. Important news from around the world reported "resounding triumph" (Brasil, football); "heroic failure" (England, rugby); "resounding failure " (England, football); "impending disaster" (England, forthcoming cricket series).

Meanwhile, in the far-distant near-reaches of east London, three* intrepid artists huddled together fearfully at the gates of Stewart Headlam school, bracing themselves to face possibly the greatest challenge of their professional careers to date:
decimated school population, laid low by swine flu? Pah!
ditto teaching and support staff? No problemo.
Anywhere to park? Aha...

*Er, slight adjustment needed. Make that TWO intrepid artists. The third had manfully (!) given up the quest and made his lonely sojourn by bus.

Let's move on to the early hours of the afternoon:

The artists are locked in the school and isolated in a classroom, together with the last known survivors of the virus. Fourteen sneezing, coughing, spluttering soon-to-be adolescents; one teacher who looks as if he's about to join the celestial choir. They are armed only with a bottle of antiseptic gel, several phials of vitamin C, and a quiverful of talent.

The pupils are understandably apprehensive at first, but in the end, talent triumphs over fear. An amazing session ensues, one in which the pupils seize on each and every opportunity to express themselves and to engage in a lively, enjoyable and well-planned (!) workshop incorporating music, song, rhythm and rhyme. They take to it like hypnotised chickens sopping up Kentucky corn. They dispense word-gems, vocal and lyrical emerald-song, a never-ending dazzle of that sparkle like rubies and star- diamonds...

We – the artists – catch fleeting glimpses of ourselves, reflected in the sheer gloriousness of the pupils’ creativity. We love what we see.

The artists retire. “Tomorrow, same..?”

No. Tomorrow will not be the same. Tomorrow promises another mirrorful of miracles.

And Hot Chocolate: “I believe in miracles…”

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