Monday, July 6, 2009

Music & Literacy - Lucy's Blog 2

Our Music & Literacy project Moving on with Music finished at Stewart Headlam School on Thursday 2nd July. Here's Lucy's blog from the day:

Blog, day 4
The Performance!

The last day today and we were missing Baden, our performance poet, who was replaced masterfully by two musicians, Karl Sorrenson on clarinet and Dave Powell on tuba, accordion and hosepipe! This last instrument is a Heath Robinson contraption of green garden hose, trombone mouthpiece and a Pinocchio faced funnel. The children blow in the mouthpiece end and feel the funnel end either in their ears like an old fashioned telephone, or against their stomachs. Both produce gales of laughter and a long queue to be the next to have a go.

We were in the large school hall today and the children had to add voice projection to their list of talents. We did a morning assembly to the whole school, using it as a dry run for the afternoon and a chance for the musicians to play their instruments to the massed children.

One of the most gratifying things is when the children begin to come up with their own ideas and offerings, and these began to pour forth on this last day. It takes time to build trust and familiarity and this often starts to happen as we come to the end of our time in a school (or is it relief that it’s all nearly over?). We had volunteers to introduce and close the assembly, to read from letters they had written and also extracts from their own poems, all of which were a huge success.

The second assembly in the meltingly hot hall, which seemed to involve the whole school again, and a sadly small number of parents was a romp through all that we had done in the 3 days; 3 songs, 1 wholly and 1 partially written by the children, a school riff, poems, letters and announcements. The audience were kept busy either fanning themselves or clapping loudly.

As always, the only thing you can guarantee about a school’s project is that it will never be as you expect. You can plan all you like but what you need is a quick, creative response to what you are faced with in the room on the day. We had an exceptionally lively and creative group of children in Stewart Headlam School, and despite the extreme heat we all wished we could have had another week with them. The end of year 6 is a great time to catch these kids. They are mature enough to offer many of their own ideas and still young enough to be up for trying most things.

I hope they learnt a little about performance, rhythm, descriptive words and putting these together to create a picture or song. They developed as a team and were able to take responsibility well and quickly. We all hugely enjoyed working with them and would also like to thank their class teachers (the only ones left standing against the flu) Martin and Joe.

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