Spring Term 2016
Children who are learning a musical instrument have been queuing up to perform in Friday assemblies and the sign-up list is getting ever longer! So far we have been treated to performances on the piano, alto saxophone, cello, violin and clarinet and they highlight the thirst for learning an instrument that we have at St Mary’s. Well done to all who have played!
M:Tech students have loved putting together their own Bond themes, learning about basslines and melodies; Infant Choir have been singing about baby beluga whales and a chap called Aiken Drum who lived in the moon and had clothes made of cream cheese and haggis bags! And Years 1, 2 and 3 gave a confident performance in their concert to show off their developing skills on the recorder or flute through the Wider Opportunities scheme.
In our lessons this term, we have been thinking about different aspects of music making, ranging from Year 6 who dispensed with instruments and, inspired by current British composer Anna Meredith, used just their bodies to put together a piece using sounds and movement, to Year 4 who used their class book Varjak Paw to inspire them to recreate scenes in the story using music rather than words.
SUMMER TERM 2015
M:Tech has really taken off with more than 50 children in Key Stage 2 grabbing the opportunity to be creative using the latest in music technology. This term the children created their first musical masterpiece and they also worked towards their Grade 1 certificate in understanding music theory, keyboard skills and technology. At the end of term, all the children took home their composition on a special CD and we were treated to hearing the prize-winning compositions in assembly and we were amazed at how much they had learnt in such a short time. I’m looking forward to hearing next term’s project, still under wraps at the time of writing!
Wider Opportunities Concert: back to more traditional musical learning, all the children in Y1, Y2 and Y3 showed off their new skills in playing the recorder or flute this year by performing in front of the rest of the school and parents and what a great concert it was! They have made the most of this fantastic opportunity to learn an instrument, and their reward was in the applause. Well done all!
Infant Choir: each week we have been rehearsing hard on Mondays after school and it all paid off in a concert in the last week of term in front of the rest of the school and parents. The children showed great singing and movement and thoroughly enjoyed performing to such an appreciative audience.
SPRING TERM 2015
Project Earth Rock
We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to host a twilight INSET for this musical, multi-media project in February and on the day we had teachers from 10 schools visit us to learn all about it.
Run by Jess Gold, one of the founders of this sustainability project, she introduced us to the songs she co-wrote for the scheme as well as the clever animations that have been created to encourage children to really understand sustainability in all forms. Song titles include Power Challenge, Fossil Fuels, Counting the Carbon, You don’t have to fly, and many more and they are all very catchy and easy to learn.
A resource such as this is a brilliant way to bring such an important topic to life through singing and will be an excellent addition to the teaching at St Mary’s, fitting in with our topic-approach to education.
Music comes in so many shapes and forms and here at St Mary’s we are really keen to bring music education right up to date with the introduction of Music Technology in Key Stage 2.
So we invited Chris Pietrek, who is co-director of M:Tech, a company that has several years of experience in teaching this relatively new form of creating music, to give all the children and staff in Key Stage 2 a demonstration of what can be achieved if you have all the right tools to hand! And he had the whole hall enthralled by his introduction to recording, editing and mixing music using the latest technology.
From ‘froggy style’ sounds to pizzicato strings, and ‘drum ‘n bass’ to a tremolo keyboard, he demonstrated the incredible range of electronic instrumental sounds to produce your preferred style of music at the touch of a few buttons.
To begin with, we will run a course for the children who would like to do it at lunchtimes as a club starting in the Summer Term, and each term they will have a different project to work on, which could be making music for TV adverts or producing radio shows, amongst many others. And it’s not just about ‘playing around’ on the computer as the children will embed their learning about all the musical elements that they are using in their standard music lessons as well. The children will also work towards attaining grades, just as you do when learning any other musical instrument, so their progress is monitored and rewarded with a certificate once they have achieved each one. In addition to this, each term the children will take home a CD of their completed project to keep and which they can play on their home PCs and proudly show-off their composition work to their parents.
For more information about what it’s all about, please visit www.mtechonline.co.uk/parents
I am very excited about this project and I look forward to hearing the first exciting compositions at the end of next term!
Mrs R Le Prevost
Balinese Gamelan Workshop
On Thursday 6th November the school hall was taken over by an array of exotic-looking instruments as a full Balinese Gamelan orchestra was set up. Consisting of a series of ornate gongs, metallophones, cymbals and chimes, the children’s eyes opened in wonder as they came in for their class workshop.
The first instruction was to take their shoes off as the instruments are considered to be sacred and so all players are to show them respect. The children were then given instruction on how to create an authentic piece of Indonesian music through a series of rhythms played on their instrument. Each session culminated in a class piece and the air was filled with the ringing sounds of the instruments, which could be heard throughout the school!
I was delighted that all the children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 were given the opportunity to experience this very special form of world music as not only did they learn to play a collaborative piece in the time they had, but they also learnt so much about this unique art form, as they proved to me in their following music lesson. I would like to thank Mike from Inspire-works who led the workshop, as the children were still brimming with their experiences the following week!
Here are just some of the comments they made about it:
“We got to play a massive tune altogether (it sounded amazing!)” – Isabella, Year 6
“It is different to the music in England, and it’s fun” – Pola, Year 6
“I enjoyed playing the instruments the most because it was fun and we all sounded good together” – Matty, Year 6
“It was the best workshop I’ve done at St. Mary’s!” – Saskia, Year 6
“I enjoyed all the different instruments and how Gamelan is very different to how we play music” – Hannah, Year 6
“I enjoyed learning instruments from a different country” – Jasmine, Year 5
“I loved how different the instruments are” – Algie, Year 5
“I enjoyed playing fast and learning a song. It was fun!” – Andrew, Year 5
“I enjoyed it very much and I wished I could play more instruments” – Anais, Year 4
“I enjoyed the sound because it is really fun listening to the vibrations” – Hope, Year 4
“I enjoyed playing the different instruments and learning about Indonesia and Bali” – Thomas H, Year 4
“I enjoyed learning that there are 50 moves in the Gamelan dance and 30 of them are eye movements” – Milly, Year 4
“I liked that it always made a nice sound even if you got a note wrong” – Gabriella, Year 3
“I loved it, I would like to play again” – Aaron, Year 3
“I love the sounds when they are combined” – Nicholas, Year 3
“I loved it as it was so much fun” – Michael, Year 3
Mrs R Le Prevost