Haytor View Early Years Music Project – Blog 6

Haytor View Early Years Music Project with BSO Devon Associate Hugh Nankivell Wednesday July 1st – afternoon session.

Really great session from the playing with the kids and familes as they arrived to the end of the ‘big concert’ in the hall.

The provocation today had some immediate responses. I took in a ‘score’ with three different ways of writing – curly purple words for singing (and indicating pitch), straight orange words for speaking, and pink dots for playing (again showing relative pitch). and a very simple story-line. I sang the piece to the class and showed them the score.

The second thing is that I took in 3 xylophones and 2 glockenspiels today and used them in the provocation. These instruments became key to the session and were used throughout by the group. At one point the class teacher pointed out that they are really ideal instruments as the children can sing along to each syllable with them – and sometimes you can see the singing even without hearing it.

So ‘W’ created a wonderful new song during the whole of the session called ‘What music is it’. He replicated some of the provocation – like repeating three times and different colours for each line. ‘W’ and I played together for a few minutes. he got my assurance that this was ok, and then took a xylophone over to a table, got paper and pens and set to work. He composed the piece over the next hour, moving with the music as he sang and played and wrote it down. Each time he came to the end of a page he asked me for another and then continued writing it out, it ended up being 3 pieces of paper taped together.

I was reminded of the combined joy of creating and usefulness of graphic notation when I saw Bjork at the weekend performing live as she had two large film projections of graphic music for two of her songs. It was really inspiring and just like ‘W’ relating his music and visuals together.

‘E’ also responded and made new music and songs, but probably less to my direct provocation. She did make up a new song (about Sports Day – again incorporating what was going on into her world – today is sports day at the school) and did do a ‘score’ but this was a picture, but it did include all five elements to her song – running, jumping, kicking drinking and first aid kit.

Again I observed a connection between child music making and adult, as later in the afternoon we had a parents session and composed a new song with them (without the children – I am not sure that they were really expecting this at all!) and this was also about sports day. When I asked what we should make up a song about the first response was ‘sports day’. So ‘E’ and the adult group responded in the same way. They both used what was relevant and interesting to make up a new song. The group of parents (about thirty in all) made up a song really quckly and then proudly sang it to the children when they came in.

SPORTS DAY (by the parents/carers)
Run run run
Sun is shining
What a lot of fun
Everyone is smiling
Sports Day
Sports Day

I imagine this was a first for most of the parents and it was great to chat with them during and after the event.

The picture shows my provocation (top left) and the two scores by ‘W’ (right) and ‘E’ (bottom left)  that were then composed as a response.

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One thought on “Haytor View Early Years Music Project – Blog 6

  1. Hugh, this is wonderful thought provoking…and dare I say the over used word…’creative’ work. Thanks SO much for sharing. I love the idea of your provocation….and then the children and indeed adults having ownership of their own songs. And it means you are truly valuing their music,…on their terms. A great example – I think – of co construction! Vygotsky eat your heart out!

    Jane Parker

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