Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Autumn Term 2015 – Blog 1

Haytor View Early Years Music Project with BSO Devon Associate Hugh Nankivell
Wednesday 16th September 12.20-3.15pm

Really wonderful in the new space of the BRAND NEW school. Just seventeen children in today as they gradually add more to the foundation stage over the next few weeks. By the end of the session I had managed to learn all but two of the children’s names.

My provocation was to make up a new song after arriving at the new school about the new space. In group time I had a group of nine children and we stayed basically singing this new song for over thirty minutes – adding in shakers, claves, drums, ukuleles and other percussion and taking it into story and playing really happily. It was great when, by the end, everyone was asking for it to be sung one more time, so it was hard to end the session. I made the structure of the song (3 lines repeated and then a final rhyming line) based on the last song we wrote at the end of the last term about being outside at the last site. So there is a connection between the old school and the new.

The song is NEW SCHOOL

This is our new school x3
We think it’s very cool

We’ve got lots of space x3
In our brand new space

Ooh Happy to be here x4

We talked about adding new verses to the song, and came up with this.

Playing with ukuleles
Playing with the drums
Playing jumping outside
Playing with the sand

We did then go off into an improvised story line with going up into space, based on the way that the egg-shakers were being held (like a space rocket) so we had a 5-4-3-2-1 and blasted off to space and landed on the moon, where it was too cold, and then the sun, where it was too hot, and then a planet where the witch Rosie lived and we then went off into fantasy for a bit with unicorns and magic spells and then I broke it all by bringing it back to earth. Is it good that I needed to bring us back to earth? I felt a need to bring us back to something we knew. Is that my desire for control or order or a need to find an ending?

Lots of real enjoyment in that session. We then broke up and off into different play sessions and formations.
I then spent most of my time with two pairs:

‘P’ and ‘S’ playing with the toy animals on the artificial grass – and ‘P’ very happily singing up the world. I was mainly echoing her back, and sometimes (probably) interrupting her flow of thought. Also my echoing was formalising the process and perhaps this was not exactly what she was wanting, but I am not really sure.

Anyhow, we did (between us) make up a chorus that ‘P’ sang beautifully and later she sang it to Chris the music co-ordinator when he came into the room. (Interestingly she sang it exactly a tone lower than originally.) Later in the ‘sharing’ she sang a more improvised version of it (while eating an apple) but still very confidently and comfortably.

I like animals and they jump
and they sing
and they play

Manuscript for the song 'P' sang 'I Like Animals'
Manuscript for the song ‘P’ sang ‘I Like Animals’

I have notated it and sent it to the class teacher today so she can show ‘P’.

After school I chatted with ‘P’s Mum and her (and played her a recording of ‘P’ singing) and asked Mum if ‘P’ sings at home and was told that she does all the time – songs from Kanye West to ‘Frozen’ to making up her own songs. This really shows me how, if a parent sings and plays musically with a child then that child will feel musically comfortable and confident and this was certainly the case with ‘P’ and I am looking forward to following her musical lead this term.

Then I played with two other girls – I went and met them at a table where they had rolled up blue cellophane which they told me was their map and we then went on an improvised journey around the room (and the imagination) singing it as we went along. They were really keen on leading in terms of ideas and where we were going and the things we were exploring and seemed really delighted that someone was following their lead.

My provocation for next time might be the idea of mapping and song – can we map the whole school in music?


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