Haytor View Early Years Music Project with BSO Devon Associate Hugh Nankivell
Wednesday 21st October 12.20-3.15pm
Today was the last session before half term and the school had arranged a concert for 2.30 for the Foundation Stage children to perform their songs. All of the children, except for three had parents/family come along and they were very positive.
So what did I learn today?
That the children felt supported in the concert by me, and that it is completely ok for me to be playing alongside them on the stage. This supports them, makes them feel good about being a musician and gives them confidence to carry on being creative.
I had a very good conversation with the class teacher during the week and she persuaded me that at this stage the children need affirmation and support, and me singing the words, playing the harmonies, being in the space with them is completely ok and positive and that this is good modelling for them.
What else did I learn today?
That things can change at any stage. One girl suggested, just before we went into the dining hall, that before doing a concert we have to have a warm-up. And so I invited her to lead a warm up. And she did.
I also learned that the provocation from the week earlier of us wearing bat and owl head-dresses was very influential and all the children came dressed as bats or owls today. They looked wonderful. This reminds me that the nature of the provocation can be very powerful. The way you set up. The songs you sing. The instruments you play, the clothes you wear and much more.
Todays session reinforced for me that the longer you work with a group in a setting, the more you can become part of that community and, if your eyes and ears are open then the more you understand about it and the more that you can fully engage with it: – observing children and families in and around the shops down the road as I buy my lunch; talking to parents as they drop off and pick up their offspring; meeting someone working in public health who told me what he knew about the area; noticing when a child suddenly starts to talk after several months of being silent in the classroom; seeing the changes in the seasons as it changes within and without the school; getting to know the staff and the way they work and interact with the children; meeting a governor and a friend of the school; talking to the cleaners while they are tidying up and I am writing up and much more. I get to feel I am a part of that community.
Of course there is value in one-off sessions, and I often lead them in various setting, but at Haytor View, having tried to plan a project here for two years and now having been here for a term and a half, I feel as if I am just starting to get to know what is possible, what support I can get and how the project might emerge.