Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Spring Term 2016 – Blog 2

January 21st 2016

BSO Associate – Hugh Nankivell

We are planning on starting a family band at Haytor View to be up and running next term. This week we took a good few steps towards that family band. We began with a session in the classroom with the children and then had a whole hour in the hall of about fifty 4 and 5 year old children and their parents (and many younger siblings) playing and dancing together. It was wonderful.

The parents came along not knowing that they would be dancing, but they came trusting that they would have fun and share in something creative with their children in this wonderful new school.

They danced newly minted and old folk dances (taught to them on the spot), they listened to each other, they created music, they played instruments, they swapped instruments, they followed conducting, they laughed and they played together, and the hour flew by.

This week I had invited my friend Hugh to come along. Hugh is a dance caller and we had great fun together. We especially liked the question from one child as to whether we were twins (both having the same first name!).

Hugh both called existing ceilidh dance steps and he collected movement ideas to make new dances while I played the guitar and the mandolin to accompany them all. As soon as I got out the mandolin and strummed it some of the group began to move and so it was great to have Hugh with me to take that movement on and develop it further.

We didn’t explain that there were any rules to follow and this meant that everyone looked out for everyone else and ideas flowed.

Dance is a really good way to lose inhibitions and to go from a ‘called’ dance to a newly created one is one good way to establish both a physical bond between folks and also a creative bond and the understanding that this is a place where things can happen and be created.

The new song I constructed from last weeks words (‘A Dinosaur In The Clouds’)was very popular and the group learned the words and made a sequence of movements to go with it.

Some children responded to movement in a very positive way and there was a great little discussion about what is a ‘real’ dance. Hugh assured us all that we can all dance (just as I assure them all that they can sing and play music) and one boy said that a real dance was when ‘you move around’.

So the new family band will have song, instruments, movement and more and we are several (dance) steps nearer to it after this week.

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