Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Summer Term 2016 – Blog 9

Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Summer Term 2016 – Blog 9  – 14 April 2016

Hugh Nankivell – BSO Associate

Just three sessions left now before we begin our family band project. So I had a clear plan for today, to play music inside and outside (to the far side of the school, the only bit we hadn’t been to yet) and to ask the group how they felt about the differences between making music inside and outside. We achieved both of these things.

So, after we had sung the ‘Hello’ song together I asked how they felt about playing music outside and we recorded the conversation, and here are some of their answers:

Happy, sad, cold, outside makes it colder, it makes the instruments really fast, makes the guitar really fast, really speedy, I can beat my mum to a race… [and then a conversation started about racing parents and who was the fastest]

After that conversation I asked how they felt about playing music inside and these were the responses:

Nice, warm sad, happy, mad, I really don’t like the cold, I really hate the cold… I’m going to play a song about vampires. I don’t like getting wet. If there were holes in the school the rain would come in. If there were big holes people would fall in. I would drown ‘cause I can’t swim. I can’t swim, I can swim… [and then it went off into a conversation about who could swim and who couldn’t and who used armbands etc etc] 

So then I explained that we would play inside and then outside and then one person said

No we don’t have to go outside, I want to stay inside. It’s starting to rain, I don’t want to go without wellies. [and it went back to the conversation about swimming and arm bands and who liked the wet…]

So I wanted to find out what they thought about the difference between music indoors and outdoors and got some interesting verbal responses. You can have happy and sad music indoors and out, but outdoors makes the music go fast and indoors the music can be warm and mad! But each time the conversation quickly went off into their areas of interest – racing parents, leaking rooves, arm-bands and swimming. In this moment of the provocation I didn’t follow their leads into these other areas, but instead suggested we get the instruments out and explore music-making indoors, before doing the same outside.

After an hour of playing inside with instruments, hiding, drawing, using sticky tape, arguing, discussing and much more, we went outside to the far side of the school. Immediately being outside felt very different and the energy of the group felt less bounded. There was a group doing PE on the playground, there were birds and traffic to listen to, there were ants to find on the ground and much more. We sat in a circle and discussed what we could hear and – with a bit of a struggle – made up a song together with an idea from everyone.

It feels cold – pshhhhhhhh

I heard a bell – ring

I heard a bird – craa craa craa

I heard a car – mrrrrrroooom

Look there’s an ant

Look there’s an ant

Look there’s an ant

And then there’s a bus.

Outside the focus is very different and the energy did seem faster (as predicted earlier on)

and next week we will go outside first of all, to see what difference that makes.

There is so much happening at these sessions, and this is just a snapshot of what is going on. Here is a little converation with ‘A’ as we got my guitar together. This was after it had been played by a group of children for some time (in fact at one moment there were four children playing it at once – see the picture) and was now quite out of tune. ‘A’ played each string carefully one at a time:

A             That’s a bad song

Me          Why is it bad?

A             Cause you can’t even sing something else. (I strummed it and it was very            dischordant)

A             How do you when it’s gooder? [meaning ‘how do you put it in tune? I think]

Me          Put it in tune?

A             (nodded)

So I tuned it up and ‘A’ watched very carefully and then I played a D major chord.

A             What is that? Flock’n’roll?

And indeed D major is the first chord of ‘Flock’n’roll’ and so we started to sing it together and others joined in.

So what happened here? ‘A’ was really exploring the difference between in tune and out of tune, he associated that with good and bad, and understood that you can’t sing with an out of tune guitar. So what does this mean for ‘A’ when he gets an out of tune Ukulele – as he often does have one to hand? But it also showed his acute hearing – he realised that the D major chord was the start of a song he had heard (but not recently) and felt happy to have recognised this and started singing along.

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