Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Summer Term 2016 – Blog 11

Haytor View Early Years Music Project, Summer Term 2016 – Blog 11  – 27 April 2016

Hugh Nankivell – BSO Associate

My last session as part of the BSO/Ernest Cook Trust sessions with children at Haytor View, before we have our three sessions starting a family band – beginning next week.

Today my plan was to spend time one-to-one with children to see what emerged with a multi-track recording facility. I have done this before with Foundation stage children and it has produced some really interesting results. I record them playing some music and then, with them wearing headphones, we can record another layer (or more) on top of this, making an improvised multi-track recording. Today’s session is perhaps best described as ‘interestingly uneventful’.

I worked with six children for between five and twenty minutes each in a small room, away from the Foundation Stage. ‘J’ really took to it, adding 7 overdubs and wanting to develop them each time, but others seemed very bashful.

J’s piece was called – HOT DOG and featured the following instruments, recorded in the following order:

1 DRUM
2 AFRICAN SHAKER
3 RAINSTICK
4 UKULELE
5 CHIME BARS
6 FROG
7 2 SHAKERS (THE AFRICAN AND THE ARMADILLO)

‘J’ chose the instruments he wanted to play and was very comfortable and confident when playing (although the headphones did ruffle his hairstyle a bit!) What was most interesting about this was: a) the general sense of a rhythmical connection between all seven parts (some really connected, others only loosely so) and the fact that the recordings got longer and longer and the last two much longer than the others. ‘J’ was getting used to the idea and enjoying playing and hearing himself back, and once he knew it was the last recording his playing went on for longer. This shows a developing self-confidence and I have experienced this before with another very creative child of the same age.

‘W’ didn’t say a word, ‘C’ wanted to get back to the classroom for a game he and a group were developing, ‘AL’ had a bad cough and didn’t want to wear the headphones (neither did ‘E’). ‘A’ sang her song from last week and we overdubbed a little, but she wasn’t really in the mood it seemed, and ‘E’ only wanted to play if I played with her.

I think that the reason that it was not as interesting as I hoped for was because this kind of session probably needs to come out of an activity in the classroom where interesting music is being developed and where we can take the ones who are developing it somewhere quiet to record that music. But this session was entirely about recording them individually and for most of them, there was no reference for this activity. A pity, but another learning curve for me. Also, our whole project this term has been about the outside, and learning in that very open environment and this was almost the polar opposite! So perhaps it was strange of me to end an outside and collaborative project with individuals in a small room!

So now I need to collate all the extraordinary music made inside and outside on this project (and make a map of where and when) and prepare for the new Haytor View Family Band.

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