Stanley's response to his Japanese melody

Music Making in Lockdown

One of the most frustrating parts of being a musician at the moment is not being able to make music together with other musicians, and not being able to get in front of a live audience and share your work.  For any of us working in the performing arts these are difficult and potentially depressing times;  even on Teams calls with our Burton Hathow classes, a number of our children have told me how they can’t wait to be back in choir, or orchestra, or jazz band, making music together again.  Watching some of the media coverage over the last few days after the passing of Captain Tom, I was struck once again by his mantra – “Tomorrow will be a good day”.  I believe that society will need its creative artists all the more as that “good day” eventually comes, to keep sharing our common experience, and to keep telling the stories we all need to hear.

Over this last term I have been so uplifted by the creativity and positivity of our students.  We have continued to study the inner workings of music at really quite sophisticated levels, with all year groups developing composition tasks.  Year 1 and 2 have been looking at Japanese gardens, and taking inspiration from them to study Japanese music and instruments.  They have composed some wonderful melodies and also produced some fantastic artwork in response to what we have listened to.  Year 3 have been investigating Indonesian Gamelan and composing pattern melodies that could fit into a Gamelan performance, while Year 4 have been developing their awareness of structure within melodic writing, and coming up with their own longer pieces.  Year 5 have spent time with the music of Edward Elgar, and composed music inspired by his Enigma theme, and Year 6 have been getting to grips with electro-acoustic music and planning electronic soundscapes with found sounds.

In addition, as you will know, every year group has been singing!  We would normally have been getting ready to present an informal concert just about now, but as this isn’t possible I have asked for the children to submit their “virtual choir” recordings to me, so that I can edit them together during the half term break.  On this occasion our half term celebration of the children’s musical efforts with arrive just after the holidays instead – watch this space!