Wednesday, 5 May 2010

hi all

we have finally come to the end of our project culminating in our presentation to staff pupils and parents as part of the school's arts week. having just re-read tom's post below I can happily state the we exceeded out expectations by being able to include performances of 'jackaroos' involving all of the participants and 'john's diet' featuring John Roper and Connor Wilson. Sadly we didn't video the performance! however as part of the show we did, as planned, produce a brief profile of each of the pupils work during the project. This ensured that, if there were any glitches on the day, the audience would be left with a good impression of the pupils progress throughout the project. I have to admit that in some cases these were completed late at night by me and I am currently no whizz at video editing. I have improved slightly in recent days, so next time..

anyway here are the slightly ramshackle profiles and I will put up the video of the trip
to DW stadium back in November shortly when the sound track is sorted.

The sound is slightly random in places (apols) but you get the picture as to what we got up to with each pupil.

On the day, they all did brilliantly and it went smoothly through the program:

Hello everyone and then each pupil individually - great singing from both connors
jackaroos - martin on vox, sean and robbie on keys, John Roper and Connor wilson on switches , sophie on flute via midicreator sensor, connor young on sound beam
space launch - featuring connor W on countdown switch, sophie on launcher (soundbeam). JR on rumble drums, sean and robbie on spacey sounds (keys)
space oddity - martin on lead vox with an amazing bowie impression, sean on keys, connor young on space dust (SB) sophie on flute and bass (MC sensors)
Talk and videos - featuring me talking too much
John's Diet - Fish and chips, sausage and chips, 12345 bananas, I like spaghetti I don't like cabbage.
Frerer Jaques - featuring robbie on keys and vox!
..............until we got to the grand finale womanizer which was to be with both martin and sean and vocals accompanied by the video.. unfortunately owing to a technical fault - a dodgy lead- the mic didn't work which was disasterous... lesson learn't.

anyway, have a look and MAKE A COMMENT!


merlyn (drake northwest)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

work in progress

just chucking this up so tom can have a look really but after finding my way round an editing package i have the fruits of a top session with sean and martin at landgate school last week. The aim is to create a brief musical montage for each of the students involved in the project and one tune featuring all of the pupils - in a shameless ripoff of the talented kutiman (check if you haven't). I got bit carried away. apologies for the quality.. will do a better version shortly. As you can see both sean and martin are talented guys and hopefully sean will be starting piano lessons following his involvement with the project. result.
see you soon with more..

Monday, 1 March 2010

Out with a bang!

Hello from Drake South West!
'All Things Must Pass' was the title of a solo album by George Harrison. He was right of course, and in light of that, Digital Beginnings at Penrose School concluded just before February half term. Since I last wrote, we completed the last few music sessions and went out with an appropriate bang - a performance in the hall on the last day of term, to which we invited the rest of the school as well as parents and carers of our musicians. It was a good turnout, and I can safely say that a good time was had by all. Many of our musicians really shone in the limelight - 2 students didn't quite feel like being on stage and one wasn't well, but out of 19 that wasn't bad!
In the final week, we also recorded a version of each of our four tracks: 'Sea Shanty', 'Ghostly Song', 'Farm & Country' and 'Number 7'. Each student took a CD home, and we also left copies with school staff. Overall, the outcomes from this project have been really pleasing. Liz Tebbutt (deputy and Music Coordinator at Penrose) has asked if we can come back and do some more sessions at a later date. If you would like a taste of what we got up to, have a look at the video of our performance, which was kindly filmed by Chris Tebbutt.
Thanks, Alex.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Hope Arts Week

We've been working with five pupils from Hope School and two from Landgate (both in Wigan) since September last year. The sessions have been massively varied, as there is a wide range of needs and talent in our group. Aided by sensory pads, Midi-Creator sound beams and Ableton Live we have been able to identify each group member's musical capabilities. Sophie has responded enthusiastically to using sensory pads programmed through Ableton Live and is particularly fond of contributing flute and bass sounds to a musical accompaniment. John has shown an aptitude for rhythm and has been working on several drum patterns with Merlyn using word assoiciation exercises. Connor Wilson has also shown a good understanding of rhythm as well as a willingness to add vocals to our introductory theme, 'The Hello Song'. Connor Young has been working with sensory pads and sound beams, he has contributed to jam sessions and used our sound beam launch pad with great enjoyment. Robert's excellent pitch has been a real encouragement to Merlyn, Nathalie and I. Robert has been working on finding melodies on the keyboard, successfully playing 'Frere Jaque' and 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' with ease. Sean and Martin from Landgate school have been excellent throughout the course of the project. Martin has an obvious talent for singing but Sean has shown excellent talents on keyboard aswell as singing. Both Sean and Martin can effortlessly sing a song from start to finish in one take.
Collectively, last term we worked on a visual/audio piece based around a space launch and the David Bowie song 'Space Oddity'. Each student has a role to play in the journey of a space shuttle taking off, some musical and some visual - for example Sophie uses a sound beam with her wheelchair to provide the sound of shuttle taking off, Martin sings 'Space Oddity' and John Roper changes the lights to give the effect of the changing atmospheres.
We've planned a week by week schedule to ensure each student is able to achieve their maximum potential. We are now working towards a performance at Hope Arts Week in May. Each student will make a profile showcasing their talents to be shown to members of the school, teachers and parents. We are also hoping to include some live performances and maybe the collective 'Space Oddity' piece.


Friday, 22 January 2010

Digital Beginnings SW 2

Hello again from Digital Beginnings South West. Time for a slightly overdue update!

We have now completed 7 of our 10 music days at Penrose School in Bridgwater. This week’s session was the first since December due to the snow, which caused the school to close on the previous two Wednesdays. After the first 2 or 3 weeks which we spent working with pairs of students, we put together a timetable which features 4 groups of 4 or 5 children. The needs of the children at Penrose vary a lot, and school staff were keen for us to work with all the students from 3 classes in keystages 1 & 2. This has meant that our groups are quite mixed, with students with physical disabilities working alongside students who are more physically able. In every group the line-up includes players using Assistive Music Technology as well as some who are accessing mainstream instruments – mainly percussion. A distinct theme has emerged in each of the groups over the sessions, and they have all been ideas that came from the students. We have a counting song based around the number 7, which happens to be Victoria’s favourite number. We have a song about some rowdy farm animals (working title is “Moo! Baa!”), a seaside song and a ghostly tune where the students are the ghosts and they have come along to scare the adults. We have 3 music days left and are working towards recording each song and building to a performance in assembly on the final day of Term 3 (Friday 12th Feb.) We will endeavour to film the performance and put some clips up here for you to see.

The following video clip features footage from early sessions. The musicians are Aysha, who plays Soundbeam with her feet (the sensor is above her legs, and is just out of shot), Daniel, who is apparently not usually as communicative and extroverted as he is in our sessions (especially when he has a mic and a nice delay effect on it!), and Lewis who is playing electric guitar using MIDI Creator. All of these musicians will feature in our performance in February.