My primary school work is always about encouraging the students’ ideas, capturing them and working collaboratively to create something which none of us could have made without each other. It is co-operative (which some groups can find a challenge in itself), affirming and confidence building. It assumes the participants already have ample skills, experience and ideas which they can bring to the project and which will shape it.
It’s also risky and exciting, because you never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s frustrating – ideas are provisional and may change over the course of the project. But this is good – truly creative projects do not come with well-defined briefs. Together we explore, wrong turns are taken, and at times the creator(s) has/have to be resilient to keep going.
And music is a wonderful area to be creative in. It creates an amazingly strong sense of community by connecting the group emotionally and co-ordinating them physically. Working creatively is rewarding and enriching, but also difficult to evaluate in traditional terms.
Often my work leads to the creation of songs and at times, large performances. These have included:
Into the Light for 2000 children preforming at the Royal Albert Hall. 200 children contributed to the ideas in the piece.
Complete recording in 2 parts
Stepping Stones – a Philharmonia project which ran for 6 years and culminated in performances at Bedford Town Hall and Southbank Centre.
Magic Musicals with Blue Elephant Theatre and Royal Academy of Music – making a short theatre show from children’s composed stories, lyrics and songs http://michaelfaradayschool.co.uk/
2 collaboratively created operas Operas Soca Op’ra and Amesbury Battle with Operahouse Music Projects
Nelson with schools in Tower Hamlets and, the Royal Academy of Music and Spitalfields Music
A Musical Sketchbook with the children’s writer and illustrator Karen George http://karengeorge.net/
The Tempest for Oxford Lieder Festival
My work in Primary schools has included:
"If human intelligence were limited to the abilities measured in IQ tests, most of human activity would stop or would never have started"– Ken Robinson
"As John Blacking puts it, 'The development of the senses and the education of the emotions through the arts are not merely a desirable options. They are essential both for balanced action and the effective use of the intellect.' And he adds 'The idea that educationalists must be converted to the belief that the arts are as important to society as reading, writing and arithmatic, not a disposable extra, will not carry conviction as long as people maintain the defeatist, elitist notion that artistic talent is a 'rare gift'. A capacity for musicality is not a rare gift, but something that we all possess to some degree or other. It is part of being human." –Philip Ball The Music Instinct