Today I had a rehearsal with Gill and a mixed age group of children and younger adults with special needs. We are performing at a fiesta class next Wednesday at 10am. The fiesta class is a competition for different special needs schools competing in choirs and small musical groups throughout Edinburgh. However, it's not the winning that counts- it's the participation of different schools coming together and enjoying the music in a fun and creative way that accommodates their special needs. I'm assisting with St Crispins School and Canaan Lane School as I am playing the harp and piano to accompany them. My Grandad, Sandy, is coming to help with both of these items as he plays the mouth organ and it will add an extra instrument to both pieces. I'm really looking forward to this concert.
Tomorrow afternoon I am haviing a rehearsal with my friend Jill Reaves the music teacher for St Crispins. The pupils of St Crispins, my grandad Sandy MacLean and myself are rehearsing a version of the Gallic song Broughinlong, which translates as "thin porridge". My grandad will be playing the mouth organ, I will be playing Celtic harp and Jill will be playing fiddle with some of the pupils who will be plucking some fiddles along with her. The rest of the children will be playing drums and singing. We are also going to be playing a version of Old Lang Syne, which will involve some tamberines and a drum kit. Luckily we will be using a backing track for this excerpt to keep the rhythm and tune together; I expect this will be a very loud session in parts ( I may wear ear plugs!). This will be for the Fiesta as posted on my previous 'Oustsite College', blog. I am really looking forward to this rehearsal as it will give me an insight into how a music teacher plans and delivers a session with autistic children.
Today I had a follow-up rehearsal with Jill and Grandad at my house. Before Jill arrived I let Grandad listen to a recording that Jill and I made on my Victor Stream. When Jill arrived we had a run through of Brochenlong together and discussed the over all structure and speed for Grandad. We are going to have a run through with the St Crispins children and Jill next Wednesday. Can't wait! Also Jill has asked me to play for the other school that she teaches at, Canaan Lane, in their piece about a Scottish giant called 'Angus the Brave'! It's based on the story of Finn Mac Cools and Angus Benadonna and Jill has also asked Grandad to join in to make it more interesting.
On Sunday afternoon my Mum and I went to see my harp teacher, Fiona Rutherford's new composition Sleep Sound . "This piece is an exploration of sleep and dreams", I thought the music was very soft and mostly peaceful to listen to. There were five movements each with a silence in between. The piece was freely structured around sleep patterns with movements entitled Settle; Lullaby; Insomnia; Nightmare and Flying Dream. The musicians featured were Fiona Rutherford (composer) on celtic harp, Anna Wendy Stevenson and Shona Mooney on violins; Mairi Campbell, violin and vocals; Su-a -Lee on cello; Amy Duncan, double bass and vocals; Lauren Mackie, piano; Rachel Newton, harps and vocals; Colin Scott Moncrieff, narrator. A poem was narrated throughout the piece which added to the structure of the work, and words were sung in between the narration. I would like to listen again to a recording of Sleep Sound, to be able to fully appreciate the different textures of the music. From Nightmare, a discordant and jarring piece to Flying Dream, with its soft and tuneful melody.
Yesterday I went to Glasgow for Hear My Music which is a charity that integrates music into activities for people with mixed abilities and who are from underprivileged backgrounds. At first we did a drumming warm up to start the session, then we made up a small composition with descriptive words that the group members had used to describe themselves. For example; happy, spiky, relaxed. We then used pitched and unpitched percussion to describe each other in a musical way. The group really enjoyed this and worked well together. Overall the session was really enjoyable and in my opinion it was one of the best sessions we have had so far because the group really listened and worked well with each other.