Sunday, December 03, 2006

SWAMP DERBY

Been neglecting the blog a bit as I have been travelling back and forwards to Derby the last 3 months,This was normally at least one day per week.The reason was a project with Derby Jazz and 2 Schools within Derby.The project being led by local musician Walt Shaw and myself.Walt a fantastic musician who creates lovely original instruments from found objects i.e drainpipes,wood,bins,metal,paper etc just about anything really. The Swamp project was funded by the Arts council creative partnerships scheme whereby original music and in this case instruments are created with students who are not necessarily music students.The students took to the project with great enthusiasm particularily the design phase which involved the CDT department of the local secondary school.I would muck in also with drilling,sawing,glueing what ever was needed to bring sn idea to fruition.
All the way through this project there has been research undertaken to look at the how the students are responding and engaging with different methods of creating art. Walt has been amazing at raising their awareness of what can be achieved with bits of junk.One school had an absolutely rreat head of Expressive Arts dept,Who went above and beyond the call of duty to make the whole thing run smoothly.However there was also in the background throughout the whole process some descenting voices who where doing the "Why can't we stick to the tried and tested methods that were used to bit" but I think judging by the ecstatic response to our final day and the subsequent evening performance from both the students and their parents,We achieved all that we had set out to do in the first place. In fact one parent even came up and said "Its probably annoyed them even more now that it gone so well". That they didn't even say goodbye at the end of a three month project or thanks was a teeny bit strange,but hey,it's about the students! I Had a great time and it really was fun conducting the final performance with such interesting sounds being generated from the students incredible array of original instruments.
This year I have been lucky to be involved in some big education projects all having their own difficulties but each having their own successes in the final analysis.Not all so called Educators have agreed with the methods employed in order to achieve the final result,but this has made the process in many cases more interesting than the final outcome due to the resistance,which is fine.It does however mean there are still more than a few dinosaurs out there who would love to maintain the status quo that sees them sitting atop their own mini castles but you can't have everything.Me I have learnt heaps and long may it continue.My final thought is about the student who came up and said "I didn't like music before,I didn't know it could be so exciting!but I want to play Violin now,do you think they'll let me"?
lots of Thanks to Walt,Corey,Geoff,Steve.

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