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Workshops at Newfield School

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

Workshop leader Emma Doherty tells us about the recent OMF Workshops at Newfield School, Blackburn

On Thursday 28th March, myself (a singer), Poppy (saxophonist) and Cameron (pianist) set off to Newfield School to run two immersive workshops with some of their older students. Newfield is a school that provides high quality specialist education for children and young people aged 2 - 19 years and the first thing we noticed on arrival was how lovely, bright and welcoming the school and staff seemed.

The workshops began with a name game and hello song to get to know the students better, we asked each student to present their name and an action, which was then repeated by the rest of the group. Cameron then performed three excerpts of various genres on the piano, and we asked the students how this music makes them want to move or how it makes them feel – straight away students were up and dancing or swaying in time to the music.

We then decided to use movement to explore how we can create music. I began to move, kicking my legs and waving my arms in the air as Poppy musically interpreted my physical actions on the saxophone. If I waved my hands frantically in the air, Poppy would perform high pitched, frantic sounding music whereas if I slowly moved my arms from high to low, the trajectory of the music would smoothly follow. We then had multiple students get up and perform movements to create their own pieces of music – everything from balletic leaps to Michael Jackson style spins.

We continued on this theme but began using graphic scores; inviting students up to draw pictures which both Cameron and Poppy performed on their instruments. The students really threw themselves in and were moving and drawing in creative ways to compose really interesting musical gestures. The workshop ended with some group singing: together we learnt and performed three songs using percussion instruments to tap along in rhythm as well as movements to remind ourselves of the words.

We had such a fantastic time working at Newfield School with a group of passionate, engaged and lovely students and we can’t wait to go back!

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