The Bronze Stage is an introduction to the whole programme, so we eased in slowly with some basic percussive and chanting games. These start off feeling like you are back in nursery, but quickly progress to become real mind (and body!) benders. They also help me to quickly assess the general ability of some musical aspects.
I did a brief presentation on my musical journey, which focused on some key business principles of the industry and also
hopefully gave the students some insight into myself as an artist. We finished off the morning with some critical listening tasks which helped hone the most important thing in a musician’s toolbox – the ear! And we also had time for some basic singing practice. This is a skill I try get even ‘non-singers’ to develop, as the ability to sing even at an average level is another string to the bow and beneficial in a number of ways. Luckily we had a handful of promising lead singers in the group too, so it was good for me to hear them do their thing early on.
With the students chomping at the bit to get creative themselves the afternoon session whizzed by. Following a brief primer on how we write songs and what we write about, the class was split into small groups of 3-5 and set the task of creating one verse and one chorus. Due to time limitations the focus was on a ‘work in progress’ and on a shortened form, but they all pulled off some good tunes in the short amount of time.
We ended the day with peer performances of their creations and some constructive feedback. Bronze basically throws a large amount of varying material and tasks at the students, so we cover as many things as possible. Now, with Silver approaching the focus will shift to a specific project over a longer time frame.
By Sam Burt, Music Mentor.