I’m writing this having just returned from the Bellevue Southern Music Festival in Dorking, a celebration of the musical talents of over a hundred pupils from eight of the Bellevue schools. Events such as this provide a wonderful opportunity to bring together the musical abilities of pupils, whilst enabling them to showcase their talents on stage. An exhilarating albeit long day was had by all, and Gateway Chamber Choir and soloists did us proud.
Last Wednesday Mrs O’Hare and I were fortunate to attend the Music and Drama Education Expo. This is the most-established event in the creative education field and is held annually at London Olympia. We were able to listen to various talks given by highly esteemed educators and animateurs (hopefully you saw our personal ‘Gateway’ shoutout video on Facebook from Gareth Malone!) and take part in educational workshops. Suffice to say there were also plenty of exhibitors from the creative field to talk to, so we came home with a bag full of new resources as well as lots of fresh ideas to try out.
I listened to a fascinating session about how technology can enhance creativity and musicality. Nowadays, the combination of technology and creativity is often the key to provide the immersive experience children need. As Steve Jobs once said: “The best way to create value in the 21st century is to connect creativity with technology”.
When teachers use technological devices to enhance their lessons with sounds, projected images or lights, the positive reaction is guaranteed: students become more engaged, the understanding process in their minds is boosted and they begin making links and connections. This was certainly the case a few weeks ago when I introduced the music programme ‘Soundtrap’ to Year 6 on the Chromebooks. Soundtrap is a free, cloud based digital audio workstation which can be accessed on a number of devices, such as Windows, Mac, Android phones, tablets and iPad. It’s a fantastic tool which enables children to compose, record, edit and save their musical creations. They can collaborate and share their musical masterpieces with each other as well. Needless to say, Year 6 absolutely love it! They have been inspired to create their own rhythms and melodies as well as tapping into existing libraries of sounds and rhythms to enhance their work. The results have been most impressive and quite a few children have continued working on their projects at home, which is the beauty of it being a free, cloud based programme.
I asked a few children why they enjoyed using Soundtrap:
‘It’s fun being able to make up a piece of music so quickly, and it actually sounds good!’.
‘I really like being able to make up my own drum patterns and then add other instruments into the mix’.
‘I can be as creative as I want to be with my music’.
‘I don’t actually play an instrument, but with Soundtrap, it doesn’t matter - I can still create music.’
Look out for these budding song writers and DJ’s in the future!
Have a great weekend.