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'Summer of Play' Music Workshop with Aberdeen City Council

Last week, I had the pleasure of working with Amy Stewart and Richard Glassby in conjunction with Aberdeen City Council and soundscotland to deliver two days of music workshops for 8–12-year-olds living in regeneration areas in the city. We had a great couple of days exploring instruments and sound recording technology.

We grouped together to create a collection of instruments for the children to try, including a guitar, drums, a melodica, a variety of percussion instruments, bass guitar and even the wine glasses (which were probably one of the most popular instruments out of them all!) Many of these kids didn’t have the opportunity outside of school to play music or try out a variety of instruments, so to see the excitement on their faces when getting to play them was honestly heart-warming to see.

It can seem tricky to create a piece of music on instruments that children have never played before or for those who can’t read music – which is why we chose the direction of ‘interpreting’ an image as a piece of music. Selecting three pictures including a thunderstorm in a rainforest, the concept allowed the children envision music as not only melody and harmony but as creating soundscapes of an area. Some decided to create basic scores to follow using shapes and colour, others decided to elect themselves as conductor and help shape the piece to their taste. It was so fulfilling to have their parents come and listen to what they had been learning over the day.

The second day followed a different direction by introducing them to sound recording technology and editing software. The kids loved going on their ‘sound scavenger hunt’ and trying to collect different sounds that they could create. They ended up creating pieces of music with these sounds by editing them in ‘Logic Pro’ and ‘soundplants’.

It was great to collaborate with Amy and Richard on this project and they both brought their specialities to the workshops. Richard is one of the most engaging and passionate musicians I have seen work with kids, and he could keep them entertained for hours with musical games and instrumental practice. Amy’s knowledge of sound technology, creation and editing was so beneficial to the children, and they loved being able to alter and edit their sounds and voices in real time.

It was a pleasure to work with you both on my first ever professional job as a musician and I am looking forward to similar jobs in the future!

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