2013 Recap

We started the Music Workshop Company blog in April this year, and as 2013 draws to a close with end-of-term concerts, Christmas parties and New Year’s resolutions, we decided to take a look back over the last few months at MWC; and of course, a look forward to 2014.

Expo standMaria and Sarah had a great time at the 2013 Rhinegold Music Expo at London’s Barbican Centre, meeting clients and exchanging experiences and ideas. MWC will be there again for the 2014 Expo, which is on February 7th and 8th. It’s a great opportunity to attend seminars and workshops, and it’s a chance for us to catch up with participants past and present, to get feedback, and to help us develop our workshops. It’s free to register so come and visit the Music Workshop Company Stand and meet the team.

We’ve been developing our workshops throughout the year, and added some new workshops, including a vocal workshop for Black History Month. You can read about Black History Month, its background, relevance and musical significance, in our August blog. Other popular workshops we’ve looked at in the blog include African Drumming and Samba Music. We’ve run schools’ composition workshops, drumming workshops, world music workshops, and even collaborated with Stevenage Symphony Orchestra in an exciting project with composer Alison Wrenn.Goddesses

Here is some of the feedback we’ve received from schools, colleges and private clients this year.

“Very educational, hands on and kept children’s attention throughout.” Tony Tremelling, St Ursula’s, Composition Workshop, February 2013

“Very enjoyable and rewarding.” Gillie Pipe, Carers First, World Percussion Workshop, February 2013

“I was happiest with the creativity and fun aspect of the workshop.”Mohammed Wasiq, Cranford College, Junk Percussion Workshop, April 2013

“Many thanks for Saturday night. Both Chris and Maria were great and managed to get most people participating! It certainly broke the ice and everyone enjoyed it.  Thanks again, it was exactly what I had imagined.” V Williams, World Percussion Workshop (As part of wedding celebrations), May 2013

“I liked all the pieces that Matthew bought for the steel pans. I enjoyed working with him and the pupils all liked the sessions.  I learnt lots of new ideas that I will be able to use with the children.” Valerie Freeborn, Bensham Manor, Steel Pan Workshop, June 2013

“Engaging and enjoyable.” Rachel Brazendale, Gordon’s School, Junk Percussion, Samba & West African Drumming, July 2013Welwyn Festival photo

We rounded off the year’s blogging with some top tips on how to organise a Christmas or end-of-term concert. These tips are relevant to the preparation of any performance or concert, and we’ll be putting together an information pack with even more ideas. The suggestions in this pack are based on the MWC team’s extensive experience in workshop and concert organising. You can also read our advice on what to look for in a music workshop leader in October’s blog.

We hope our posts have been informative and interesting so far. If there’s anything you’d like to see in the blog, contact us with your ideas. Meanwhile, we’d like to wish all our clients, participants and musicians a happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year, and we hope to see you all in 2014 for more workshops, more music and more fun. Music Company

Drawing by Stickman Cards by Johanna McWeeney for the Music Workshop Company

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Stories and Symphonies in Stevenage

SSO image1The Music Workshop Company (MWC) joined forces with Stevenage Symphony Orchestra last month for an exciting composition project with three Hertfordshire primary schools. The orchestra, which is for amateur musicians in and around Hertfordshire, won a grant last year from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to commission the work, Legends of the Tor, from composer Alison Wrenn, and to fund workshops in local schools. Goddesses

The MWC team had a great time working with Alison and the orchestra to develop workshops especially for the project.  Along with Alison and Pam Davies, the leader of the orchestra, we then visited Lodge Farm Primary School, Knebworth Primary School and Fairlands Primary School to run the workshops.

The project was unusual for the Stevenage orchestra, because although they regularly work with children who have musical instrument lessons through the Wider Opportunities scheme, this project was the first to also involve children who have never had an instrumental lesson.

Dragon and Hobbit

In each school the children were introduced to Alison’s symphonic piece, Legends of the Tor which is based on the many myths surrounding the Glastonbury Tor.

Dog who ate marshmallowsThey then had the chance to make up their own myth and compose a piece of music that described the story that they had created. After the wJack and the Dragonorkshop they drew pictures to illustrate the stories. The children performed the pieces they created during the workshops at the Stevenage Festival, in a concert with the Stevenage Symphony Orchestra in which Alison’s piece was also premiered.

For many of the children it was the first time they had been to a concert and certainly the first time they had performed at one.

The children’s compositions included:

The Crazy Highwayman and the Unicorn

The Hobbit and the Dragon

The Dog Who Wanted Marshmallows

The King in the Dungeon

The Legend of Jack, the Dragon and the Purple Dog

Goddesses – Battle on the Tor

Highway manKing Arthur

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