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Creative Body Percussion Workshop - Monday 4 May 2015, 10am-12pm


Working with composers Anna Meredith and Jack Ross

Composing new body percussion pieces

Sharing new compositions in performance
As a BBC Ten Pieces Champion, the National Centre for Early Music was delighted to be able to offer 26 young people aged 7-11 the opportunity to meet and work with composers Anna Meredith and Jack Ross on 4 May 2015. Anna starred in the BBC Ten Pieces film alongside Radio 1's Dev, introducing Connect It, the piece of music she wrote especially for the Ten Pieces project. Jack is a guitarist, percussionist and composer, with a wealth of experience as an educator and facilitator.

During this free workshop, young people learnt to perform parts of Connect It and worked alongside Anna and Jack to develop their own pieces of music for bodies and voices, in response to this excerpt. Participants experimented with different time signatures and explored layers and structure within musical composition. There were also opportunities to ask Anna and Jack about their lives as professional musicians and to learn more about what a composer does. At the end of the morning, young people performed their compositions to family and friends.

One local teacher had this to say about the morning: "We have been taking part in the Ten Pieces project as a whole school and the children have thoroughly enjoyed listening to a wide variety of classical music. One of their favourites is Connect It by Anna Meredith and this chance to work with the real composer in real life was fantastic! The children were full of ideas and enthusiasm on the day and there was a great buzz around the event itself. I've even seen the children's own Connect It-style creations being taught and developed in the playground, inspired by this workshop - what an amazing experience!"

The morning was supported by two students from York St John University, who are in the process of setting up York's first body percussion ensemble. Senior Lecturer in Music at York St John University, Chris Bartram, described the workshop as "a wonderful learning opportunity for first year students, allowing them to learn more about body percussion techniques and ideas, supporting their current module studies in percussion, drumming and rhythm. It also gave them the chance to watch professional workshop leaders in action and to learn about the introduction/warm up process, workshop structure, and techniques for working with large groups of children, as well as allowing them to practice their own facilitation skills with small groups. This was an invaluable and worthwhile experience for our students".

A clip of the new body percussion work in progress:
 

The National Centre for Early Music gratefully acknowledges support from the University of York and York Music Hub in making this event possible.