17 December 2014

Composing Water Music

So it's been an exciting start to the job here at Handel House, with all sorts of visitors - of all ages and sizes - coming in for our education workshops over the past few months. These have been lots of fun to plan and to lead, and I wanted to share with you some of the things we've been working on, as well as some of the fab music the children have created...

Topics so far have ranged from concerti grossi, to ornamentation (Year 2s drawing wavy lines with crayons - and me trying to stop them accidentally graffitiing the ancient floorboards...Shh) , writing our own coronation anthems, and exploring the subject of Handel's Water Music. Typically, these sessions take the form of practical and creative group work, often ending in us composing our own piece/s, inspired by Handel's music - as is the case with the sound clips below.

The below recording comes from Year 5 from Ronald Ross Primary School in Southfields, who joined us recently and created their own three-minute pieces of Water Music. Having listened to Handel's composition (music written to be performed and heard on water), the children worked at creating their own class pieces about water, using only their voices and body percussion as instruments.

Hope you'll have a listen to the impressive results. 

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Dividing my life between composition and education, I'm always looking for ways to join up my two practices. Normally this takes the form of composition feeding into my education work - encouraging others to create, develop and record their own musical ideas. However, after editing the above recordings last week, it was so nice to find the converse happening. I felt spurred on by the children's work to create my own short piece of electronic Water Music. And so decided to give it a whirl too... All material here is sampled from the Ronald Ross classes' imaginative soundscapes - so we'll be sharing the credit.

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Next up, I'l be back in at Handel House on 1st Jan, when the awesome BLOCK4 recorder quartet will be playing my piece 'Arcos'. More information (and tickets) here: http://www.handelhouse.org/whats-on/concerts-and-events/master-and-apprentice  Hope to see you there!