Music Outreach 2005 - 2006

Over 150 year six students from Commonweal’s feeder schools have taken part in an exciting project in which they performed and recorded a musical composition on the theme of Brunel. This is part of the Brunel 200 birthday celebrations.

The brief, over a year, was to work with year 6 students to foster team building through music especially composing in the hope that the new found knowledge and skills could be further developed when the students went up to secondary school.

The project was delivered by outreach musician Andre Pysanczyn. Last year was spent developing confidence through games. These games were designed to develop leadership skills and ultimately give the students ownership of the project. For instance students were asked to conduct the class or make choices about event or actions. Andre also tried to get the students to take control of situations and lead games or pieces of compositions.

This year the students were given specific compositional tasks that required them to work in small groups under strict time scales. Often the groups elected leaders or conductors.
Tasks included composing a piece using percussion instruments in a certain structure such as Rondo form or Ternary form.
Commented Andre, “My aim was to always keep the sessions fun but always to include performances.I term three we started to look at how we could link our work to Brunel.”

The start of this was an exercise based around the production line. Each class had to construct a shape that represented Brunel but was in its self a collage of pictures or photos. Almost like a structure within a larger structure. Andre wanted the students to experience what it was like working on a conveyer belt type situation...a production line.....very boring until you see the final product. A bit like working for the railways for Brunel.

“After that we started on the words for a rap idea looking at life in a factory making trains.
This lead to choruses which I then taught to all the schools.” Andre added

The concept for the workshop/performance day held at The Commonweal School was to bring together all the year 6 students so they could meet in a fun type atmosphere.

Commented Katie Elwell, age 11 from Lethbridge School “ It was good fun, but very hard work. I am looking forward to seeing us on the DVD.”

Commented Edward White, age 11, from Robert Le Kyng Junior School “Working with Andre was fun. He taught us how different instruments work together. I play the xylophone and am looking forward to coming up to Commonweal in September.”

Commented Helen Pysanczyn, Commonweal Outreach Music Co-ordinator. “ The project was designed to introduce composition into key stage 2 music lessons. The children really rose to the challenge and have gained team building skills as well as the confidence to express themselves in music. The aim of the 'performance' day was for each student to a) make a new friend; b) compose a new piece of music; and c) to remember and record some of the work they had completed over the year.
I think all of these aims were met to some degree, so from my point of view, the project was a success.”
Thanks to the Swindon Music Service for loaning music instruments. The day was assisted by Commonweal Performing Arts technician Nick Weaver and year 10 student Paul Davis
Photos attached. Schools requested photos and names of students not to be published.

Our Outreach programme is
co-ordinated by Helen
Pysanczyn
with the aim of creating a smooth transition from primary school to Commonweal.