The Big Bash Band Of Hawkshead

Making The Big Bash Band of HawksheadI have been working at Hawkshead Esthwaite Primary School as part of the Audio Explorers project making an animated graphic score and putting together a ‘foley’ orchestra to play the finished piece.

Audio Explorers is a sound art bursary scheme by Sound and Music that invited primary schools in South Cumbria to explore the creative use of sound through a pupil-led project for Years 5 and 6.

In conjunction with Creative Futures Cumbria and Full of Noises Festival, SAM are offered three schools a small bursary and the opportunity to work intensively with a sonic artist to realise their Audio Explorers project in July 2011.

The Foley OrchestraAn Audio Explorers project could be anything; from a sound sculpture for the school playground to a new school bell or a performance using home-made sonic instruments! The project aims to engage children and teachers in thinking about sound as a creative medium, as well as enabling them to undertake a self-led project from beginning to end. In May and June five

primary schools had a half day session with a local sound artist to develop an idea for a project. From these ideas three schools were selected to  receive the Audio Explorers bursary.

Aims of the Audio Explorers project include:

To encourage pupils to exercise their imagination and creativity

To invite pupils to engage with listening and sound

To create opportunities for pupils to gain real-world experience of directing their own learning

To provide opportunities for children and teachers to work with professional artists.

The Big Bash Band of Hawkshead

The school had an interest in animation and in ‘foley’ sound (sound effects in film eg footsteps) so we developed the concept of a foley orchestra – structured like a traditional orchestra but using foley sound instead of instruments.

Over the course of the week the pupils learnt about graphic scores, improvisation and animation and put together a number of techniques to form the finished work – they even passed on their new found skills to other years when we worked with them to create some sections.

To start the week we made some test animations, getting used to the software and how to think about musicality within stop frame animation. We also did some vocal improvisation to another graphic score, all building towards making our own film and recording a semi improvised soundtrack to go with it.

Feedback from teacher:

‘Shaun has an excellent relaxed style with children, but gets things moving – keeping a really good and varied pace. Our understanding and appreciation of sound and music has been really enhanced this week. We have begun to really grasp improvisation and sound and how we could interpret what we see by playing sounds to accompany.

You can read the full evaluation report about Audio Explorers here

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