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Military Music-Making – Music of Diversity


As part of his internship, Sam, our Marketing and Communications Officer is getting to visit a range of soundLINCS’ projects and workshops and is writing blogs about his experiences on his travels!

In my 10 months with soundLINCS I’ve had the opportunity to visit an array of our projects based everywhere from schools to hospitals, country parks to recording studios. Last month though, I had the altogether different experience of visiting the sharing assembly of our Music of Diversity project at Cottesmore Primary School on Kendrew Army Barracks.

The project is part of our soundINCLUSION programme, funded by National Foundation for Youth Music’s Musical Inclusion module with additional funding and support from the Music Education Hubs in Lincolnshire, Leicester/shire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

Cottesmore is a cold spot school with a very high turnover of pupils, as they often only stay for periods of around 8 months before moving on. This results in a struggle to engage parents in school activities and affects the pupils’ ability to build friendships and immerse themselves in classes.

With this in mind Music of Diversity aimed to get the pupils creating their own pieces of work that they could take ownership of and to get the parents on the site working with their children and communicating with the teachers. It also looked to create a lasting legacy that meant they could revisit the work after they had left the school and share it with family members who were serving abroad.

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As part of this ambition to create a legacy, soundLINCS’ Music Facilitators went to the school before the residency began in order to offer training and guidance to the teachers. They taught them they skills that they would be sharing with the pupils so that after the end of the project the workshops and activities could be reused again with new classes.

There were 2 different types of workshops covered within the residency; song-writing sessions where each class chose the theme for a song and then worked together to create lyrics and a melody and iPad and Music Technology based workshops, with soundLINCS Music Facilitator’s helping the pupils with recording and production of samples which they then used to create a final track of their own.

The sharing session saw the 6 classes perform their songs in front of their fellow pupils, teachers and parents. There was a fantastic turnout for the event, with almost 70 adults in the audience, eager to see what the pupils had created. The performances were brilliant and varied, covering a range of topics; from Year 2’s song about ‘Our World’ to Year 5 & 6’s incredibly catchy ‘Granny Rap’, as well as the simply titled ‘Awesome Things’ from Year 3. Between songs there was also a showcasing of some of the iPad compositions that the older pupils had made during the project which were really impressively created in just 2 hours each.

The finale of the assembly came from the newly formed Cottesmore Military Wives Choir, who said there was only one word to describe the sharing session, “Wow!” They gave a brilliant performance of the Military Wives anthem ‘Stronger Together’ before joining the pupils in a striking rendition of Gary Barlow’s ‘Sing’ to mark the end of the session.

Once the assembly was over, the school’s Headteacher told me that: “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for children to create something of their own and to share it with their family and friends. It will be great when they can see it on the school website and get to revisit it when they leave the school, which will really help considering the limited period some of them stay at the school.”

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Liz Lenten, one of soundLINCS’ Music Facilitators who worked on the project also commented that “The project’s been great. It’s incredible to think that we’ve worked with every child in the school in such a short space of time. It’s genuinely one of the nicest schools I’ve ever worked in and there’s just a lovely atmosphere. There’s been some hilarious rhymes and lyrics created that I’ll remember for a long time and it was great that they got the opportunity to use instruments and iPads as well. The changeable nature of the school with pupils coming and going so frequently made the project a unique experience and one that I really enjoyed.”

It was a fantastic day to attend and I was blown away with how much had been achieved in such a short space of time. I got a real sense for the lasting impression that the project had made on everybody involved and the way it had really brought the whole school together.

After the sharing session the tracks were uploaded to soundcloud so that the pupils could download and keep their creations and share them with family members serving abroad in the Forces. You can listen to them here.

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