After taking part in the transformation of the playroom for the first soundWELL inspiration week in March, I was excited to enter the second phase of the project and have the opportunity to explore some real creative progression. I was able to take a stronger arts and design role within the project, including photography, sound editing and video editing as well as Music Facilitation.
Since April, I have been working closely with soundLINCS Music Facilitator Kirsty Mead, Artistic Director of local company Rhubarb Theatre and who is from a rich theatrical background. Kirsty naturally became almost a mentor to me throughout the project and a huge inspiration for the transformation of the Rainforest playroom at the Lincoln County Hospital.
For the second soundWELL phase, early on in the planning Kirsty had picked a story from a book ‘Mr Hare’s Big Secret’ and shared her own facilitation techniques, and interpretation of the story in musical storytelling sessions.
Throughout the project, I became fascinated in the effortless way that she would get the children quickly engaged whilst keeping the momentum of curiosity of ‘what is the big juicy secret?’ The main character in the story is Mr Hare, who has a big secret but needs all his friends to dance with him under the big tall tree, and that is where the fun begins! The children used memory skills and played multiple instruments, along the way learning the names of each one they played! The story was very catchy, with the main instrument an accordion by the beds or in the playroom. There was singing, finger puppets, body movement and lots of instrumental shaking!
My artistic inspiration came from Kirsty, and I wanted to capture the moments through sound recordings, video and photography. The sound recordings went towards a final musical tree that I created as a central sculpture for the transformation week with assistance from the University of Lincoln. The sounds were edited and separately created capturing the children’s music making, singing, and a combination of vocal and instrumental sounds from the sessions. The musical tree had separate sound holes as a sculpture that could be walked around, subtly heard and it was where the main action of the storytelling would take place! Bells were suspended above and around the tree alongside decorations from the children creating tissue paper flowers, and a patch of artificial grass around the tree that added a certain forest touch with lots of hand held instruments, drums and percussions.
I was given the opportunity to be one of the Music Facilitators and to lead the sessions throughout the five days with Kirsty and Elizabeth, another soundLINCS Music Facilitator. This was a very exciting opportunity for me, because I usually put myself in the background by documenting, recording and making sure I capture the essence of the project in my very own artistic way. Even though I haven’t experienced a Music Facilitator’s role previously, it came with ease in the inspiration week ‘Musical Wonderland’. I suppose I had a certain confidence seeing the entire project and the ideas growing from the start to the end. Even more importantly the artistic vision for the playrooms transformation week succeeded!
The children lit up the moment they were in the playroom and with all the choice of either storytelling, drumming, collaborating musically, using body movement to express the sound or just exploring the instruments by themselves – it is no surprise that they stayed for hours! The sessions were full of laughter and the children’s enthusiasm to learn and experience something new was amazing to observe.