Performances and Workshops (Southampton)

Last week, we ended the half term with four performances and workshops in schools around Southampton. The aim was to inspire children, young people and setting staff with the possibilities of what music technology can do.

We were joined at Redbridge and City College by Ricky Tart, who delivered two incredible performances which blended music technology with other instruments, singing, spoken word poetry and visual art. After each performance he led songwriting workshops with 20 participants, showing them how to use technology as a tool for writing story-based songs. 

At Springhill, we were joined by Luke Targett, who demonstrated how he uses music technology for songwriting, performance and production. During the workshop afterwards, participants had the opportunity to create backing tracks in GarageBand using Live Loops, which they developed further using lyrics and instruments. At the end, we asked them if the day had given them new ideas of making their own music, and the answer was a resounding yes!


We ended the week with at Shirley Warren, joined by 20 of their violin players who formed the string section of a song that we created together — the whole of KS2 — exploring ideas about using music technology for composing, performing and sharing music. In the workshop afterwards, participants wrote songs in pairs, adding instruments and lyrics to tracks made in GarageBand Live Loops.

All week we were joined by Sam and Dylan, a tech support team from Solent University who did an outstanding job of making everything work and sound great — thank you!

Reflecting on Performances and Workshops:

From the Youth Music Quality Framework:

S2: The musical process (and what is expected of young musicians) is clearly explained and demystified

Watching Ricky perform and lead workshops, was a great opportunity to observe and reflect on the performances and workshops, looking at how successful they are at achieving our project aims, reviewing how we can improve project delivery for the future. One area that stood out as something to learn from Ricky's delivery was the way he paired high-quality musical performance with clear and engaging explanations of his musical process. It would be very easy for performances from a professional musician to seem out of reach for the young musicians in the audience. However, by using his own performances as examples of the musical ideas he would explain, and later ask the young people to take part in, Ricky was able to demystify the musical process, inspiring young musicians whilst also equipping them for they would be expected to do.

Again, from the Youth Music Quality Framework:

M5: Project staff - beyond the music leaders - show commitment to the activities, and music leaders and other project staff communicate before, during and/or after the session

One of the greatest parts of last week — beyond seeing the response from the young musicians taking part — has been the response from the setting staff where performances and workshops have been taking place. We've had excited messages from every single setting, leading to supporting two of the schools in delivering the Music/Mobile Tech composition projects for themselves, as well as working with another to co-deliver songwriting workshops as an extra-curricular activity.