Animateurs have a blast at Canon Barnett – Part 2

Alice Howick one of this year’s Music Animateur Apprentices, tells us more from the latter half of the Animateurs’ final project at one of Neighbourhood Schools, Canon Barnett Primary School. (You can also read Part 1 here on the blog!)

Day 4

The show is fast approaching and we still haven’t written all the material! But, with the help of Class 3, by the time we finish the morning session we have three complete songs, and they help us to teach them to the larger group. We decide that a little aerobics warm-up Sally has been leading is just too good to leave out, so that finds its way into one of the songs. We focus on really getting the children to sing out, and we’re also beginning to work out how our own instruments are going to fit into each piece – adding, at the children’s request, an awesome saxophone solo in the final number, and a “watery” violin solo to the diving piece. Excitement is mounting and the session ends with a lively debate about what the children are going to wear for the show!

Neighbourhood Schools

Neighbourhood Schools in performance during Summer Festival 2012

Day 5

It’s the day of the performance! We have a few hours in the morning which we use to go over the percussion pieces, learn words and actions, and stitch the whole show together. Even as leaders we didn’t have a full picture of how the show was going to go and it’s reassuring to see everything making sense. There are a few complicated bits of moving about to fix up, but the children have taken on the idea of a dress rehearsal fully, running through the show twice with barely a giggle, and sitting quietly for “notes” after each run.

After lunch they are all back, in their PE kit (in keeping with the sports theme!) – time to go over a couple of songs, check that the instruments are all in place, and then the rest of the school and some parents arrive for the performance! Waiting for the last class to arrive, Tom leads a quick game of ‘Don’t clap this one back’ with the whole school, and then we’re ready to go.

The show goes without a hitch and everyone seems to enjoy the songs Class 3 have written for them! Right at the end, there is still time for Class 3 to teach the school their favourite song, which unfortunately (being about a talking donkey) didn’t quite fit into our Olympic-themed show.

It was only a small performance, but we are elated. It’s been amazing to see the show come together and learn how to get the best out of the children. It’s one thing to support other workshop leaders and see how they feel their way through a project, but there’s absolutely no doubt that the steepest learning curve comes when suddenly it’s you who has ultimate responsibility for a project; having to react quickly to changes of plan and recognising what inspires the children the most. When we started the project, I certainly had no idea of how the final performance was going to look and sound and I am proud and surprised by what we have achieved together.

Alice Howick
Music Animateur Apprentice


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