We had a great day with the higher music pupils at Kirkland High School in Methyl for our New Music Makers workshop. This workshop mirrors our long-running emerging-composer-development series Noisy Nights and the 10-minute Composing Challenge. Essentially, it involves handing out music manuscript paper to members of the audience in the interval and asking whoever want to write a piece for the ensemble in 10 minutes. A selection are then performed at the beginning of the second half.
This format works extremely well in the class room – whatever the pupils write we take seriously; we didn’t require them to produce perfectly-notated works, we just needed them to write something. Often this was just a squiggle, which we would treat as though it was a graphic score, or a few notes spread out across some staves, which we would interpret on the spot.
Having broken the ice – and created a level of trust between the players and the students – the students then progressed extremely rapidly, all of them creating fully-formed, fully-notated, coherent pieces within three weeks.