I volunteered to help at a music workshop at Tate Britain on 12 June from 9am-3pm. As well as getting to watch and participate in the three sessions, I helped set up and clear the workshop space by moving the percussion instruments and handing out the evaluative questionnaires.
The workshops were each unique as they involved a different set of families but each incorporated listening, looking, moving and playing. They were skilfully lead by composer/animateur Helen Woods (www.helenwoods.com/) who through her exuberance engaged the children (and parents).
As the families arrived in dribs and drabs, Helen launched straight into the workshop by using warming up games such as shaking different parts of the body to see how the musicians depicted this musically. We then played an unique version of musical statues where we connected different movements, whether walking, tip toeing or running to a different instruments and musical motives.
The group then heard an excerpt of classical music arranged for xylophone, double bass and french horn while trying to imagine the music telling a story. After deciding the group’s interpretation of the music, we re-enacted the story to the live ensemble. My favourite version was of a fox creeping up and eating its prey.
After looking at the paintings, Helen focused on two paintings in the room. With the percussion instruments provided, the children then created a musical landscape to represent each picture. Their concentration was put to the test, as Helen ran between the painting signalling for one or the other group to play.
After the workshop, families could stay to explore the rest of the gallery with the help of the art box.