What I asked the children to consider was largely how the piece made them feel. Was it happy, sad, angry, uncomfortable? Was the song fast or slow? Is percussion the most important feature or the melody? What are the lyrics talking about? Are there lyrics at all?
I wanted them to be able to react in a primal way with a sense of immediacy. To do this I decided to only play the song once through, ensuring they made quick, natural decisions about their mark making in real time to the song. Once it had finished, they had to stop.
This time constraint really helped them strip back the process and not over-think the task.
What I saw in their responses was so positive. They all took the tasks immediately after a short briefing. It was so interesting to see how they responded to the different types of song. I chose this selection in order to show them a wide array of styles and genres. I felt as though this would help the variation in end products.
One moment that made me smile was when the Mozart concerto began. Each of the (admittedly hyper and excitable) children stopped talking almost immediately as though entranced by the music then began silently tearing and gluing the paper. It was so sedentary and calm and made me realise just how much music can affect people.
Revisiting the results of a workshop I ran last year at the Ashton Vale Club for Young People, Bristol exploring the relationship between music and expression through art and design.
The four songs selected for the participants were:
Nothing More to Say - Sophie I'm a Believer - Monkees Concerto No.21 K.467 - Mozart Circling - Nils Frahm
For each song they were given a time limit and set of materials they were allowed to use.
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