Updated: Apr 28
Sharing music from WATER MUSIC source to sea with Scottish primary schools has been a major element of our project. Through music we followed the journey of a raindrop along local rivers to the sea and shared information about freshwater and marine ecosystems, blue carbon and the environmental problem of plastic pollution. The schools workshops were a successful way of sharing music and engaging children in the creative arts and we managed to reach an estimated 1523 participants.
Perth Chamber Music funded and facilitated 3 weeks of workshops. The 2 weeks of River Tay workshops were all delivered online in February 2022 due to COVID 19 restrictions. The River Earn workshops were mainly delivered in person and we had a great week in March 2023 travelling round rural primary schools and the children responded extremely well to the workshops. We were delighted that Kirsty Crawford from Marine Conservation Society was able to join us to deliver Humpback Whale Song workshops on #WorldWaterDay.
We were also able to deliver workshops in some more remote parts of Scotland- the Isle of Coll, Luss, Ullapool, Strathpeffer, Boat of Garten and Durness. Katja Riek from Far North Ripples helped to bring three local schools together to participate in a day of musical and environmental learning in Durness. A rotating carousel of source to sea themed activities were presented by Plastics at Bay, the NWH Geopark and local artist/teacher Nicola Poole alongside our music workshops.
River Earn Workshops
We really enjoyed our latest week of Water Music workshops in primary schools along the River Earn in Perthshire. It was great being able to deliver these in person this time, as it enabled full interaction between us and the participants - allowing them to experience live chamber music and us to feed off their energy and enthusiasm.
We sent out preparatory material from our Make a Splash! resource in advance of the workshops and this seemed to work really well as it helped us build a relationship with the children before we met them and got them on board with the project theme. In some schools we were treated like movie stars when we arrived: ‘we saw you on YouTube!’; ‘I’ve never met anyone famous before!' There were lots of memorable moments throughout the week and each class had its own unique atmosphere and energy which shaped the flow of their workshop. On Monday in Muthill the children created some really great artwork using plastic waste and inspired by Bach's music and Hannah Tofts creative beach clean activity. In Crieff Primary we had a lovely sensory listening session (where the children thought our music tasted like ‘haggis, neeps and tatties’!) and we performed our ‘Reuse, repeat’ song accompanied by a whole choir of beginner cellists and violinists...and some great dance moves! On Wednesday we were joined by Kirsty Crawford from the Marine Conservation Society for a day of Humpback Whale workshops to celebrate World Water Day. We really enjoyed having her expertise on board: together we worked with classes in Dunning and Blackford Primaries, taking them through a range of activities and helping them create and notate their own Whale Song pieces using instruments and percussion created from recycled materials. We were impressed throughout by the children’s engagement and creativity. On our last day in Braco we were joined by the nursery class who listened really attentively, answering questions and enthusiastically dropping plastic bottle lids as raindrops in our creative music making activity. At the end of the final session we were treated to a performance by the school violin group which was a lovely way to round off the week. From our point of view the workshops were very successful - we were warmly received and saw good engagement in all the schools. We felt we were really able to share our music and environmental messaging as planned, and the feedback on the day, and reaction from pupils and teachers, certainly made us feel we had achieved our project’s aims.
Many thanks to Perth Chamber Music and Strathearn Music Society, Chamber Music Scotland and Lottery funding through Creative Scotland for funding and facilitating the workshops.
Thank you both so much for the workshop, all the pupils really enjoyed it. Pupils particularly enjoyed your choices of music – a great mix of pieces they knew plus some very well-chosen pieces for moving to. Your playing was amazing which really grabbed the pupil’s attention and the session was really well paced and pitched at the right level.
We enjoyed making fish and under the sea pictures. The instruments were played beautifully. I enjoyed learning about littering and the whole eco theme. I enjoyed the music, especially the Jaws theme. We loved joining in when they played the Wellerman song.
With it being Scotland’s #BigSpringClean it tied in well with things we had been discussing in school and our classes had been taking turns to do litter picks of the school playground. They definitely enjoyed the presentation and it was great that they had personalised, with photos of our local area. They enjoyed the artwork video and could identify the sort of rubbish that sadly ends up in our rivers and seas. They liked that it showed the journey that litter makes from source to sea and led to further links about microplastics etc. Perhaps it would be a nice project for us to follow up with by making some art work from the rubbish we have found.