Music 10 Pieces

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The BBC’s Ten Pieces Initiative at Highfield CE Primary School, Southampton
written by Nichola Caveney (Music Coordinator)
As music coordinator, I was very impressed when I first came across the BBC’s Ten Pieces initiative whose aim is to open up the world of classical music to children. After a discussion with colleagues, we decided the best way of using the Ten Pieces was to run a Creative Arts Week immediately after February half term.

Back in November we took the whole Junior Department (5 classes) to see a screening of the Ten Pieces film at the Turner Sims Concert Hall, so all the children had exposure to the ten pieces of music. At the start of our Ten Pieces Week, we ran a special assembly, where each class was presented with a gold envelope (it was the night after The Oscars!) containing the name of the classical piece which they would be studying for the week. It was then up to each teacher to decide what to do with their class, and how best to incorporate their given piece into the children’s learning.
The pieces chosen for the three Y3/4 classes were Mars (Holst), The Firebird (Stravinsky), and In the Hall of The Mountain King (Grieg). Each class used information about their composer and their piece of music provided on the BBC website, to learn the skills of note taking. They used their notes to make mini reference books, which they illustrated and shared with each other.
The classes also used one of their daily Guided Reading slots to read the TenPieces eBook which we downloaded from the BBC website onto iPads. These were much enjoyed by the children.Finally, each class used their piece of music as inspiration for their weekly Big Write session. This session is designed to let the children use their imagination to write using any genre they choose; the results ranged from poems, stories, and diary entries.
Specialist teachers from Southampton Music Services (SMS) came to school to lead each of the 5 classes in music workshops where the children used their given piece of music as inspiration for their own compositions. They used tuned and un-tuned percussion, as well as their own instruments.
Art and Dance
Each class also chose a different way of achieving a creative response to the music. The class studying Mars created images using a variety of media such as pastels, paint, pencils etc. These were then filmed by the children on the iPads and digitally enhanced to create a video response.
The class studying The Firebird decided to make sculptures. In groups the children first looked at images of Firebirds, and then created base models using tin foil, plastic bottles and card. These were then covered in papier-mâché, painted and decorated. They were later filmed and put to music flying through the sky! href=””>
All of these creative responses were uploaded to the BBC’s ten Pieces gallery.
The Year 5 & 6 classes were more limited in what they were able to do, as a large number of their pupils were out of class for 2 days taking part in a dance competition (Rock Challenge). However they too used their pieces; Storm (Britten), and Zadok The Priest (Handel), as inspiration for some creative writing. Year 5 also used Britten’s music in some art work, looking at different images of storms at sea, and then creating a joint piece of art where each child used tissue paper on their own section, which was then joined with others to create a large seascape. Both Y5 and Y6 also practised the painting skills they had been developing throughout the term, to create individual paintings in the style of Monet as responses to their pieces of music.
OrchestraFinally, our 30 piece school orchestra were invited to take part in two exciting collaborations. The first was with Baby SUSO, a 50 piece student orchestra from Southampton University, who joined us to play together Night on a Bare Mountain.
The second was a joint concert with the acclaimed Southampton Youth Wind Band, who came to our school to play In the Hall of The Mountain King with our orchestra. This was accompanied by the Y3/4 class who had worked on a dance to this music.
Sitting in the school hall, watching twenty children dancing to In the Hall of The Mountain King being performed by 85 youngsters aged 8-18, was an amazing culmination of our involvement with the Ten Pieces Project.
All in all, the Ten Pieces initiative has been a resounding success. It has brought a wide variety of classical music to the attention of both pupils and colleagues in a fun and engaging way. The resources provided by the BBC have been invaluable, and the expectation of having our own creative responses uploaded onto the website has been a real incentive to create films of our work.
The support provided by Zoe, our project champion at Southampton Music Hub has been invaluable, and I think the project has helped to raise the level of awareness of music within the school, and hopefully the legacy will continue beyond this year.

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