WORKSHOP - Song Writing (Key Stage 2)

A one-day workshop for children at Key Stage 2.

Embracing literacy, music and ICT. By the end of the afternoon you will have a CD with a fully produced recording of the song written collectively by the children.

After an initial chat about the kind of music the children enjoy, they decide on the type of song they would like to write collectively as a class. The most successful have been "School Songs" and I encourage this. Whatever the topic, "The Natural World" or "The future", the children decide.

The first part of the morning is spent looking at single words or phrases that say something about their song. These words and phrases are developed into lines and verses and by lunch-time the children will have a "hook" or chorus. This part of the session is very much in line with the present literacy strategy. During the whole of the morning session I'm constantly picking up the guitar to illustrate to the children just how their particular lyric may fit into a song format. They never fail to find this extremely inspiring as they hear their own words put to music.

The children usually go to lunch with half an idea of a tune rattling around in their heads. After lunch we concentrate on the music. At this point I cover many of the areas of*music required by the National Curriculum. Pulse, timbre, rhythm, scales, time signatures, keys etc.

By 2p.m. the recording session begins. Digital reverberation can enhance most performances and I encourage the better singers to be closer to the microphone. I explain to the children, some points about sound reproduction, recording techniques and the technology behind it. Without exception, at this stage the class teacher is so proud of what the children have achieved, the head teacher is often invited in to watch and listen as the final recording is made.

A CD containing the recording is left for the school to keep. This includes a fully produced backing track so that the children can perform their song to the rest of the school, parents, governors etc.