Banded About 2008-2009 / by Claire Farrell

Banded About

Birmingham, 2008-2009

'We've joined the Brass with the Sitar'

Artist. Associate artists from Birmingham Music Hub

Birmingham Music Hub were awarded a high profile national music partnership award in 2009. The Department for Children Schools and Families (now DFE) supported five Music Partnership Projects (MPP) in 2009-2010. Claire Farrell, WERK produced Banded About on behalf of the CBSO and Birmingham Music Hub. Other national awards went to music partnerships across the UK including the Barbican and London Symphony Orchestra. The Hub comprises Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Birmingham Jazz, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sound it Out Community Music and Town Hall Symphony Hall, supported by Birmingham Music Service and Ex-Cathedra.

‘Banded About’ was an ambitious music education project created by the Hub with each partner working with a cluster of 3 primary schools and 1 secondary school. The project’s objectives were to deliver in and out of school workshops to children and young people aged between 9 and 13, to teach and enhance pupil’s skills within the context of creative music ensembles. The project also aimed to provide live music experiences and sharing performance days at the prestigious CBSO Centre and Town Hall Birmingham for the participants. Simultaneously, the project provided learning opportunities for teachers and professional musicians, sharing best practice.

Live Music.

The project objectives included the opportunity to provide live music performances by the Hub partners, over 3,000 children and young people from the 20 schools experienced live music performances throughout the project sharing days and CBSO Roadshow ensemble visits to schools sponsored by HSBC. The project’s flexible, organic approach nurtured additional added value in the form of ‘internal’ cluster sharing days across the Hub partner clusters. Sound it Out’s Perry Beeches Secondary School participated within the Arts Award scheme to achieve an accredited bronze art award. THSH cluster formed the successful cross-cluster ensemble workshop that took place at Bishop Vesey Secondary School once a week involving primary and secondary pupils and led by noted jazz musicians Soweto Kinch and David Grey in collaboration with Birmingham Music Service teachers. The same pupils performed as an ensemble at the Hockley Flyover show in May 2010 sharing the same stage as Mercury Music Prize winners Ms Dynamite and Speech Debelle and reggae queen Janet Kay.

In addition to the main focus of engaging young people and children in creative music making, Banded About provided continued professional development (CPD) support for teachers and musicians throughout the project. Three CPD days took place at the CBSO Centre with over 45 teachers and musicians taking part in workshops led by professional music animators. The musicians have shared best practice, enhancing their professional development. A CPD strand include a ‘practitioners ensemble’ desgined to share best practice through improvisation and various creative techniques. The ensemble was formed with professional musicians and teachers from different disciplines including world music, jazz, African drumming, contemporary and classical orchestral music.

Final Concerts.

On 9 July 2010, Town Hall Birmingham opened its doors to hundreds of excited children and young people, along with a host of teachers, professional musicians and music lovers, to fill the hall with sound and raise the roof in two special concerts to celebrate Banded About.

Sponsors. Department of Education. Arts Council England. Birmingham City Council