Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Teacher...?

Now that I'm living in rural Wales once again, I'm keen to keep an eye out for any potentially interesting music related activities that I can get involved with. One such activity is volunteering with the Young Composer of Dyfed. This is a competition that I won in 2005, and as the organisers of YCD have always been very good to me I felt it would be nice to do something for them, as well as good experience for me. So next week I'll be going around a few schools with this year's ensemble in residence, and helping out with their presentations.

Another role that emerged at our last meeting is what I've been doing today. This afternoon I went to a special needs school to do a workshop with a group of 4 children on graphic scores. A graphic score is a way of writing music where you don't necessarily use standard notation techniques. So this could be anything from, simply adding a few symbols to a score, which are explained by a key; to huge sheets of paper with shapes and patterns of different colours all over it, which are left open to the interpretation of the performer.

(Examples: weird, even weirder, what?!)

The idea with these workshops was to get the kids to make a score on large sheets of paper, several feet long, which could be displayed on a wall and performed by the ensemble when they came to give a presentation the following week.

Thankfully today I was accompanied by a helper from the school and the guitar teacher, so I wasn't left alone to deal with a group of kids with learning difficulties. My biggest concern approaching this workshop was that the children wouldn't find it engaging, because everything I'd planed relied heavily on their participation. Thankfully this was the least of my worries. Let alone being disinterested, I could hardly stop the kids singing, drawing, and constantly interrupting with new ideas. Of course, as well as this they found time to cause mischief, insult each other and disassemble a biro, but all in all I feel it went reasonably well.

I've always dismissed being a teacher, and never really thought I'd be able to be one. After today's experience I can't really say that this view is ever going to change very much. As a music graduate, teaching is probably the most obvious and economically stable career path, but I just think I'm not that great with kids. I will admit that by the end of today's session I seemed better at engaging with the children, so maybe there is room for improvement. I guess we'll see at next week's workshop.


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