Rachael Jones: Summer Term 2015 at St Marylebone School

This term at St Marylebone has proven to be very enjoyable and rewarding. I am in the school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I have continued to assist in classes and work with pupils with specific learning differences. I have been involved in many of the KS3 classes. The goal has been this term to continue with ethnomusicology but focussing on songs from India. They learnt the basic characteristics of traditional Indian music and were set a task to take a pop song and rearrange it in order to give it Indian characteristics. This was a good learning experience for me as once again I was opened up to music of a different culture. It was also very interesting to hear what the children came up with. To hear their various interpretations of a pop song converted to Indian style music.

I have also continued to assist in classes which are designed for character building and problem solving through performing arts. We can help the girls and offer advice throughout the lesson, however, they are required to work independently and solve performance issues themselves. Last half-term, I was involved in a year 7 class where the girls performed ‘We’re All In This Together’. They had to organise themselves into groups and finally do a class performance. This term, the focus was more drama based. They had to split into groups, create a character and a scene for the character to be in, then act it out. Again, we had to let them work independently and take on more of an observation role. This was really enjoyable for me as I was able to draw on the drama experience I had while studying to be a singer.

On Monday afternoons I have continued to run the music club. I used this time as an opportunity to work on the project I created alongside Luke Burton. We produced two moving image films with music. They were featured at the School Fair. My group of girls created a song which we recorded and sent to Luke. He created a moving image film which we received and then created music for. I was happy to see the finished product, however, what I found very satisfying was seeing the creative process from start to finish. Each girl developed more of an appreciation for music making and their musical skills were increased. They had experience of playing chords on the piano and ukelele and playing the drums. For some, this was their first experience of these instruments and it was excellent to be a part of that learning experience for them.

On Wednesday afternoons I have continued to accompany Rosie Shakespear to St Marylebone Bridge School for children with Speech and Language needs. I assisted in a year 7 and year 8 class. This term the children were focussing on Samba music. They learnt about the history of Samba along with various musical features. The classes involve a lot of work on rhythm using various instruments. Each lesson, Rosie acted as the band leader and we created a ‘Samba Concert’ in each lesson. I also assisted at the Bridge school during the activities week. The year 7 class are putting on a mini performance of The Tempest and Rosie and I are required to make the music for the performance with a small group of children from the class. It is so wonderful to see the children really involved in the music making and enjoying the way in which the music and dramatic action fit with each other. The year 8 class have went back to working on Reggae music. They have written their own lyrics to ‘Get Up, Stand Up’. They have based them around the issues they care about such as bullying or family values. This has been especially touching. They will be performing this music on the final week.

This academic year has been a truly wonderful opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I have learnt so much.