With repertoire ranging from James Bay to Mariah Carey via Kirk Franklin and Matt Redman, plus a healthy dose of Christmas cheer, it promises to be our best event yet, and we very much hope you will be able to join us for a lively evening of soul-stirring music-making, in a stunning new venue!
In 2012, Community Music in Action delivered a project that worked with the elderly users of ‘White Gables ‘, a day centre in Bromley, set up by the Alzheimer’s Society. The music sessions, led by Kim Perkins, were such a success we have asked her to work with us again on a similar project this year at Clairleigh Nursing Home.
Kim is delivering an hour long music session each week, for the duration of the ten week project. Each weekly session has a different musical focus, for example folk, classical, popular, jazz and world music, as well as music made for the stage and screen. The sessions explore singing, percussion and instrumental music. CMIA will be purchasing a djembe drum, which will be gifted to Clairleigh for the residents to use in future music sessions within the home.
During the first session the focus was on confidence and 2-part singing, drawing on African songs, rock ’n’ roll numbers, and writing new lyrics to the folk classic ’The River is Flowing’. The workshop ended with a knees up – with the group showing Kim how a knees up is really done!
“One of the participants has a really good ear and picks up rhythms
from the piano accompaniment that she adds whilst singing;
she was our Ringo Starr today. The group really enjoyed songs like
Dream, Why do fools fall in love and Let’s Twist Again.
They channelled their inner teenager for Satisfaction (I can’t get no) and
sang songs in 2-parts adding shoowops, doowops
and da do rons, typical of the idiom.”
Kim Perkins, Workshop Leader
In one of the following weeks the group explored songs from around the world: including songs in Spanish, Sesotho and Polynesian. The participants were really open to new experiences and material. They mashed up Guantanamera with Twist and Shout, sang welcome in Arabic, and Que Sera Sera for their oldie but goody number!
Another session explored jazz classics with the group, exploring songs by Cab Calloway, Nina Simon, Peggy Lee and more. The group discovered walking basslines – particularly as they sang 5 songs in one. But the most fun came from their warm-up of “Mama Don’t Allow” and “Down Down” as the group really got into vocalising, and singing in parts with guest musician Ruth on the bass helping to hold the tune with one group and the rest harmonising with Kim, the workshop leader.
Music is a huge motivator for the group who often go about their daily activities either individually i.e. watching television in their rooms, or in small groups. So coming together as a group of 15-18 to sing has been really exciting.
“They’ll be happy the rest of the day now”
“Member of staff, Clairleigh
Rock’n’roll week had the participants singing hits by Little Richard, The Beatles and Elvis. Luckily this didn’t encourage too much of a rebellious streak but definitely lots of singing and drumming. When they were singing ‘She Loves You (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah), Anne, one of the participants said how one of her children used to sing “yeah yeah yeah” in the pram after hearing that song when it was first released.
- to enhance the general wellbeing of and raise the spirits of participants through collaborative music making and an enjoyable shared experience, bringing the residents of Clairleigh together.
- To benefit residents with dementia, for whom specific music may help them to recall past experiences, and personal memories.
To improve vocal and rhythm techniques and sing songs in different genres, learning from a professional.~
To include everyone and make activities accessible to all participants.
To work towards a final performance event for carers to attend.
To document the project through film/photos.
To encourage collaboration, community spirit and a sense of achievement.
Kim Perkins is an active workshop leader who works with members of the community helping to discover and explore their creativity. Trained classically in flute and piano, she graduated from the University of York in 2004 with a BA in Music. During her studies Kim developed a passion for community music, volunteering as a key member of Music Education Group which provided workshops for school children in York. After university she worked at the Royal Academy of Music Museum for over four years as Museum Project Coordinator. In this role she was responsible for managing various aspects of the museum including the project management and delivery of outreach events and educational resources, organising major events including conferences, fundraising and policy development.
Following the success of last year’s project, Community Music in Action returned to St Hugh’s Community Centre in Anerley, to deliver a second music project.
Funded with a grant from Affinity Sutton, the 4 day ‘summer workshop’ for young people aged 8-13 years was led by musician, Aaron Duncan. Over the course of the week, Aaron guided the young people through the process of writing, producing and recording their own original song.
Monday morning saw 12 kids arrive feeling somewhat apprehensive. In amongst the group it was great to see some familiar faces from last year and this helped everyone bond and feel at ease. After some musical games, Aaron kicked off a brainstorming session about global issues. The subject of ‘War’ came through strongly and all agreed this would be a great theme for the song. The kids got straight to work on lyric writing and by the end of the day had the basis of a really inspiring song.
“This course is great, instead of laying in bed or playing my Xbox
I’m learning some really cool stuff and making friends”
Over the next two days, Aaron helped the group fine tune their lyrics and structure the song, agree vocalists and add the lyrics to melodies and then a sound track. Everyone in the group had a part either singing or rapping and with encouragement and support from Aaron, they all became more comfortable in delivering their lyrics with confidence. It was great to see some real talent shining through.
“I usually feel so shy singing in front of people but each day
I come to this course I feel more and more confident”
The kids practised their parts really hard and by Thursday were ready to record their vocals. An excited bunch entered the recording studio at Anerley Town Hall and emerged smiling, proudly clutching a copy of their own original song.
We also were delighted with what they achieved; please listen here to their track “War Stories”….
- provide a stimulating and engaging summer activity for local young people
- give young people the opportunity to experience some of the processes involved in writing, recording and producing music
- through music, help young people to develop their self-confidence and ability to express themselves
- build cohesion among the young people
Aaron Duncan is a skilled artist practitioner with a proven track record in providing creative workshops and short courses for young people in and around London. He currently coordinates a youth recording studio in Anerley Town Hall called The Mixtape Project, where he provides drop-in style recording sessions, artist development courses and educational music programmes.
This is the first of four music projects that CMIA are funding this summer. Watch this space for more information.
Our first project this year sees us working again with the under 5 age group. Community Music in Action collaborated with the Bromley Children Project to offer weekly music sessions for pre school aged children and their parents. This was led by professional musician Barbara Cavanagh at the Castlecombe Centre in Mottingham. The centre provides activities and courses for parents and children under 5 and of primary age. Although it offers a universal service, it particularly reaches out to families in the community who are not presently accessing the services it offers e.g. those who are on government benefits/low income, households with no-one in employment, those with low levels of education and ethnic minority groups.
Barbara has worked with us in the past on another of our projects at the Community Vision centre, again with pre-school age children.
During the sessions, which ran weekly between January and March, Barbara led the children in a mixture of music & movement. She started the sessions with a welcome song which was the same each week and by the end of the sessions the mums and the older children knew it off by heart.
There were action songs using parts of the body and numbers, songs using props and instruments, and songs which involved moving around the room. Popular songs for the latter included ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, ‘Here We Go Loopy Loo’ and a really catchy less well known song called ‘Tip Tap Tip Tap, We’re Walking Down the Street’. One of the Mum’s asked if it was possible to download this one to sing at home!
As well as percussion instruments such as shakers, tambours & bells, Barbara also used everyday household objects like old packaging, pans, spoons and milk bottle tops for the children to explore and make music with.
“It was fun observing the children listening to real instruments”
There were also parts of the session that were more quiet and peaceful. Fabric snowflakes and bubbles were a particular hit – with accompanying music and songs.
It was good to see the confidence of the Mums / carers grow over the weeks – when they first arrived they were reluctant to join in the singing but after a few sessions their confidence had grown and they were participating more fully, as were the children.
“Barbara was a nice teacher and made me and my baby feel
very welcome. There was a lovely warm
atmosphere during the sessions.”
Barbara encouraged interaction between the parents and children and shared ideas for how they could use music at home to support their children’s development. Whilst not all the mums were from our target group, having a mix actually had its benefits as there was more diversity. One of the mums put on her feedback form that it made her feel more positive towards the rest of the day and another said that the session made her baby calmer.
“The children particularly liked using the household objects to make music with. Hopefully it will give the parents ideas for things they could do at home.”
Ros Bolton CMIA Trustee and Project Volunteer
In the evaluation at the end of the sessions, the majority of attendees reported that they had developed new skills and confidence as a result of the sessions and that the experience had a positive impact on themselves and their child. One said “we sing more often” while another claimed that it “made me feel more positive towards the rest of the day”. A further parent reported that the sessions have “turned my baby into a musician!”
“The sessions provided a social and creative activity, in a safe and
enabling environment. It encouraged interaction
between carers and their children and also between
carers themselves. The atmosphere
was relaxed and friendly”
- To provide a creative and social activity for under 5’s and their parents/carers.
- To foster interaction and quality time between parent/carer and child, both during and outside of the sessions
- To provide an opportunity for social interaction and community cohesion between local parents/families
- To use music as a tool to develop skills and confidence of under 5’s
- To provide a safe, flexible and non-intimidating environment for families who may not have taken part in similar activities before
- To ensure sessions are accessible to all cultures and backgrounds
- To document the sessions through film/photographs
Barbara Cavanagh is an Early Years music practitioner, and a musician. She is currently in her second year at Birmingham City University, studying for an MA in Early Years Music Education.
Last year was Community Music in Action‘s busiest year to date, which saw us run a total of six fantastic projects in our local area. In December FUNdamentally GOSPEL joined forces with the Salvation Army in Bromley to put on a ‘Gospel Christmas Extravaganza’, with both gospel and traditional songs (and some funky fusions), plus the Salvation Army’s band and timbrels players. In total they raised almost £1000 for CMIA! Check out FUNdamentally GOSPEL’s facebook page for more photos plus videos.
On Tuesday we went along to Carers Bromley ‘Festive Concert’, to show our support. Having collected a complimentary glass of mulled wine, we joined one of the tables in the packed hall, and waited for it all to start.
First up were Tubbenden Primary School choir, who performed some traditional carols and well known Christmas songs. They were very sweet, with a couple of lovely solos as well.
Carers Bromley choir were next and delivered some brilliant harmonies. They finished with their alternative version of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ which was very clever and raised a laugh.
‘Just Voices’, an excellent a cappella singing group, and ‘Just for show’, a 3 part ensemble followed, after which refreshments were served to us in the interval.
The second half featured ‘The Ukulaviators’, singing and playing some well-known songs on their ukuleles. and 3’s Company, a 3-part male vocalist group, although only two could make it on the day(!)
The afternoon commenced with a raffle and ‘sing-along’ Christmas song, leaving us all feeling thoroughly festive!
In just over a week’s time local choir FUNdamentally GOSPEL (whose members started Community Music in Action), will be joining forces with Bromley Salvation Army to present a ‘Gospel Christmas Extravaganza’, which will take place on Sunday 14th December (5pm) at the swanky new Langley Park Centre for Performing Arts, located in the grounds of Langley Park School for Boys.
It will be our biggest concert to date and promises to be a thoroughly Christmassy affair, helping you to get into the festive spirit!
Tickets are £5 per person and you need to PRE-BOOK by calling 020 8464 4743. They are selling out fast so book NOW to avoid missing out. All proceeds will go to CMIA.