'It was really fun to be involved in the Connecting Tunes Project and to be at Wigmore Hall. I was nervous but excited at the same time, to be performing a Polish song in front of everyone.'Year 5 Student, Risley Avenue Primary School
Connecting Tunes was a creative composition project working with 180 pupils in Year 2 and Year 5 at Risley Avenue Primary School in Haringey, composer and music leader, Kerry Andrew, and the Heath Quartet.
Inspired by Hungarian composer Béla Bartók and his approach to composing through collecting folk tunes from the community and weaving them into his pieces, Kerry and the quartet worked with the pupils to turn each of them into a song collector. The children then went back to their families and collected tunes, for Kerry to use to form the basis of a new piece – Songchants – which features seven of the different languages spoken at the school.
After learning and practising the new piece over the course of 3 half-day sessions, both year groups came together for their first performance in front of their peers, teachers and parents in the school hall. The success of this first performance provided great encouragement to the group, who then went on to perform Songchants on the Wigmore Hall stage as part of the Partner Schools Programme celebration event in July 2016.
The project also included continuing professional development (CPD) training for the teachers, providing school staff involved in delivery the opportunity to explore the project and creative composition ideas, and how they could take learning from this project forward into future academic years and with different classes.