TICE Music’s Sam Burt and TICE Textiles’ Charly Liddle were back at Bailey Green Primary School recently for their special Creative Careers day. As always, the children and staff of Bailey Green were showing nothing but enthusiasm before the day even started.
To get everyone alert and thinking fast it began with the ever-popular ‘I am an Egg Warmer’. It’s the silliest, craziest and most enjoyable game, which is probably why the classroom was left in hysterics (and we were left slightly deaf from the noise). Most of the students evolved to omnipresent beings, but a few luckless ones remained poor little eggs!
The students then did two back to back mini-workshops. Sam did a percussion-building exercise. After collectively learning a few rhythmic sequences, it was time for them to create their very own sequence with a myriad of different percussive instruments – from djembes to shakers to thumb drums. The final challenge was for students to perform their song with a randomly designated emotion and perform to the rest of the class, whilst the others had to guess what that emotion was. This task helped students begin to explore the many ways that art can resonate with an audience. In the other classroom, Charly was busy with a creative visualisation workshop session. The children were given some very random questions, such as ‘if you were a season which season would you be?’ and ‘what does fierce look like?’ as well as ‘what shape does love look like?’ The children responded to these visually in just a few minutes and using a range of media, in order to get their minds thinking outside the box. The children were then encouraged to share what they had done with the rest of the class and had an opportunity to explain their visual creations and justify the thinking behind them. These exercises were also designed to highlight the fact that everyone can have a different response to the same theme and we really saw that happen during the session.
For the big challenge of the day, using the songs ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 1’ by The Flaming Lips in one class and ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell in the other, each 5-7 person group had to create a record sleeve to encapsulate the theme of their song. To get everyone inspired Sam had brought in some of his own vinyl collection and in combination with some other visuals the students were given an interesting overview of art styles, graphic design and typefaces. First, they had to listen to their chosen song and complete an idea generation sheet to quickly come up with options for colours, textures and imagery. Next, they formed themselves into their own design agency with each member of the group given a distinct role – project manager, artist or graphic designer. The concept of students choosing their own roles and working as part of a team was a key theme of the entire day. Each group then came up with three different concepts, so they could think through different options before deciding on a singular idea for the final piece.
During lunch, Charly filled their tables with inks, paints, wax candles, tissue paper, straw pens and more to give their final designs that extra effect. She then gave a superb demonstration of these new techniques, such as using tissue paper to leave textual prints on the paper and painting over wax markings. Of course, once they saw the extent of their creative freedom they were eager to get going. It was wonderful to see students collaborating, not only with enthusiasm but with professionalism and commitment. Teams gradually got more and more into the themes of the songs and incorporated the keys themes of the music into well thought out and powerful artwork. This year they did both a front cover and a back cover, with the latter being more minimal and focussing more on lyrics and other text.
After the LP sleeves were completed, desks were cleaned down and teams presented their final designs to their peers. The classes were swopped and this was the first time they heard the song from the other class. They all noticed how differently each team had interpreted the song in a visual way – there were different colour palettes, decorations and stories told through each design. Most importantly, each design evoked a very clear emotion and represented the song very well. The Flaming Lips and Joni would be proud! The best two from each class were given special mentions and one overall winner was chosen, which was the big robot and cityscape from the Yoshimi song. As a prize, they all got a copy of one of Sam’s 7-inch vinyls from his old band, Letrix.
It was a fantastic day. Students learned all about the importance of finding the meaning and emotions behind music and translating that into striking visual media. Of course, we’d like to say a huge thank you to Bailey Green Primary School for sharing your talent and enthusiasm with us and we look forward to returning with new songs for the class of 2021.