Finished week one and now starting week two of visiting junior and senior schools in Rotherham with the aim of inspiring the pupils to compose music for Pioneer the musical, the story about the people, and some places, that make Rotherham special. The script has been written by director and educator Karen Mulcahey and has 57 opportunities for music with my first job being to help the pupils/students to create the music for the musical. They have a couple of months to create, revise and edit their work before I collect it all up and order it into a score ready for rehearsals to start in the New Year. Performances are booked for the 29th and 30th March 2017 in the main auditorium at Magna Science Adventure Centre

It all started with a question I had asked myself many times ‘how do you get young composers to create music for themselves that relates to their experiences?’ This is a different concept for the young musical mind in the education system that is usually (if at all) asked to compose to a set of defined rules or with certain preconditions. The only requirements they have to meet is that the music relates to one or more of the 57 cues from the script. There are no defined styles to work to although if the student composers want to write a period piece the script allows for this as it covers a few thousand years of history as well as being in the present.

This could make for a disjointed series of music and drama sketches and I envisage my role as editor, arranger and possibly composer will give a consistent character to the final work. In the first week I saw over 250 pupils at various schools and recorded over 30 minutes of first thoughts created in a short period of time by individuals and as collaborations. Hope there will be hours to select from when more ideas have been composed in the coming months.

The overarching concept I had for the musical was as a project to inspire creativity and then present these ideas at a high standard which would help encourage the composers to carry on writing. The project has grown with the addition of drama and dance to have the potential of being a celebratory spectacle with a cast of hundreds. It is a credit to all at Rotherham Music that they have supported the project from concept to fruition and now there is the small matter of pulling all the elements together to make the show a success.

© P.R.Birkby 2016


About derangeddrums

Composer, percussionist, musical director, teacher and educator. My music has been written for audiences in palaces and in the street. Music is my vocation and my passion and I hope you enjoy it too.
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1 Response to When the ball starts rolling

  1. Karen Mulcahey says:

    It’s been a pleasure working with you so far and listening to the children creating and getting excited. Just got to get the drama sound off the ground now and create a structure that comes together. Excellent experience to get all art forms coming together in one event.

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