The 1st of June was the grand finale of our TRANSPLANTED project with the children in p. 5 and p.6 at Carntyne Primary School. We spent the first part of the morning rehearsing each group in turn, making sure everyone remembered which instrument they had to play when, as well as planning who would conduct each piece to ensure everyone in the group moved through their graphic score at the same pace. The rehearsal also gave the children an opportunity to explain what they wanted the violin and cello to play in their pieces and which symbols in the score Alice and I should follow.
After the morning interval the two classes gathered together in the hall for a sharing session. We were delighted to welcome some special guests along too; Polly Phillpot from Plantlife Scotland, Paul Tracey from Enterprise Music Scotland, Jo Church, Headteacher at Carntyne Primary , as well as Jude Stone, Jessica Combes and Helen Bugg, the teachers who have worked alongside us over the past weeks.
Alice and I played Heather Bells by James Oswald to begin the performance and to remind the children of the Baroque plant music that inspired us to create the whole TRANSPLANTED project. Then it was over to our bunch of budding composers and performers! Each P.5 group performed in turn, and after 'Lukkaminnie's Oo' by David Ward (a beautiful atmospheric violin/cello miniature about bog cotton) it was P.6's turn to take to the stage.
All the children gave fantastic performances and really brought their plant pieces to life. They also gave lovely introductions, some sharing facts about their particular plant, lichen or fungi and some telling the stories that they had created to inspire their music. By clicking on the plant names below you can hear some of these the stories and music for yourself. Listen to Bladderwrack drifting along on the sea, being picked and dropped by a seagull and then meeting a large ship with a loud horn; And Ghillie Dhu a forest sprite from the Celtic Rainforest falling from his Oak Tree home and being chased by a bunch of angry bees!
All of the 9 compositions can be found on our soundcloud page.
Afterwards Jude invited some of the children to share their favourite parts of the project and they presented us with lovely flowers and a beautiful pile of cards drawn by the children and full of messages that we will treasure.
To finish we were delighted that Polly was able to share some of her plant expertise with the children, letting them look at Lungwort specimens under magnifying glasses and answering their questions about plants and conservation.
Throughout our time at Carntyne Primary we have been really impressed and inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of the children. Every week they have tackled the activites with gusto and been really keen to contribute, yet equally good at listening carefully and really thinking about the music and plants and responding in their own creative ways.
All these skills were evident at the performance. Creating a piece of music then performing in an ensemble with a conductor and score to follow involves a huge range of skills; concentration, awareness of others, watching, listening, turn taking, team work, self expression, self confidence.... the list goes on.
We are really proud of what the children managed to achieve over the course of the project. We hope that the experience has helped build these skills, teach them new information and nurture a love of plants and music that they will carry forward. Their comments certainly suggest that they enjoyed the experience as much as we did; we very much hope we will be able to return to Carntyne at a later date to see how they are all getting on and share more music together.
We will leave you with this slideshow of the P.6 TRANSPLANTED art wall. Jude Stone is an art teacher at Carntyne Primary and encouraged her class to create artworks inspired by the textures of their plants. We love the results.
We would like the acknowledge that this project is supported by the Glasgow Natural History Society and our partners in the project are EMS and Plantlife Scotland. Thanks to Carntyne Primary and teachers Judith Stone and Jessica Combe.