- Acoustic instruments
- Rock band instruments
- Digital devices
- 5 to 12 years of age
3-5 2-hour workshops
- Community associations
- Social services
- Assisted living centre, recording studio
- Mental health
- Memory conditions (e.g. Dementia care, Alzheimer
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
Across the Lines
A community-based collaboration featuring original local music paired with the stories and sounds of seniors residing in an assisted living centre
Over the course of multiple workshops, get to know participants so a bond can be formed and participants will feel open to sharing. During the workshops:
Using a hand held digital recorder, record and catalogue sound as much as possible, which will allow for many random moments that may surprisingly lead to song titles, or themes. Capture sounds unique to the individuals engaged. These sounds can be looped or pitched and used to make beats or rhythms specific to the locale, and be used to teach that ordinary sounds can be musical.
Let participants try instruments and/or music apps on devices. See Sheila and Steve sit down to create ‘Hope’ as an example of introducing someone to an instrument for the first time. For trying music apps, see Germaine steps up to the iPad for the first time. Tell participants there is “no wrong way” to touch the screen and make a sound, and that oftentimes being naive is an advantage because they will do something new. Put them at ease by casually trying it in front of them and showing them that it’s easy to do. Record these to use as segways, intros, or full tracks.
During the recording of voices for workshops, encourage conversations on themes. This will give a sense of play to the project and process and bring meaning to participants. Some examples include: “Where were you born?” “Have you ever had a nickname?” What was your favourite toy as a child?” “What’s your biggest fear?”
Be open and present to recognize a magic moment – be it group laughter or a serious story, and use that to anchor the song/piece.
Gather musicians to play a score that has been created (a number of short instrumentals or songs) or improvise music and edit pieces or moments into short clips of music (2–5 mins) that will fit well with the length of a short story. Use original recordings from participant engagement with apps in workshops to include as backdrop pieces of music. Experiment with different combinations of instruments: drums and voice, guitar and bass, full band, etc. Use the “keeping turning left” model of doing something opposite of what was just improvised: change keys, change tempo, change instruments.
Listen to the recordings of the stories and choose which musical piece would fit well, based on theme, language, mood, and length, or randomly combine workshop recordings with music.
Edit the stories if necessary, creating space between words, and treat the material as sonic or musical moments, or leave the chosen story in it’s original state and let the music and story be independent of each other, all the while being combined.
A strong idea to create meaning and flow is to edit a word or section and repeat it as you would a chorus of a song. Many times you will find sentences that have their own rhythm work well when combined with music of a different tempo and/or rhythm.
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