I lead creative music workshops, particularly focusing on the dynamics of group interaction and game strategies. I work with a variety of age groups - from adults to primary school age children, from professionals to arts enthusiasts.
AlgoMech Festival 19th May 2019
We explored how the algorithms that govern games can be transformed into musical pieces. I mapped the rules and procedures of games onto graphic and instructional scores, which we used to create new musical pieces during the workshop. Working with a mix of percussion, bells & hooters, we transformed numbers and graphic blueprints into performance pieces.
From the games of Hopscotch, Elastics and Rock Paper Scissors I extracted number procedures, patterns of choreography and algorithms. By assigning rules or parameters to these aspects of games, we explored different strategies for interaction between performers, and for generating and composing with sounds. Read more here.
Music in Disorder, with Revoid Ensemble, Royal College of Music in Stockholm
I was invited to take part as a guest in Music in Disorder: Counterplay, Complexity and Collective Improvisation — an artistic research project established at Royal College of Music in Stockholm (funded by The Swedish Research Council and Stockholm University of the Arts). The project involved a series of research labs, artistic productions, concerts, public presentations and seminars during 2016-2018.
Working with the Revoid Ensemble, we explored one of my methods for small-group improvisation, Cogs. I introduced these circular graphic scores as a way to focus on aspects of pattern, rhythmic communication and gameplay in improvisation. We then experimented with these scores in conjunction with the ensemble’s own methods, giving rise to some interesting results and food for thought for my own future work.
The Music in Disorder project has involved a great variety of interesting artists, and you can read more about it here.
RAL Space and Cornerstone Arts Centre
Working with astrophysicist Chris Pearson, we collaboratively designed and delivered workshops in Oxfordshire primary schools, supported by Cornerstone Arts Centre (Didcot). We combined musical activities and games with a scientific exploration of the solar system, with inflatable planets, a human orrery, rhythm games and body percussion. As well as learning about our own solar system, the children created their very own exoplanets.
These exoplanets became the inspiration for the children’s original compositions for percussion, which they composed in groups of threes and fours. I then created a new piece, Oxfordshire Exoplanets, made up entirely from recordings of the children’s compositions. With so much great music to choose from, I had a lot of fun working with sounds, patterns and rhythms from the children’s work. I tried to keep a flavour of the musical ideas, planetary landscapes and imaginary worlds that the groups came up with. Here’s a couple of snippets to give you an idea.
Forgetting to Remember
In partnership with Minerva Scientifica, the project drew from researchers across the faculties of medical science, agriculture and engineering, and humanities and social science at Newcastle University.
This culminated in an event at the Sage Gateshead, in which five pairs of female identifying scientists and composer/performers led activities for young people from schools in the region, based upon the collaborative work they had undertaken.
I collaborated with chemical engineer Dr Paola Meynet, exploring her research into the role ofmicrobiological processes in wastewater treatment systems. We co-created music and musical games based upon her work, which we workshopped with the attendants at the Sage Gateshead.
LSO Soundhub Workshop
During my residency with LSO Soundhub, I was lucky enough to work with a group of 14 musicians from various different backgrounds in a series of workshops at LSO St Lukes, London. The participants answered an open call that I put out, including amateurs, students and professionals.
Over 3 months, we explored ideas of game and instructional scores, developing ideas that fed towards my composition of new pieces at the end of the workshop series. This ranged from using tight, synchronised counting games as a point of departure for improvisation, graphical pattern notation and rule-based cueing strategies.
GCSE Music Composition Workshop, Bridge Academy, Hackney
Workshopping my Cogs methods with music students at Bridge Academy in Hackney, London introduced me to new ways of using my graphic scores. It was interesting to see how the GCSE students input sounds from their favourite music styles into these circular graphic scores, dislocating phrases, lyrics and beats from their original context by using the visual rhythm of the Cogs scores.
Definitely a fun experiment for me and I hope the students had fun too!
This workshop was supported by LSO Discovery.