Sound Journey – ‘the Camel Caravan’

On Friday morning my colleague Jen and I presented the first two workshops in this series of four. The Sound Journey is a project I’ve been working with one of the directors of Pocketfool Productions, who create beautiful, detailed arts experiences for children aged 2-5 years. Jen invited me to develop a music project with her that would focus on young children making very deliberate decisions about when and what they would play. So often for this age group, Jen lamented, it is just about giving the children instruments and having a bit of a playing free-for-all. The intention with this project was to encourage the children to listen, and to play with care, deliberation, and new ears.

We designed it as a journey, with the open space and natural light of ArtPlay in mind, and suggested to the children that they would be travelling as a group of camels, joined by a long length of bells (the traditional kini-kini, or bana bells that I bought in East Timor). Holding these bells, the children moved through a range of different landscapes, including a market place where they could buy sounds of all sizes and impressions (icy sounds, shiny sounds, big sounds, bony sounds), and a sea journey where they placed their hands on the rim of the ocean drum and moved its tiny silver balls en masse around the drum’s interior, making circles and waves. The journey culminated with a little village of three cardboard houses, large enough for the children to enter, and each with an instrument inside. The children took it in turns to enter a house, and play the instrument inside, while the other children and their parents listened. This point in the journey captivated the children, and encouraged very attentive listening to the range of sounds, and excellent turn-taking.

It was gorgeous! Lots of beautiful music-making, and experiences of how this age group works best that are giving me lots of ideas for the other early-years workshops I have taking place later this year. We have two more of these workshops in a fortnight’s time.

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2 comments so far

  1. victoria Ryle on

    It sounds a very special experience…

  2. […] Beethoven’s Big Day Out has its origins in a Jam for Juniors I led for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2011, but that project employed ideas that I’d begun exploring in response to the very beautiful, detailed, and insightful work for pre-school children by Pocketfool Productions, and in particular a project that Jennifer Anderson from Pocketfool and I developed together for ArtPlay earlier in 2011 – the Camel Caravan (read about it here). […]


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