10 WAYS YOU CAN JOIN US IN #MUSICMAKING

Today we are celebrating Make Music Day, an international celebration of music making, first launched in 1982. The festival will take place in over 750 cities worldwide, inviting anyone and everyone to come together to make music.

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Image: Tas Kyprianou

At Trinity Laban, we believe that music should be accessible to all. From one-off taster workshops to weekly classes, courses, creative arts projects and music/dance collaborations, our public programmes attract participants of all ages, whatever their background or ability.

Here are just 10 ways you can join us in music making:

1) The Certificate: The Practice of Music Making

The Certificate: The Practice of Music Making, is a one-year programme developed by Trinity Laban in partnership with the Open University. It offers adults with a passion for music the opportunity to develop their practical music making and performance skills through online distance learning with a residential learning week at our home in Greenwich.

2) Inspired not Tired – Over 60s Music and Dance

Our Learning and Participation teams are working with Lewisham-based partners as part of Older People’s Arts Network (OPAN) to make Lewisham a great place to grow old! Supported by Lewisham Council, Inspired Not Tired offers a weekly programme of music and dance to older participants aged 60+. See all groups on our website.

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Image: Tas Kyprianou

3) Professional Development

Our professional development programme enables music and dance artists, teachers, tutors and community practitioners to receive high quality training both regionally and nationally. Our music programme offers unique opportunities from extended study for an accredited qualification to shorter day and weekend courses. Take a look at training opportunities over on our website.

4) Junior Trinity

Junior Trinity is a Saturday Music Department for 3-19 year olds. Our Junior Department was the first of a UK Conservatoire to open its doors to schoolchildren on Saturdays in 1906. Since then, thousands of young people have benefited from the opportunities that Junior Trinity brings! From Trinity Teenies aged 3-5 right through to university and conservatoire entrance, Junior Trinity aims to encourage a lifelong interest in music and to give students the opportunities to develop to their maximum potential.

5) Take Part for Children and Young People

We offer a wide range of music and dance opportunities for children and young people. These include collaborative performance platform Lewisham Live, Animate Orchestra for school years 5-10, Schools’ Concerts, Youth Forum and more.

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Image: JK Photography

6) Jazz for Girls and Young Women

We want to get more girls in jazz! Our Girls and Young Women in Jazz day brings young female jazz musicians together to develop their skills through fun and informal workshops and masterclasses. Participants work alongside jazz musicians and students from Trinity Laban, perform as part of an ensemble, share new musical ideas, give peer-to-peer feedback and receive helpful support and advice on their playing from industry professionals.

7) Viola Day

On Saturday 1 July we’re welcoming viola players to join us for workshops, performance opportunities, and masterclasses with world-class violists from our Faculty of Music teaching staff. Visitors can chat with our current students about what it’s like to study viola at a conservatoire, and get some tips about the audition process.

8) Percussion Day

For all those with a passion for percussion, we’re hosting a day for percussion enthusiasts which will include fun and interactive workshops, performances, a trade show of percussion suppliers and demonstrations. Trinity Laban percussionists then take to the Greenwich Music Time main stage to perform a free concert featuring everything from Afro-Cuban fusion to swing!

9) Summer Schools

Music making doesn’t have to stop over the summer! Trinity Laban offers a choice of summer schools in music, musical theatre and dance every year. Participants can go Beyond the Dots in our music summer school for young people aged 11-19, or Take the Lead in a week-long intensive musical theatre training experience, for participants aged 16 and above.

10) Take Part for Teachers & Schools

We provide a number of opportunities for schools and teachers, from in-school workshops with our experienced team of workshop leaders to taster days at Trinity Laban for students considering a Higher Education course in Music or Dance. We also create bespoke programmes for school groups and offer Professional Development courses for teaching staff.

To find out more about Make Music Day, visit www.makemusicday.org.

Feeling inspired to Take Part with us at Trinity Laban? Find your programme here.

 

Beyond The Walls

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Image: Age Exchange July 2016 

Beyond The Walls was a multi-sensory interactive arts performance from Age UK and Trinity Laban, utilizing cutting-edge research to improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia. The project was led by Lucy Evans and Stella Howard, two Trinity Laban alumni currently working in our Learning and Participation (Dance) department. Lucy reflects here on their experiences…

The ‘Beyond The Walls’ project followed from on charity Age Exchange’s three year’s research entitled ‘Radiql’, which investigated improvements in the wellbeing of people living with dementia when they engaged with visual and movement arts.

In spring 2016, Stella Howard and I were commissioned by Age Exchange and Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation Team to undertake further research, the outcome of which would not be an academic paper but an actual dance performance.

The first stage of the process was a great privilege; we were invited to participate in 24 workshops with a group of older people in a Wandsworth care home.  The workshops were co-led by visual artist Mathew and movement therapist Christina.

As the weeks progressed – and as we observed the approaches and also the relationships facilitated by Matthew and Christina – we were able to interact more meaningfully with both the methodology itself, and also with the new people we were getting to know. In the later weeks, when I approached the residents, I experienced them taking my hand and warmly moving it to their cheek. We jived, sang and painted together, and shared memories (at one point a lovely lady turning to me and started to recite a verse about sowing seeds and growth – a precious moment indeed).

Of course we also met with some more emotionally challenging moments. We saw feelings of isolation and anxiety, a side to living with dementia not often evident in participatory activities. And we were occasionally told in no uncertain terms ‘I’ve grown out of this a long time ago!”.

Following the research phase, we moved to the studio to begin developing our observations and at first fragmented conclusions into movement and dance.

Initially, we worked a lot with improvisation to embody the shifting relationships and levels of engagement we had experienced and witnessed. We set up scores which enabled us to explore a variety of ways in which one could feel engaged or disengaged. We explored issues of whom or what we might choose to engage with (or not), and questioned the idea of agency: when and how did the participants exercise choice around engaging in relationships in the arts practice? There was something special for us about investigating this at Laurie Grove studio, away from our roles as practitioners at Trinity Laban, with a view of Goldsmiths and the sunlight painting patterns on the studio floor.

A further exciting element of this stage of the work was the commissioning of several artists: composer Eliot Lloyd-Short, who created an original live and recorded score; prop-maker Andy Pilbeam-Brown, who made nine cardboard suitcases which displayed artwork made by the workshop participants; and filmmaker Roswitha Chesher, who documented the workshops, the devising process and the final performance.

Throughout the process we were determined that our decisions should truthfully reflect the context, practice and its outcomes; that we should face not only the joyous but also the difficult moments. We referred to and quoted movement we had observed, whilst being completely clear we did not want to mimic or re-enact the people we had met.

We set up the stage space in the round and used multi-sensory ideas (tastes, smells and textures) to further bring the audience into the world of the workshops. Musically, Eliot used sound samples from nature (suggesting the imagined themes of the workshops), radio extracts (reflecting the more realistic sounds of the care home), and also played live guitar and viola. The majority of the composition happened in the studio, resulting in a music and dance relationship that was invested and complex. The structure of the work gave both art forms space to react to one another and improvise whilst also charting the shifts in engagement and relationships we witnessed over the 24 workshops.

Mid-process we shared our work with the most truthful and well-informed people we know: the Trinity Laban Boundless over 60’s dance group. It was nerve-wracking to test our interactive ideas on a live audience! But finding out they were both appropriate and effective in evoking an emotional response in our audience was a relief, and spurred us on to push this element of our work further.

The work was presented at Battersea Arts Centre on 2 February, following a panel discussion by leading academics in the field of dementia and wellbeing. It was fantastic to be part of a platform where music and dance, as a means of explanation and communication, held a level pegging with statistical documents.

If you are interested in seeing the work it will be shared again at Trinity Laban on the 14 June, and we’ll let you in on a secret, there’s chocolate involved!

Getting Actors Moving

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JK Photography

Trinity Laban’s Dance Summer School is the perfect induction into movement and physical theatre for aspiring actors. Struan Leslie, former Head of Movement at the Royal Shakespeare Company, tells us why.

‘A dance summer school is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a number of areas of physical knowledge and expression,’ Struan explains. ‘In particular, I think the sheer diversity of the classes offered is what makes Trinity Laban’s Summer School so unique.’

Struan (pictured inset), who has taught on the Trinity Laban Dance Summer School for around a decade, has a wealth of teaching experience across some of the country’s best-loved theatre institutions. He has lectured at RADA, Rose Bruford, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and internationally across the US and in Singapore.

‘On the Summer School, I lead workshops in physical theatre,’ Struan explains. ‘We explore the communicating body with rigour and specificity of intention.

‘Learning on this kind of programme allows participants to gain physical performance skills and techniques, enhancing rehearsal and creative contexts, from ensemble and devising to physical theatre,’ he adds.

Struan’s training began in the early 1980s at London Contemporary Dance School among pupils of world-renowned choreographers Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Doris Humphrey. A prime example of the fundamentality of dance as a platform for any arts career, he now works as a movement director and choreographer in the creation of productions in all areas of theatre and opera.leslie-struan

‘My dance background has meant I can apply the principles of choreography and technique to collaborative, movement-based work with urban designers, architects, visual artists, designers, writers and composers,’ he comments.

Trinity Laban’s Dance Summer School offers a unique opportunity for people of all dance levels aged 16+ to experience training of the highest quality in state of the art facilities, while making new friends from all over the world. Participants can create their own timetable, selecting from a broad range of sessions from contemporary technique to contact improvisation.

‘I think the biggest learning curve for performers on the Summer School, is to learn the day to day experience of what it is to be a performer full time – the energy and focus that requires,’ Struan says. ‘It helps participants discover whether they have the drive to pursue performance work professionally.’

Charlotte Constable

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

To find out more about the Dance Summer School, visit the Trinity Laban website.

‘Retired not Tired’- Spring Activity Roundup

It’s been a busy Spring term for Retired not Tired, Trinity Laban’s programme of music and dance activities for the over 60s. The Arts Befriending Group based in Sydenham and Young at Heart in Bellingham have been stretching their vocal chords in two intergenerational encounters. Young at Heart took part in a two way exchange of song and samba with year 11 pupils from Brent Knoll Special School in Lewisham, while the Arts Befriending Group sang side by side with some of our own Trinity Laban vocal students.

Spring Forth!’ – Lunchtime Concert, Tue 8 March

After a very successful initial visit in May 2015, The Arts Befriending Group returned to King Charles Court to spend the day singing and socialising with 10 Trinity Laban vocal students. The two groups, led by experienced singer, composer and Trinity Laban alumna Natasha Lohan were preparing to perform to an audience of staff, students and external partners in a lunchtime concert. The programme included a selection of 20th Century classics chosen by the Arts Befriending group- from Mary Poppins, to Hal David and Burt Bacharach’s hits, there was something to put a spring in everyone’s step!

Avril & student

Photo: Tess Robinson

The Arts Befriending Group, one of the four music and dance groups that make up Trinity Laban’s Retired not Tired programme for the over 60s, is a weekly singing and social group run in partnership with Ageing Well Lewisham. Natasha meets with the group weekly to work with them on learning songs of their choice and creating their own new material.

This term, the group has also been joined by Matthew Crisp, a first year violinist who has been supporting Natasha in preparation for and during the performance. Matthew has been a welcome addition to the group, performing to them regularly and arranging parts for the final performance, and has benefited from the experience of getting out into the community to work alongside a professional music leader. Pianist Panaretos Kyriatzidis and myself on violin also joined the group on the day.

It was a tough ask to put together a performance with just an hour and a half’s rehearsal time but the newly formed super group stepped up to the challenge, creating a fantastic uplifting performance to celebrate the arrival of Spring. The group were keen to give the audience a flavour of what they get up to every Tuesday, so the concert began with a breathing and vocal warm up for everyone present involving a Tibetan bowl to create a drone.

Natasha & bowl

Photo: Tess Robinson

To open the performance, resident thespian Norman Flynn recited two verses from Shelley’s poem Cloud, accompanied beautifully by Matthew’s rendition of Ladies in Lavender on violin.

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Photo: Tess Robinson

A highlight of the concert had to be a rendition of the Mary Poppins classic- Let’s go fly a kite, complete with handmade kites designed, made and waved by the group!

Group

Photo: Matthew Crisp

The concert continued with a medley of 20th Century ditties and the audience were encouraged to join with the classic Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head. The concert ended with Burt Bacharach’s Close to You which had the whole room singing along. Being up on stage, it was amazing to see the joy that the performance and singing along brought to people’s faces. If you weren’t smiling at the beginning, you certainly were by the end!

The value of this side by side exchange was clear from feedback given by all those involved:

The pleasure, pride and joy that the members share in the group is so obvious every single week and that is a very special thing to witness.’– Matthew Crisp, student violinist

All the students were so welcoming and it was good being able to chat to some of them and hear their hopes for the future’ – Arts Befriending Participant

‘I felt very lucky to sing with them, it felt really special, especially as you could feel how much they loved singing the numbers!’ – Trinity Laban Vocal student

The Spring Forth legacy now lives on with one of the kite props now flying proudly on the Learning and Participation board in the King Charles Court admin offices!

Kite

Young at Heart & Brent Knoll Special School- Exchange

In the early part of the Spring term 2016, our Young at Heart group led by Zoe Gilmour embarked on a new collaboration with year 11 pupils at Brent Knoll special school in Lewisham. The core aims of the project placed emphasis on challenging perceptions across generations and exploring artistic means of communication between two local community groups that may not otherwise have met. In sharing skills and interests and deciding collectively on music to share to the other group, a better understanding of each other’s circumstances, lives and histories was sought.

Young at Heart are a social group that meet weekly in Bellingham green, and are supported in music and craft activities by Zoe Gilmour. Second year trumpet player Sarah Owens has also played a vital role in supporting Zoe and the group with the exchange of material (check out Sarah’s blog HERE).

‘It’s incredibly rewarding to see the smiles on their faces when they hear and see a real instrument being played in front of them.’ – Sarah Owens

The group decided that they wanted to share one of their favourite music hall songs- My Old Man with the Brent Knoll students. Zoe created visual drawings of the lyrics to the song which were used as an effective form of communication between the group, as they wrote and drew thoughts and ideas throughout.

My Old Man Poster

In the first session at Brent Knoll, after some active introductions so that everyone was well acquainted, the group listened to Young at Heart singing My Old Man. They picked up the lyrics and tune very quickly and were soon being recorded so that the results could be played back at Young at Heart. The children were keen to use their individual talents to put their own spin on the song- one young girl whistled parts of the tune while another student was keen to do a freestyle rap taking some of the lyrics as inspiration. Although initially very shy, he eventually plucked up the courage to record his rap after the session when everyone had left. When the recordings were shared with Young at Heart, the group were so impressed with the creative ideas that the children had come up with!

The focus in the music curriculum for the Spring term was samba, so the year 11s taught us a rhythm that they had been learning. This gave us the idea to send Trinity Laban’s samba kit to the next Young at Heart session so that they could have a go at learning the rhythm. As it happened, it was one of the ladies’ 90th birthday, and although hard of hearing she loved joining in on the bass drum!

The project culminated in a sharing session where 5 Young at Heart participants visited Brent Knoll to finally meet the children they had been communicating with face to face. The feedback from this session highlighted the importance of making links and encouraging understanding across generations:

‘I realise now after this that deep down we’re all the same.’ –  Young at Heart participant

‘I learnt to get to know old people a bit better!’ – Brent Knoll year 11 student

‘The lad with the knitting was amazing!’ – Young at Heart participant

View the full range of material and resources that came out of the project HERE.

For more information on how to get involved in Trinity Laban’s over sixties activities click here, or email rnt@trinitylaban.ac.uk

By Lizzy Green- Retired not Tired Project Co-ordinator, Learning and Participation (Music)

The Dance: A Poem by Noah Lennon, 11

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What’s it like to be a part of Trinity Laban’s Youth Dance Programme? Noah Lennon, aged 11, attends Accelerate, a series of fun and dynamic classes for young male dancers exploring contemporary dance. He has written this fantastic poem summarising his experience of performing.

The Dance
by Noah Lennon

My heart, racing like a drum
The teacher signals us to come
My body feeling numb…
I hear the crowd murmur and cough
I take a deep breath in
For the show is about to begin…

The smell of anticipation fills the air
As we all gather & begin to stare
Into the dark, the pitch-black stage
We walk on, then arrange

Slowly, the lights fade up
I begin to see the faces of the crowd
eagerly waiting for us to start…

A second passes, I hear the beat
Then BAM! we’re up, we’re on our feet!
The music breaks I know my cue,
In fact, we all know what to do

Here it goes, my body away,
My hands, my legs are led astray
Another twist, another turn,
All these moves I’ve come to learn

The world of dance – a funny place
The music pounding like it’s a race
Tired and weak I carry on,
After all who am I hiding from

The show begins to end
Our last lean, our last bend
Just one last push and we’re done
But I really can’t describe this fun

Gradually the music comes to a close
The crowd clap all the rows
I’m collapsing to the floor
Oh how I wish we could’ve done more
But I’ll never forget the flow
Of our fun, amazing show.

The GOLDs visit Trinity Laban

GOLDs

Earlier this month, we celebrated International Older People’s Day on Thursday 1 October, here at the Faculty of Dance.

Our over sixties classes, Dance for Health and All Singing, All Dancing!, both part of the Retired not Tired programme were visited by 10 members of GOLDs Company, from Canberra, Australia, for a day of sharing work and dancing together.

As the newly appointed Graduate Intern in the Learning & Participation (Dance) Department, the GOLDs’ visit also signified my first solo shot at coordinating, managing and leading a project for TL.

GOLDs in performance

Photo: Mary Hinchey

Joined on the tour by Artistic Director Liz Lea, the GOLDs is a performance group for over 55s established in 2011 by Canberra Dance Theatre. Their visit to Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Dance was just one stop on their grand tour from 20 September to 10 October, spanning from Brighton to Edinburgh and even flying over to Vienna in between – a tour schedule that, as a performer myself, struck me with envy! Their black and gold company t-shirts were also the object of our TL groups’ desires.

GOLDs rehearse at studio 1, Laban Building

Photo: Mary Hinchey

After a short meet and greet between the groups, the GOLDs were whisked off on a tour of the Laban Building. Our visitors were given a glimpse of various undergraduate student classes and discovered the building’s architecture and accessibility, which gave them a real itch to get into the studio to move and explore – a vitality which remained constant throughout the day.
The GOLDs were joined by our Trinity Laban dancers for the first session of the day, led by All Singing, All Dancing!’s lead dance artists Natasha Lohan and Donna Ford. Once introduced to their voices, the dancers were invited into movement and vocal explorations through a voyage across a river, dissolving the three groups into a mass choir of movers and singers. The session ended with a screening of Lifestream, a short film created by All Singing, All Dancing! based on the themes explored within the morning’s class. A great first session to kick off the collaborations.

GOLDs

Photo: Mary Hinchey

The second session was led by Trinity Laban Alumnus Elisabetta d’Aloia. Improvisation-led tasks built up throughout the class, resulting in playful stop/start duets. Dance for Health participant Ian Russell recalled a group improvisation task:

“If one stops everyone does.
If one sets off everyone does,
Only one person at a time moves,
Only one person at a time is still.”

Trinity Laban Dance Artist Donna Ford gives her account of the session:

“Elisabetta welcomed us all and invited us to join her and bring the space alive, be together and explore together. We began with breathing, the whole body breathing, not just the lungs. The whole room breathing together and not just individuals.

We observed the way we could negotiate the space together following different rules, such as the whole group sensing when to come to stillness, having one person moving whilst another had to be still at any one time. We partnered up and played number conversation games, replacing words with claps and stamps and our own devised movements.

This movement dialogue then developed into duets which became set and then shared with each other. Marcia and Lucy’s duet was a particularly memorable moment as one played the other like a puppeteer, producing dramatic movements that were communicated across the space. Everyone remarked on how the session had felt like playing which in turn was very stress relieving.”

The third and final session, headed up by Dance for Health’s lead Dance Artist Lucy Evans, channelled the group’s creative curiosities into creating foil sculptures which in turn became a collage of silvery silhouettes against the wall – an artwork which formed the basis of spirited improvisation.

GOLDs rehearsing in studio 1, Laban Building

Photo: Lizzie Croucher

The day ended with a sharing of two contrasting works from the GOLDs; Air Kiss and Pop Art. Dance for Health participant Savitri Gaines sums up the performance and her experience of the day;

“Delightful to watch and hear … they also integrated some of us in the performance – I was blown a kiss and the person next to me was asked to join on the dance floor … it ended with all of us smiling, laughing. We were truly entertained.
(The GOLDs) were truly rich with two way conversation; one of whom was celebrating her 80th birthday. An inspiration to most of us—so pleased I was there.’”

For more information on how to get involved in Trinity Laban’s Over Sixties activities, visit the programme page, or email rnt@trinitylaban.ac.uk

Lizzie Croucher

Graduate Intern

Learning and Participation (Dance)

Top tips for teaching dance safely and effectively

Dance Scientist Edel Quin teaching
Working as part of Trinity Laban’s Learning & Participation (Dance) team means that I get to see a variety of teaching practices. We work in all sorts of settings and each of our wonderful teachers brings their own personality and teaching style to their classes.

While on the surface every teacher’s practice may appear very different from the next, core underlying principles and knowledge can be found embedded throughout their work. One such example is their ability to teach safely and effectively which helps to safeguard their participants from injury in the present and future, while also promoting enhanced potential.

So, what are the key elements of safe practice that we need to be aware of when teaching dance?

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