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.

Animate Orchestra at the BFI

Trinity Laban’s creative orchestra for young people visited the British Film Institute, Southbank for a creative day of film and music making

A couple of weeks ago, 35 young, enthusiastic musicians took a trip to the British Film Institute to experience a cross arts project involving drama, screen writing, directing, comedy, filming and music making. The group was made up of musicians between the ages of 9 and 15 from the Boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Lambeth, and Southwark who have previously attended Animate Orchestra courses.

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These courses run throughout the year during school holidays and typically involve participants working alongside professional musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and local music hubs to create a new piece of music from a given stimulus. The two summer holiday trips provide an opportunity for members to try something different, whether this is experiencing a different art form or genre of music, or gaining an insight into a different culture at some of London’s leading arts institutions. In the past, Animate Orchestra have visited Gamelan Southbank, the Royal Academy of Arts, the BBC Proms and Chickenshed Theatre Company.

On arrival at the BFI, the group were presented with a hand held camera, countless boxes filled with costumes and props, face paints and a blank sheet of paper. Within 2 hours, and with the support and expertise of BFI tutors and volunteers, this had been transformed into 5 short zombie movies. The afternoon session saw them returned to their comfort zone as thought was given to how they could use their instruments and percussion provided to create an effective soundtrack that reflected the action on screen. The day culminated with a screening of each group’s film accompanied by a live soundtrack.

Below is just one of the examples that Animate produced on the day, this one is called Zombie Ant!

And below are a couple of screen grabs from the the films Zombie Restaurant (top photo) and Zombie Prison (bottom photo):

Zombie Restaurant Screen Grab Zombie Prison Screen Grab

Lizzy Green
Projects Coordinator, Learning and Participation (Music)

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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Street Dance, by a ‘non-dancer’

Street Dance, by a 'non-dancer'
If you have ever read my blog or seen my posts on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I am a huge fan of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and their Faculty of Dance at the Laban Building in Creekside, Deptford. This is where I take my daughter to contemporary kids’ classes on a Saturday. The waiting list for kids’ classes is over 2 years long, so you can tell that the teaching is highly regarded, even from the youngest of ages. This year Trinity Laban is top of the Guardian’s University league table for drama and dance for the fourth year running. Importantly for me, as a place to hang out during my daughter’s class, it is nothing but a pleasure.
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Share practice and ideas as a learning community

Being the graduate intern in Learning and Participation (Dance) I have the fantastic opportunity of being able to take part in the specialist training days offered as part of the Learning and Participation (Dance) Continuing Professional Development Programme. These days are open to those wishing to improve their teaching practice and find new ways of delivering dance classes.

I often find myself leaving the Laban Building full of ideas, ready to reflect on my own teaching practice. It is also great to experience new teaching resources that inspire me to create new and exciting lesson plans and schemes of work. It is a privilege to be taught by highly experienced dance practitioners, who can enrich your learning with their great level of expertise.

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Continuing Professional Development offers many ways to keep up with practice and open up further career options.

When attending these days I am able to meet a range of teachers from different contexts, including current school teachers (dance, performing arts and PE), freelancers working in schools, PGCE students and those taking their first steps into teaching dance.

The dance practitioners who lead the days are always enthused to help you discover more ways to teach and solve trickier problems to questions that may be left unanswered. I hope that I will continue to be inspired during the upcoming weekends by fresh approaches and imaginative possibilities for my own classes. A previous participant who attended a specialist training day expressed how she “Learned a great deal and relished the opportunity”. She explained; “I am actually a qualified History teacher, but I attended the session because I am interested in exploring the possibility of transferring my skills and teaching my real passion, Dance.”

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Reading case studies from past students who attended these days, as well as completing the Diploma in Dance Teaching and Learning (DDTAL) has given me an insight into what can be achieved in such a pivotal stage of my career. A previous student was amazed by what one qualification can do, opening many doors for her! Since completing DDTAL she has been keen to stay in contact with different teachers as it is a great way “to share practice and ideas as a learning community” and is enjoying a fruitful career teaching dance. She also went on to complete her MA in Professional Practice in Dance Technique Pedagogy at Middlesex University.

I would recommend anyone involved in dance teaching or hoping to be involved to come along to the next Specialist Training Day and see what you may discover. Here’s where you can find out more.

Nick Kyprianou

Graduate Intern for Learning and Participation (Dance)

@nickyprianou