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Holiday music for kids hits the right note

Young Raglan musicians turned composers after a two-day workshop at the Old School Arts Centre recently.

Run by Ruth Power with her husband Kane (drummer/audio engineer/podcaster of Musicians Map) in support, Inspire! Holiday Music Program introduces instrument making, percussion, music experimentation, jamming and composition to musos-in-the-making.

Ruth says she spent the past year developing online piano courses and was keen to bring music to the students in a live setting.

“I needed to connect with students and see their amazed expressions as they learn a new riff or discover their musical creativity. Those are the rewards of teaching face-to-face that I had missed.”

During the workshops, the young performers made percussion instruments from craft materials, learnt to hit, shake or tap in time with a beat and how to jam along to a backing track using the C blues scale.

“The kids were also encouraged to experiment on a keyboard with headphones connected to various iPad music apps, jam out a beat on the drum sampling pad and the DJ request box gave everyone a chance to choose the songs they wanted to hear for the blindfolded disco at the end of the day,” Ruth says.

The course culminated in the group creating and recording an original song about living in Raglan.

“We talked about musical styles and their characteristics, then deciding which style to aim for, began writing a song together,” she says.

The students chose the song topic, title, wrote all the lyrics and with a few tips from Ruth and Kane each contributed to the recording with percussion, guitar, piano, singing and even a rap break.

“Watching these eight faces express a mixture of surprise, wonder and pride as we listened back to their song is the priceless payoff that I miss from running music courses online. It convinces us to do this again next holidays, but bigger and much, much louder,” she says.

Ruth studied music at Wintec and spent several years working and performing in London with her prog rock band Death in Texas. She can tailor piano, vocal and music programmes for groups and one-to-one, and to suit all ages.

Check out the students’ composition at https://youtu.be/p9sLJQooLF8. For information about Ruth’s piano course visit www.PianoPicnic.com or contact ruth@pianopicnic.com.

Sign up for updates of the next Inspire! Raglan holiday program: www.pianopicnic.com/inspire-raglan