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Finding creative ways to ‘Reconnect’

Posted by Darren Leadsom on 01 April 2022

‘Reconnect’ is an exciting multimedia schools project with acclaimed cellist Maja Bugge and MM music leader/producer Leroy Lupton, working with Y5 and Y6 children from Christ Church Primary School in Lancaster.  The musicians and pupils worked together to create a musical and visual response to the children’s experiences of the pandemic, lockdown and being able to come back together again. The soundtrack to the video they have created combines music technology and cello, creating a unique combination of styles in collaboration with the children and introducing them to different ways of making music, both traditional and modern. This pilot project has been funded by Lancashire Music Hub. You can watch the video below:

The sessions took place over five weeks in January and February 2022, working towards a sharing of the completed video in March.  The children created a huge amount of artwork, lyrics and video as a creative response to the project. The school were incredibly supportive in helping to gather this material.

The project also involved composition and development time for Maja and Leroy, allowing them space to share their approaches to music making and workshop facilitation, learning from each other to benefit their practice.

Maja explains: “I have really enjoyed doing this project with Leroy. The kids’ creative response has been so rich and generous. I had a hunch that a project like this would make a nice framework for creative output but the way they have responded was really been overwhelming.”

“Leroy has also given me a fascinating insight into digital composition and how we with very limited resources can make music with them. I think one of the strengths of the project is its openness, that it can hold and develop musical skills on different levels as well as celebrating those who already have knowledge of their instruments but also through visual art and writing and even English and poetry.”

One of the outcomes of the project has been the inspiration that Maja has given the children to take up the cello.  15 children at Christ Church have expressed an interest in learning to play the cello so lessons are in the process of being set up with Maja.

The children really enjoyed the project too, here’s a selection of their feedback:

– “A really amazing experience. I learned a lot about music and how you can use words to express feelings.”

– “I have loved doing the music project and I have learned new chords on the keyboard.”

– “I found this experience very inspiring because I have got more into music now”

– “I thought the music project was very inspiring because I can now look back at the events in lockdown.”

– “I really enjoyed playing the cello because I have never played an instrument”

– “I found the project very fun and enjoyable. I would love to do it again because I liked seeing all the work going together.”

– “This music project has been very exciting because we got to record most of the sounds/words.”

– “I really enjoyed when we went to the ICT room as a recording studio.”

– “I enjoyed going in the studio to record all the positive and negative words. I also really liked making sounds with all the objects.”

Gemma Hooper is Y6 teacher and KS2 Lead at Christ Church School. She said:

“The Reconnect project has enabled our Y5 and 6 pupils to reflect on their emotions and experiences of COVID, channelling these reflections into expressive and creative outlets using music and performance. Our pupils have never experienced anything like the upheaval and loss that COVID caused and for some children, they could not use language alone to express a response to their experience. The project has enabled them to develop a musical, creative response which demonstrates their journey throughout COVID.”

“The project began with a gathering of children’s experiences which enabled us to set a cross-curricular homework project to capture their own and their family’s experiences. The response to the homework was phenomenal; many children created a digital multimedia response which incorporated music, poetry, art, maths and language.”

“Maja and Leroy’s expertise, dedication and passion for music supported our pupils and staff to feel reconnected with music. The combination of classical and digital music inspired our pupils. All pupils and staff enjoyed the process and experience. We are thrilled that our children have worked alongside Maja and Leroy to produce a musical and digital masterpiece which will become part of our history.”

We hope to continue to develop this project and be able to offer it to other schools.

Thanks to Rick Middleton for his help to edit the video.

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