Routes to Hoots is a stand-alone 8 to 10-week programme that takes whole classes on an exciting musical journey, introducing them to the basics of brass playing and drumming, and allowing them to explore their creativity. It is carefully designed to be inclusive, fun and hands-on, combining expert instruction in instrumental technique with song & movement, as well as a broader overview of world music cultures. Pupils with contrasting levels of musical experience learn together to share the success of creating a band from scratch.
Course content and teaching approach
The programme is designed to create a sense of fun and joy in making music as a group. We use games, rhythm exercises, movement, words, rhymes and improvisation as key components of our sessions. Pupils learn the music by ear and play from memory, with additional material tailored to the needs of the class such as warm-ups and theme tunes. Percussion instruments used on the project include bass drums, djembes and repeniques, amongst others. We use plastic trombones, which are light and easy for children to hold, and brass trumpets.
By the end of the programme, the class will have learned a piece of music, and each pupil will be able to play at least 5 notes on their brass instrument (of course this varies from pupil to pupil, and some will learn more). Drummers will have gained experience on 3 or more different drums. Alongside developing technical ability, pupils will develop skills in listening, teamwork, how to support each other to learn and how to contribute to a group creative process. They will have a deeper understanding of how brass instruments and drums work, and will be developing their understanding of their musical roles within an arrangement. Ultimately pupils complete the programme with increased self confidence, feeling inspired, and with a greater sense of curiosity about music.
We work once a week with 2 classes a day, aiming to perform to an audience within the school on week 10. Week 1 of the programme is not a teaching week, but focuses on meeting class teachers to outline plans, iron out any logistical issues (space, noise etc) and discuss other considerations such as pupils with ASN or those who already play instruments. Potential performance outcomes are also explored, which may include an in-school assembly and/or a performance at a community event.
Our digital music workshops provide participants with the opportunity to use a variety of music-making hardware for a tactile, hands-on musical experience. Working with drum machines, samplers, keyboards, record decks, mixers and effects units allows participants to develop a full range of skills, including listening, improvising, composition and arranging as well as basic programming and sound production. These skills enable players to gain confidence both on an individual level, and also in making music in a group.Julie-Ann Trusler – ‘Being A Clown’ (mixed by Barney Strachan)