Music Composition and Performance Workshop with Bassistry
GCSE Music students in Year 10 developed their songwriting skills with composer, bassist and educator Marcel Pusey, in a day-long workshop at St Benedict’s on January 19th.
Lower Fifth GCSE Music students, Rory and Freddie, outline the day's activities and achievements:
On Thursday 19th of January, the Music GCSE students in Lower Fifth took part in a songwriting workshop with Bassistry. To start off the day, we all took up our instruments and played ‘Valerie’ (the Amy Winehouse version) to get ourselves into a musical mood. It also gave us some initial practice at playing together, which would become very important later on.
I think it is a fantastic experience which definitely helps with the composition element of the Music GCSE, and reminds all would-be musicians that, useful though they are, we don’t need computers to write music!"Rory
Next, we divided into 3 smaller bands and went away to work on our own original songs. Starting them off was definitely the hardest part, but once we had got some ideas down, our confidence grew, and with some help from the guys from Bassistry, we began to make progress fairly rapidly until we broke up for lunch.
After lunch, we finished off our songs, and rehearsed them so they would come across well as performances. Finally, we all gathered together in the Monteverdi room to perform what we had written. Everyone played and sang fantastically well; I was really surprised by how high the standard was, especially considering the time restraints under which we were working. To finish, we played ‘Valerie’ once more, and then we said our goodbyes and packed up.
I thought that the workshop was a brilliant experience, which not only allowed us to develop our musical skills, but also gave us the experience of working together with different groups of friends and students, and provided an opportunity for all of us to develop our skills at conveying our musical ideas to an audience.
I also agreed with Mrs Jolly (Head if Academic Music) that the workshop helped us with our GCSE compositions by highlighting how much progress we could make if we stepped away from computers and online music apps and just tried to work things out on our instruments.
All in all, I thought the day was very instructive and great fun, and I hope that the school continues to offer this opportunity to future GCSE students. I think it is a fantastic experience which definitely helps with the composition element of the Music GCSE, and reminds all would-be musicians that, useful though they are, we don’t need computers to write music!
I really enjoyed my music workshop, as I felt as though I was learning through collaboration with my peers. I understood my weaknesses and strengths on my instrument and within musical composition in general. I also enjoyed creating a song and am certain my confidence as a musician has improved! Working together with like-minded people to reach a common goal over a longer period of time felt inspiring, and I hope for more similar opportunities in the future.