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Group Two Birches Head….

BIRCHES HEAD

Upon meeting this group I felt like I had found magic, they were a collection of young ladies and two teachers who were eager to learn how to perform and develop their talents with confidence. I wanted to know more about this group so asked them to each tell me a couple of things about themselves and the answers really varied;

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 ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEIR  INDIVIDUAL SKILLS

“Singing Low & Keyboard Skills”

“Teacher with Guitar and Bass Skills”

“Partying with a Love of Music”

“Laughing and wearing a hearing aid”

“Football and Music”

“Singing and Guitar pass grade one”

“English and Drama Teacher”

“Football, Recorder & Silver Viola”

“Singing but not High Pitch”

“Twin and Dancer”

“Teaching Assistant with passion for Arts”

 

” Playing Trombone” 

“Singing”

During the first session they showed me how coy they were, this motivated me to help them build their esteem and turn them into Songstress’s. So I began by teaching them some vocal techniques, then spilt them in half and made them do a cannon of what they had learn, this was in a bid to let them hear how they sounded.

After this had been achieved we started to discuss what they wanted to do for the Creative Minds Festival, the ideas were genres of R&B or Slow Jams the songs they chose to look at during songwriting were;

Rhianna Stay,  Adelle Someone like me  and  Duffy Mercy, I was reluctant to use another Adelle song and was honest with the group so they voted on Mercy and Stay and it was decided.

Over the next workshops we began songwriting, I shared with them the knowledge of writing a good song and what ingredients it needed, I then played “Stay” by Rihanna and gave them the task of counting the syllables in each line and then writing a line with the same amount of syllables, sound simple but the catch was it had to either be about Stoke or themselves. I spilt them into groups of threes and this is what they came up with:

“Came here to try something new

singing is what we shall do

almost every-night starting a new song

were practicing to be professional

Just wanted to be a crew

Singing is what we shall do”

“In Birches head the air is fresh

In Birches head I feel at my best

I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else today

In Birches head I reckon Im on my way”

“As we grew were getting stronger

wanted to be part of something new

wanted to try something singing

walked in turnt around it was’nt easy for me dude

Empty in my head, thinking only one thing

as clueless as I was, I turned smiling this is what I wanna do

Buried in my faith I did really struggle”

 

“All along Stoke was a pleaser

Although we have no Julius Caesar

If we look around we have our very own gems

the staffs hoard, Stan and Robbie Williams”

“When Your singing you can put your own message out

The way your voice goes with the music

how you feel goes with the tune

maybe were hitting the beats too soon

When your singing you can put your own message through

the way your voice goes with the music too

how you feel goes with the tune

maybe were hitting the beats too soon”

Three out of the four groups excelled at this task and so they went onto the next sixteen bars of music, They seemed to flourish with ideas and enjoyed the songwriting.

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We had one week left before it was their half term so I promised that the following week, the song would be composed and they could rehearse it over the holiday, with a  instrumental backing track……

Stay In Birches Head

All along stoke was a pleaser

Although we have no Julius Cesar

If we look around we have our very own gems

The staffs hoard, Stan and Robbie Williams

Walked in turned around it wasn’t easy for me dude

Oh now tell me now tell me now tell me now you know

Came here to try something brand new

Just wanted to be a crew

Singing is what we shall do

Almost every night start a new song

We are practising to be professional

Wanted to try something different singing

Empty in my head, thinking only one thing

Walked in turned around it wasn’t easy for me dude

Oh now tell me now tell me now tell me now you know

You can put your own message out

How you feel flows with the tune

The way your voice goes with the music

I turned around smiling

Buried in my faith

(ooooh) As we grow we’re getting stronger

(ooooh) As clueless as I was

Wanted to be part of something new

this is something I wanna do

I really did struggle When I was singing

Maybe we are hitting the beats too soon

In birches head the air is fresh

In birches head I feel at my best

I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else today

In birches head I reckon Im on my way

I want to stay, stay

In birches head stay ooooh

After the week break I was shocked at the next workshop, four people had rewritten “Don’t Stop”  by Glee and performed it for the rest of the group, I was astounded not only was it good but they had excelled in taking ownership. The others in the group were surprised we now had two songs ready below is a short edit of the composing;

“Just a small town girl

Living in a Stokey World

She took the midnight bus going Hanley

Just a City girl

born and raised in London

She took the midnight train going Stokey”

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Okay so the next workshop we looked over some Instrumental R&B tracks, I had written some chorus lines and asked each group to pick what they wanted to work with and in groups they picked what they wanted to compose to next, they worked diligently through this task, as they paired up into groups of three and as the workshop continued another song was composed….

 

But you gotta  try

Make yourself try

Said you gotta try

To reach the sky

 

If you take the time

To make an effort

Have the confidence

State your place

It will bring

Warmth to your heart

But be strong

Try to be happy

Be you no matter what

Even though your down

Learn to stand on

Your own two feet

 

Rpt 2

But you gotta  try  

Make yourself try

Said you gotta try

To reach the sky

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It was really getting inspiring the self assurance had continued within the group,the young ladies now embraced each other quite well. We began working on the last piece which was to be called “Shooting Star”, what I wanted them to  achieve through this last song was the same sense of unity they exuded, in the workshops by telling the viewers something about themselves that they did not know, I gave the free reign letting them choose a Instrumental first, as the song continuously played in the background they began composing.

“Shooting star up in the sky we fly

shooting star up in the sky we fly

ooh ooh so high

ooh ooh so high”

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After they had finished writing we began gluing it all together, individually they told me their lines I then sang them back to them until they got the tune. one by one I let them flow, moving them around according to the drop in the instrumental. By the end of the session they had nailed it, they knew who was singing before them and who was singing after the tenure of these young ladies was commendable. They supported each other superbly nudging each other when necessary, throughout these workshops the groups buoyancy had shined and surpassed their highest hopes.

“Shooting Star” became their favorite, as the date drew closer they began planning outfits and the color gels they wanted to use as we began rehearsing the songs, there was to be an interesting twist,the shyest member of the group stepped forward and began to lead “Stay”.

She had learnt  all the words and where the others struggled following the tune she outshone and so the young ladies decided that she should do a duet with another and so we began working on Choreography for the songs….

Stay

Don’t Stop

Try

Shooting Star

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BIRCHES HEAD WRITE UP
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“Bouncing From A Boombox”, was oozing with musical talent, which is just waiting to explode.

This united group enjoys singing, “Bouncing From A Boombox”, insist that their forte is R&b and Slow Jams (soul), are what they enjoy most. And when they harmonise they sound like sugar and honey, the ranges within this group of young ladies are easy on the ear and delicious in sound to any listener. “Bouncing From A Boombox”, has a lot of melodic energy, and a fantastic affinity for song writing.

These darlings have tonality to envy, when they take to the stage prepare to be harmoniously amazed.


Introducing The Groups……WEA Community Group!!!!

WEA

During the first session with WEA, we done a vocal warm up I explained the importance of the voice and we went into some vocal exercises. This group gravitated quite well to the warm up exercises which they found helpful, whilst sustaining notes. WEA told me at the end of the first session what skills they expected to get out of the workshops they agreed that they would hope to achieve confidence, lovable company, new friends, enjoyability, working within a group, fulfillment and the ability to sing & learn music.

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By week two we moved into genres of music , they enjoyed singing and what would make the cut for the performance. There were numerous ideas flowing, they wanted to be a choir with a difference.


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 “Something new a variety of genres”

Andrew

“Stevie Wonder and Ballads”

Joan

“Abba”

Steven

“RnB, Michael Jackson and Rihanna”

Samantha

“Adelle”

Esmie

“Black Eyed Peas, Pop music & Lady Gaga”

Marie

“Corrs, Celine Dionne,Adam Ant and Karaoke”

Tracy

“Swinging sixties, Foreigner, Elvis and the Beach Boys”

Janet

“Eclectic, Mariah Craey, George Michael, Erasure, Adam Ant and Abba”

Linda

“Singing choir, folk music, 60s and 70s”

Jennifer

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We continued this session by discussing what songs they would like to do the list shortened and we came up with;

Abba: Money Money Money, Mama Mia, Waterloo and Dancing Queen

Adelle:  Someone like you, Rolling in the deep and Skyfall

50′s & 60′s Motown

Diana Ross: Baby love

Chiffons: Sweet talking guy

Marvin Gaye: Heard it through the grapevine

“After that we discussed what Stoke on Trent was renowned for”…

Friendly place

Delicious Oatcakes

Simply The Best

6 Towns and The Rhyme Hanley, Longton, Burslem, Stoke

Paula White on Radio Stoke

All the Pubs

Lots of open green spaces near the countryside

Easy access

If you come from Stoke you pick up Pott

The dialect and phrases such as “Oh Duck, Ohrete & Going up bank

Sagga maker bottom knocker

Before we ended we discussed a name and  WEA decided upon “ALLSORTS”WEA write up they felt that this  name captures all of there musical styles and genres and all of the personalities within the group.

It was now my job to go away and decide on what songs we would use, I decided to rewrite and edit two of the groups choices for the next week session, so we could begin rehearsing……

“I heard it through the Stokevine” & Stoke On Trent ” were chosen and the group loved what I had done to them, with the words they had chosen about Stoke On Trent we now had two song ideas and were practicing them, what an achievement for them the morale really lifted that week for WEA.IMG_7408

Over the next couple of weeks we rehearsed these two songs, until WEA felt more secure I would not give them more… Then in week four I decided to ask if anyone wanted to do “solos”, by this time the confidence had grown and they all wanted solos,the two songs we had been working on now got harmonized and each member of WEA had a solo line to deliver either with someone else or alone.I  then asked a younger member of the group if she would like to sing Rolling in the deep by Adelle, I knew she could sing but at the tender age of thirteen had never been given the chance to shine this was her moment as she graciously accepted.  _MG_8603

Seeing the group had taken the rehearsals so serious  by 29th May I began allowing them to run the vocal warmup, in week three I had given them each a vocal warmup CD so they could practice the exercises, I now wanted to see how much they had taken on board.

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Linda was the first to lead a warmup she started by asking the group to breath in for 4 and out on “Ahhhhhh” for a count of 4 moving to 8 then finally 16., Linda then moved the exercise onto “Rahhhh” making them breath for the same timings.

I must say that now the group could all hold for 16, which was great through observation I could now see they were all breathing correctly and using full breath support.

Linda delivered a brilliant warmup excellent timing and leading, brought a tear to my eye.IMG_7482IMG_7411

On 5th June Sue led the vocal warmup again she delivered very well we then continued the session by going over the three songs we now had, the group all have vocals and know their harmonies. We worked on the staging and got some bongos for Rollling in the deep acoustic acapella, we will also source a tambourine. The sessions are now fully buzzing with excitement…..

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We now had three songs and I left it up to the group to decide what the final one would be they decide on “Love Shack”, stating that it would be nice if they could enjoy it by acting it out and making it fun.  is where it got interesting over the next week five people from the group met up on a tuesday and did a run through of Love shack in a public house. 

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The following day they showcased it to the rest  during rehearsals, it is our fourth song wow they had taken ownership of the upcoming performance and tackled Love shack with Gusto, now I was excited!!!.

During this rehearsal I was approached by another member of the group, who said he wanted to do queen we are the champions, now we only had twelve minutes of performance time, so instead of saying no I said we would run through it and see how it went, if we were short for time we would add it in as a movement piece.

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Over the coming weeks we added in the backing music, of karaoke instrumentals and turned Rolling in the deep into our own, the group began to get nervous but each one was proud of the progress we had made. Each person was now practicing vocal warmups each day, they now had the instrumentals with the originals to rehearse as well I advised them that two hours each week should suffice. The faith of the group had come along so well they were full of encouragement for each other, giving and receiving constructive criticism believing in themselves as a choir group.

THE RUNNING ORDER

Stokevine

Love Shack

Stoke On Trent

Rolling In The Deep

Dress Rehearsals

We are the Champions was cut we had run over by a few minutes so it would not be possible to have this as a movement piece, the group agreed that it was too much and as the date drew closer the nerves showed. Some didn’t turn up for the first dress rehearsal the others insisted on having words they all knew, they seemed discouraged but I believed in them, so with as much inspirational tools I had I motivated them. Encouraging them by recording the rehearsal and then playing it back to them, giving them kind words to assist with their nerves and allowing them to sing with a microphone so they could hear what they would sound like by the end of the last session the group was full of high spirits and armed with a positive intention. I had also printed out the set and stage directions at the end of this session I gave them and an affirmation to say ten times each day before their dress rehearsal the following tuesday;

“It’s safe for me to be powerful

I accept my god given talent

I am powerfull enough 

to share this talent with others”

Lovilia Henry

Additionally I sent them a link to a track I wrote entitled Lookin 4 Luv, which is about believing in yourself and can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/lovill/lookin-4-luv-1
On the day of performance the group all made it, they were really excited and when we hit the stage for the dress rehearsal they took themselves very serious but enjoyed it none the less.
They were less shy now they had done a test run and eager for the show that evening, as we got some food and props for the staging the ideas were still flowing as they got dressed the room flourished with excitement and nerves, before we went on I gave them a pep talk and told them to remember how far they had come, within weeks they had transformed and trained themselves into singers. Which is indeed a huge achievement no matter what happened they were STARS… It takes a lot to get on a  stage and perform in front of an audience and they did it!

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Creative Minds Festival

creative Minds FestivalApril 2013 Creative Beginnings were one of twenty practitioners invited to facilitate workshops, for schools and community groups taking part in the festival. Our assignment was to deliver singing workshops and come up with unique song pieces for the three groups we worked with.

Update

Four months ago Creative Beginnings began to test trade with the business idea it had, running specialized Drama and Music workshops. Its September 2013 and they have already had two bookings amazing progress, that all started by being inspired and having a dream.

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