“Voices and Choices has been working with a small group of 5 participants from Grasmere Class at North Lakes School, all of whom have complex learning difficulties. This group visits us at BlueJam every week and we spend a lot of time improvising together, freely creating music on a whole multitude of instruments including the Gamalan, accordion, bass guitar, keyboards, drum kit, trombones – and even with found instruments such as sticks and leaves. We can barely keep the group off of the instruments – and we love it that they are so enthusiastic and keen to experiment.
For the last few weeks we have been working with a poet too who is layering our words over our music, with everything we are doing themed around trees. We talked about trees both literally and then delving into more imaginative aspects – what happens when the trees are asleep? what would you like to grow on a tree? What can a tree do? From these conversations Jessica, who is the poet working with us, formulated our answers into a spoken word piece. We spent one session creating tree houses with an artist who drew a tuna tree, dreamed up by one of the participants in the poetry session. We are currently working on performing this altogether with an eccentric musical backing full of improvisation, using instruments as well as iPads (Thumb Jam) so that everyone can contribute in their own way. Together we are also aiming to create the feel of the forest in the room not only by music but by transforming the space with lights, sights and smells. We hope this will make the music we create even more magical (and help the focus in the room).”