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News from Lemos&Crane

London Symphony Orchestra's work with special schools

The London Symphony Orchestra has over the past few months been working with five special schools across London to put together a multi-media piece of their own composition, based on El Sombrero de Tres Picos (The Three Cornered Hat) by Spanish composer Manuel de Falla - a story based on five simple characters.

Over the course of the past few months each of the five participating schools were allocated one of the characters in the piece, and had sessions with LSO musicians in which they improvised and developed pieces based on the melody associated which each characters. The schools each also had two sessions with a film maker, in which they used props and green screens to create footage based on their particular characters.

The individual pieces of music and footage were brought together in one session in March 2015. All five schools arrived at LSO St. Luke’s where they each recorded their own short pieces as well as developing three new pieces (the points at which the characters interact) all together. This was also the first chance for the children to see their completed short films. Once the final recordings – of both music and film – have been put together, each school will receive a copy of the culmination of the project – their own take on the story of The Three Cornered Hat.

The final day of the project was an opportunity for the 48 participating children to spend a full day in the beautiful surroundings of LSO St Luke’s, playing with high quality instruments and with members of the London Symphony Orchestra. Each school got the chance to perform their own piece as well as to improvise alongside the other groups to come up with something new and collaborative. Many of the children also got the opportunity to conduct individual LSO musicians while they improvised. Each of the children who conducted a segment established collaborative and creative relationships with the musicians, and expressed the mood of the segment they were to conduct.

Throughout the final day the atmosphere at St Luke’s was calm and focussed, and the children prepared to record the pieces they had been working on at school. The day was an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of developing a piece, sharing it with others and seeing how it fits in to a larger story, as well as the excitement of performing in an impressive space, in front of an audience. The LSO’s work with special schools – as with their work with adults with learning disabilities – is musically challenging and ambitious, and the children rise to the challenge to produce and perform satisfying and multi-layered work.

Read more about LSO's work with adults with learning disabilities here

Read more at LiteracyActionNet

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