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Park Road Studio Artist In Residence Blog – Microwave Jenny

April 14, 2015

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Hello Mighty Blog World!

I’ve never written a blog before so I’m not completely aware of ‘blog protocol’ so I’m just going to do what I think it is that everyone does. Surely it’s not too different from constant FB updates to which Microwave Jenny are more accustomed too. hehe.

So here we go…

Over the past couple of weeks (through the groovy team over at Carriageworks) we have been spending some quality time with the year 7,9 and 10 students over at Alexandria Park Rd Community School doing what we love doing most …..MUSIC! Not just giving plain ol’ singing lessons either we are going to work through everything from song writing and performance to what it’s like to record a film clip and even experience what it’s like to put down a track in a professional studio!!

We spent the first couple of days just getting to know who it was we were going to be working with and what it was they were most interested in learning from us. Being shy students at first meant they were a little unsure about what it is they would like to start with so with the help of Leanne their fantastic music teacher (they are very lucky) we thought the best way to start out the year was to go through some different song writing techniques which we think will be a great way to get to know each other so that the students get a feel for what it is we can offer. Plus most of them haven’t even met each other let alone us so this will be a fun little team building party. We currently are working with 4 students from year 7 and 5 students in year 9. As well as working with the students taking Music as an elective.

Year 7’s

Our year 7 kids are so enthusiastic and we love it! To start our group song we brainstormed on an A3 piece of paper some ‘potential track name/Song Titles’ with the guidelines of “NO IDEA IS SILLY” which they thought was quite funny but once they started the track titles just kept coming! We settled with the title ‘Sad Machine’ we all agreed that it was an interesting title and had room for lots of different interpretations. We then grabbed another A3 piece of paper but this time we each wrote what we thought this song could be about and discussed things like “is the machine a boy or girl or neither?” “why is it sad?” “what type of machine is it?” “Does it eventually find happiness?”. Once you have all these questions swirling around in your mind is a lot easier to start writing down ideas. I made up a handout with all their excellent ideas on it from the workshops with some blank space so they could jot down any ideas that come to them through the week which will give us plenty of lyrics to work with once we get into putting some verses and a chorus together.

Year 10’s

We went through the same process as we did with the year 7’s but this time with our awesome group of year 10 girls! They like singing One Direction hehe as do we. Our year 10 girls came up with the track title “9:15 (Broken Cars & Broken Hearts)”. We continued to brainstorm on our next A3 paper on what on earth this song could be about? We all came up with some great ideas and we even went one step further than the year 7 group and actually started to put a verse down with some great sentences the girls had put together! Again I made a handout with all their great ideas so they could take it home and keep working on it. We will start working on a melody next.

BAND PROGRAM

The elective music class are a mix of ages all whom have chosen to do music as an extra subject. At the moment the class is broken up into several groups each of which are choosing a song of their choice to practice for a possible school performance later on in the year. Brendon has been teaching a lot of guitar chords to students still in the beginning stages of learning the guitar. I’ve been doing some vocal warm up techniques with some of the younger girls so they can get a little more power in their voices.

Year 7’s

WE HAVE A FIRST VERSE DOWN!! We even have a little folk sounding melody to go along with it and at the end of class they even performed to everyone before everyone broke lunch. Pretty cool. We had them all write down the lyrics and chords so they could practice at home.

Year 9’s

We have come up with a Taylor Swift-pop sounding melody for the year 10 girls’ song! We recorded it onto all their devices so they could take it home and practice and even try to figure out some harmonies.

There a handful of groups who are really starting to come together with their group song choices. I’m continuing to listen in on practice and helping out where I can and Brendon is still busy moving around from group to group teaching different guitar chords.

HARMONY DAY

We made a little video of the students in our song writing workshops and in the Year 9 class all working together to achieve different goals! If there is one thing that brings people together it is music!