The concentration and delight on the faces of the year 2 to year 6 children, and the sound of their confident, musical playing bore evidence of the success of the Ocarina Programme in Central Bedfordshire Hub.
Last October, thanks to SMA, class teachers from 12 schools were introduced to the Ocarina and trained to lead their own class music lessons effectively. Each school was provided with an Ocarina World Record Legacy Class Set of Ocarinas with accompanying teaching resources and the teachers enthusiastically set about teaching their classes to play the Ocarina using Play your Ocarina – Book 1 ‘Starting off’.
Inspiring Music, the Music Hub in Central Bedfordshire, chose to stage the final celebratory Ocarina Festival as a ‘twilight’ after-school session. Parents brought their children and were a ready-made and responsive audience.
As the children arrived and settled they watched the 8-minute Ocarina Festival video which showcases Ocarinas and vessel-flutes of different shapes and sizes being played by children and professionals in concert halls and TV performances around the world, and even by African bushmen communicating with the birds.
David Liggins then gave a brief and compelling ‘Science of Sound’ demonstration with gourds, pan-pipes, tuning fork, tubular flutes and multiple Ocarinas, including a visual and audial display of the acoustic properties of stopped pipes – and, of course, the largest and smallest Ocarinas in the world!
Just a handful of the children had not previously played the Ocarina and some of the parents also joined in, acknowledging they were playing a musical instrument for the first time. Starting a note at a time, listening to each other to blend together and make a good sound, then gradually building up to playing a full octave of notes reading from Oc-pix™ led to the first euphoria moment, and this after just a few minutes of playing.
Each of the twelve tunes that the children played together were introduced in a different way:
Everyone played ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ reading from Oc-pix™ then we sang ‘Come and play your Oc®’ (to the tune of ‘Kumbaya’) and mimed the finger positions before playing the full tune together; ‘Old MacDonald’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ introduced the importance of separating notes with crisp tonguing and another two-tune medley ‘Little Bird and ‘Au Clair de la Lune’ were introduced through clapping rhythms from the staff notation and following Oc-box™ to locate the notes; The next two Songs, from 1-2-3 Ocarina and new to everyone, focused on playing the notes straight from the staff notation, having named them and internalised them; That’s eight substantial tunes played so far – and four more to play from the Ocarina CD-Rom Software as a celebration of the instantly accessible music and musicianship possible when playing the Ocarina: Daisy, Skye Boat Song, Twinkle and Jingle Bells – and all in 75 minutes.
Even the adults were delighted at their personal achievement and musical progression:
“Thank you so much for coming to Central Beds yesterday afternoon and delivering your workshop session to the schools that attended. The progression from the start to the finish was amazing – my own included! It was lovely to see how the children had been getting on with their ocarinas – it was a very mixed bag but they all gained so much from the experience! Both of you have such enthusiasm which is so contagious and it was lovely hearing the children ‘tooting-off’ after their very memorable performance!”
The children, all flushed with success, had gained so much.
On a personal note, David and Christa Liggins would like to thank SMA, the committee and in particular Carole and Douglas for believing in us, in our Ocarinas and teaching methods – THANK YOU for creating the opportunity to gain the Guinness World Records title for the Largest Ocarina Ensemble – THANK YOU for inviting us to deliver Ocarina CPD and Festivals in Southampton, Newcastle, and Central Bedfordshire as a legacy to the World Record success – and most of all, THANK YOU for enabling 1000’s of children to have their first experience playing a musical instrument successfully and with great enjoyment. Three cheers for the Schools Music Association. And three cheers for all who have given so much through SMA over so many years!
Ocarinas are ideal instruments for curriculum music. If you are interested in hosting your own Ocarina CPD, Beginners’ Workshop or Ocarina Festival, please contact Christa Liggins to discuss possibilities.
email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 01536 485 963 www.ocarina.co.uk