St Christopher

             

 

The Schools Programme is an annual event which brings together professional composers and musicians with children from Little Missenden Infant School, Hyde Heath Infant School and Great Missenden Combined School to compose original songs which are then performed in concert. Each class writes the words and music for their own song, based on a central theme - often a well-known story or picture - decided with their teachers and linking to their topic work at school.

Most recently the theme was a painting - Tiger in a Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau. Buckinghamshire Music Education Hub provided several musicians for the project allowing the children to experience a wide variety of musical instruments. The whole programme was led by John Webb; composer, animateur, educator and writer, who is very experienced in working with children, and an expert in using workshop techniques to stimulate creativity.

Information about the Rousseau painting can be found here and more photographs from the concert here 

The next programme will be funded by Heart of Bucks Community Foundation, the Parent Teacher Associations of each school, and the Festival. We believe it to be of enormous benefit to the children as it encourages them to take an active role in the development of an idea that is solely their own. This is invaluable in building their self-confidence, especially among those who may not be conventionally academic.

Each school participates in four workshops plus the final performance which takes place at the Parish Church of Great Missenden, in front of an audience of around 100 parents and carers. Each school performs their own song plus a song which all the schools perform together.

The programme encourages an entirely creative approach to learning. There are no right or wrong ideas and the direction taken is achieved through consensus. The pupils are challenged to think about why a story or a picture might suggest a certain thing and how music can enhance emotions.

They decide on all of the words for the song and how it should feel, and thus have complete creative ownership of the project. They also have to learn it! Rehearsal and performance is crucial to the process and the children suggest physical actions and movements to go with their performance in order to bring it alive.

The schools we work with agree that this is an incredibly valuable project for their children. Many of the children involved have never experienced musical instruments such as the French horn, Flute or Cello. This programme gives them the opportunity to hear them played live, inspiring musicians of the future.

It also builds their confidence, their ability to work as a team and achieves a real sense of pride in what they can accomplish at such a young age. Performing in such a large space, to a large audience, boosts self-esteem and creates a considerable sense of achievement for the children. 

  

'The Little Missenden Festival plays a very important part in the life of the local community bringing  excellence, diversity and accessibility of musical experience. Of particular significance is the work with schools. I see it first-hand. The children are inspired by the music, learn how to work together, use different parts of their brain, and they work across school and age boundaries. There is plenty of evidence that enriched musical experience in childhood has a lasting effect on emotional, intellectual and artistic development throughout life. As a vicar I am delighted to be able to host and support this work as it embodies so many of the values that I hold dear.’

Reverend Canon Rosie Harper
Vicar of Great Missenden
 

For more information about the work of the PTAs click on the links below:

Little Missenden School PTA (PSALMS)

Great Missenden Church of England Combined School PTA

Hyde Heath Infant School PTA

 

The Schools Programme is supported by the School PTAs and Heart of Bucks Community Foundation

Click here for the Schools Concert Photo Gallery