A network for anyone with an interest in
adult education and mental health

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Improvisation, live performance and freedom

I was privileged to witness 2 amazing pieces of live performance last night at a celebration evening of Complementary and Supplementary schools at County Hall, Hertford. The Hertfordshire Music Service is currently running 'Songwriter 2012', a project  to support young people's emotional learning, which has been match-funded by the BME achievement team who coordinate the C and S schools, and who invited us to contribute some live music as part of the evening.

Ije Amaechi, one of our young Songwriter Ambassadors, performed 3 of the songs she'd written on the project this year, having previously not written songs, played guitar or sung in public. She absolutely captivated the audience of teachers and HCC officers and executives, especially with her stand out song 'Fear', which was almost an anthem for the project.

We also had a performance from Robert Taylor, our main Rap workshop leader, who has led a lot of work with BME risk of exclusion/vulnerable pupils in mainstream schools and in EBD schools. Robert invited the audience to challenge him to improvise a rap based on words they suggested. He got some fairly challenging contributions, including 'Complementary and Supplementary Schools' and 'Gujarati', but somehow managed to weave them all together into a freestyle that celebrated how music performance could support engagement and confidence in learning for BME pupils.

Robert commented to the audience he found freestyle a lot easier than working up lyrics on his own, and it struck me that in some way he was being freed up by the spontaneity of the composition, the immediate feedback and playful interaction with them. It demonstrated brilliantly both how and why he is so effective at engaging young people at risk of disengagement or underachievement in curriculum learning.

We're processing the audio/video and hope to post it soon.