Music means a lot to me

This week I’ve been working on a music project along with three other musicians. We’re working with the 5th class girls of Scoil Angela, Thurles, County Tipperary every morning and visiting other schools in the afternoons.

On these projects I help the kids write songs and raps after getting some ideas from the group as to what they’d like to write about. The school are going for their first green flag and so we decided to write a rap about litter. This fits nicely with the work I do in primary schools with Sustainable Energy Ireland so I happily spent the afternoon sitting in the sun writing the first verse of the rap:

I don’t like seeing litter on the ground; it makes me sad, it makes me frown. You know how one thing can spoil your day? Well – guess what?! – my day just turned to grey right before my eyes. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise but I’m a dreamer so it gets to me every time . . . So I rhyme and I sing and I hope it gets through ’cause the mess that you make is for you and me, too, and I don’t want to see our world go down the tubes but if you don’t help me and I don’t help you there’ll be no beautiful world for our kids to come to.

A lot of rap songs use samples of existing songs as a hook so, following in this glorious tradition, I used Coldplay’s ‘Don’t panic’ chorus:

We live in a beautiful world – yeah we do, yeah we do. We live in a beautiful world…

The next day the girls wrote a second verse:

If we all work together we can make our school better. Let’s make a start – we can all play our part. What about the chewing gum? It sticks to our feet, it makes the place ugly and mucks up the street. We have a compost bin you know – it is there! – it’s not invisible; please use it, be fair. Be cool – throw your trash in the bin at school. Come on, let’s do it, the environment rules! If you bring rubbish to school put it in your bag: that’s how Scoil Angela will get a green flag.

I love the crushing 10-year-old sarcasm of the compost bin line πŸ™‚

Yesterday we wrote a song together based on things that they like. I’d written the words of the chorus that first, sunny afternoon, inspired by one of the girls’ comments about how music was all around, even in the lawnmower outside. She’s probably never even heard of John Cage, who I blogged about only last week. Here are the lyrics of our song:

Camogie, tennis, basketball
Soccer, wrestling, we love them all.
It’s fun, it’s fit, why can’t you see
Sport is a way we can be free.
Drama, cooking, dancing, art
We love to play a different part.
We use imagination,
Look ’round for inspiration.

Pass the ball, pass the beat
Come on let’s dance, let’s move our feet. (x4)

Music means a lot to me
It’s not just songs and melodies
If you listen up you’ll see
There’s music in everything (x2)

Music is more than just a sound
You can play it soft, you can play it loud;
You can play it fast you can play it slow
Whatever goes with your flow.
There’s R’n’B, jazz, blues and pop,
There’s rock and roll and hip and hop.
So many kinds to choose from
So get your dancing shoes on.

Pass the ball etc.

Music means a lot to me etc.

We perform these, and the other instrumental pieces we’ve been working on, for the girls’ parents and the rest of the school tomorrow πŸ™‚

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