We are very excited to announce that our school will be running it’s first arts festival in the Summer Term. The theme will be Africa.
What are the arts?
The arts include art and craft, music, dance, drama and literacy. Our aim is for all of our children to be involved in as many exciting cultural experiences as possible, so that they develop a greater understanding of the world around them.
The children can look forward to a selection of exciting arts activities including African drumming and songs, traditional African stories told by a professional story teller, African arts and crafts and traditional African dance.
This term our arts ambassadors have been busy learning all about the African artist Esther Mahlangu as well as African pattern and design. Come into the main reception and see our first mini art exhibition based on this work. The arts ambassadors have experienced screen-printing, batik, fashion design, jewellery making and paper sculpture all inspired by African art and culture.
What is an arts ambassador?
An arts ambassador’s role involves learning all about the arts and creating excitement around a theme or topic. Arts ambassadors help plan and design our cultural offering so that we plan lessons and activities that capture the imaginations of our young children.
Would you like to be a future arts ambassador?
We will be recruiting again in Sept 2022!
Scroll down to find out what the arts ambassadors have been doing this year...
PLANNING OUR FIRST ARTS FESTIVAL
The art ambassadors have been busy planning activities and events for the whole school to enjoy in term 6.
Activities include African art and craft projects, booking an African drumming performance and workshops and inviting a professional African story-teller to our school. We can't wait for everyone to be immersed in African art and culture this term.
Please click on the below link to find out more about our African Arts Festival.
SUMMER TERM: AFRICAN MUSIC AND DRUMMING
This term the arts ambassadors have been learning all about African music with Mrs. Ashworth.
We started the session today talking about African music and songs. We discussed what we already know about African musical instruments and songs.We listened to ‘Mwambe children’s choir’ and discussed what we could hear. “They use lots harmonies together", Sophia. “The children were singing solo’s and harmonies”, Izzy. "We noticed that the children sang using ‘Call & response", Harriet, “Some of the lyrics were sung in African and some were sung in English”, Sophia.
We then viewed a video of the African’s children choir singing ‘Yesu’. The choir was so full of energy and joy. The children danced whilst they sang and played the drums.
Next we did a singing warm up….
We sang ‘Siyahamba’, a call and response song – the children did so well clapping and marching to the beat. Then we learnt a new African song ‘Babathanza’ A popular Zulu song (another call response song). Mrs Betham could hear us singing our song from her classroom and said how fab we sounded!
“We looked at a really interesting African instrument called a ‘Sekere’ made from a gourd, which is a type of vegetable. It was covered in shells. It made a super noise”, Mary Lou.
“Mrs Ashworth knows lots about African music, she gave us djembe drum each to play”, Emma.
“We learnt how to make different noises on the djembe drum, slapping different parts”, Bella.
Finally we learnt how to do call and response with the drums! We learnt a few rhythms that we played together. The arts ambassadors had a great time! Thank you Mrs Ashworth.
We started this week’s session recapping on last week’s learning. What can you remember?
African music is made using traditional musical instruments and singing. They don’t use electrical equipment.
The music is joyful, there are exciting rhythms, there are lots of catchy melodies that repeat. The rhythms build up in layers. There is lots of ‘call and response’. So someone leads and others follow.
We sang Syahamba to warm up our voices along with the piano and then acapella. We then watched a video of some other African children sing Syahamba. We discussed what was similar and different. We noticed that the rhythm had changed.
We practised the call and response song Sin Je Je Je. Working on what we had learnt last week. We’re getting better! We tried it with the backing track.
Next we skipped to percussion!! We practised playing different sounds/tones on the drum. We played different timelines. We had to keep to the beat. We played a rhythm called Apple, apple , apple pie. Then another rhythm called Watermelon pie, watermelon apple. The rhythms on their own aren’t complicated but when we put them together they sounded really good and create layers. We then had a go composing own rhythm in pairs. This is what we came up with:
Nutella on toast (Harriet)
Juicy, juicy orange (Mary Lou)
Strawberries and cream (Oliver)
Today we started to session watching a Ugandan choir sing a song in Swahili. “Call and response is like copying and responding to a leader”, Harriet Y3. We warmed up our voices singing Babethanze with the piano and then the backing track.
"We learnt a new song today called ‘Kye Kye Kule’", Issy, Y6. “African children learn their songs through call and response”, Mary-Lou Y6. “We learnt actions to go with the song, they were a bit like the moves from the song ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’”, Bella Y4
After learning ‘Kye, Kye Kule’ we reminded ourselves how to play the djembe drums. Mrs Ashworth talked about different drumming terminology – call and response, unison drumming, polyrhythms and layered texture. “Layered texture is more than two rhythms playing at the same time”, Harriet Y3.
“We played the rhythms we composed and practiced last week. After practising our individual compositions, we layered the rhythms. It sounded brilliant but it was quite hard to keep in time”, Issy Y6.
“It helps to remember the phrases that go with the rhythms”, Mrs Ashworth. “Playing lots of rhythms together is called a polyrhythm”, Mrs Ashworth.
Lastly we learnt how to do improvisation. “Improvisation is where you make up rhythms free-style”, Mary-Lou B6.
The arts ambassadors have loved their introduction to African music so far....
SPRING TERM: AFRICAN DANCE
This term the arts ambassadors have been learning traditional and contemporary African dances with Mrs Simmons.
We started the session with a warm up to get our bodies ready!
"We have learnt some amazing African dances! Azonto is a dance from Ghana", Mary-Lou.
"Ikinimba Dance is a traditional African dance too", Izzy. "The dance is based on an African legend. Apparently the higher you can jump, the better the hunter you are. And it impresses the ladies!", Harriet.
The arts ambassadors then proceeded to jump as high as possible around the classroom!
"We learnt how to Sekem this week", Emma. "Sekem is slang for move".
After learning a few African moves the children had to think about how to combine them to make a new dance routine. We will be practising these moves again next week!
This week we learnt four different dances...
Muwagolo: this is a Ugandan dance involving spring/stamp/tuck jumps moves.
Eskista: An Ethiopian dance which involves a shoulder workout (dancing shoulders)... phew!
Aduma: A dance from the Masai tribe of Kenya, which involved stepping and shunting. "Men dance to show strength – they have to jump as high as they can with long legs", Bella. Bella and Oliver did incredibly high jumps!
Zaouli: A dance from the ivory coast. You would not believe how fast your feet have to move! "This felt like electricity in my legs"' Sophia.
"Finally, we learnt a dance move called 'Gwara gwara'. I need a sit down after all the dancing", Oliver.
AUTUMN/SPRING TERM: AFRICAN ART AND CRAFT
This term the arts ambassadors have been creating artwork inspired by African art and culture with Mrs. Clements
We started the term looking at the artist Esther Mahlangu. Our children created designs and patterns inspired by her work and went on to make little huts based on the Ndebele tradition of house painting. “I really love the bright colours and geometric patterns found in Ndebele art” Harriet, Y3.
Our arts ambassadors also used their African patterns to create these beautiful batik scarves.
"We looked at some authentic African fabrics before having a go at trying to create some of the patterns ourselves" Sophia, Y6.
“You draw your African design onto the cloth with wax then you use fabric dye to paint the cloth. The wax acts like a resist. Mrs Clements used an iron at home to melt the wax to reveal the design – they look great!” Oliver, Y6.
Look at this quick video of the batik scarves hanging in our main reception.
Here are some pictures of the arts ambassadors creating African jewellery. “We looked at some real African jewellery before having a go at making some ourselves with clay. We had to roll and shape the clay to make the right shapes. I made a lion’s head for my central piece!” Bella, Y4.
“We painted our beads with bright colours and patterns when the clay was dry. It was quite fiddly. I painted my African centre piece gold” Sophia, D6.
Look at these beautiful illustrations of ladies wearing traditional African headscarves. The paper used to make the headscarves was screen-printed. These photos show the art ambassadors using a silkscreen and a ‘squidgy’ to pull the ink through the screen to create a print. “We loved pulling the squidgy and revealing the print underneath!” Emma, Y3 and April, Y5
The arts ambassadors have also enjoyed learning about fashion design and paper sculpture. “We used our Ndebele patterns to create a paper dress. We had to cut shapes and learn how to pin them together. I liked thinking about how to create the shape of the skirt” Mary-Lou, Y6
“I enjoyed thinking about how to cut and manipulate paper to create my 3D paper necklace” Issy, Y6
Our arts ambassadors started their ambassadorial roles learning what the 'arts' are. They created posters to reflect their understanding. The children also worked collaboratively to design their own arts ambassador's logo and badge.