West Lancashire Community High School
16th/17th July 2013
With David Ashworth leading the music workshops sessions, I worked with four students (Mark, Reece, Josh and Luke) to devise, produce and rehearse the multimedia elements of the performance – with invaluable technical support from Mark Hildred.
The students with whom we worked had all volunteered (or been chosen) to be involved in the technical aspects of the performance. Their teacher, Joanne Fairclough, said that they would be particularly interested in the lighting technology. She felt the multimedia elements of the workshop days would prove to be a great way to involve the four boys when they wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to take part in a purely musical activity.
It was clear from the first minutes of the session on day one that the four students were fascinated by the potential of the multi-media controllers on offer. Whilst we were setting up, Mark Hildred used an Xbox controller to pan a moving head light around the space. One of the students, Mark, immediately noticed this and made the connection between the gaming controller in Mark Hildred’s hand and the beam of light moving across the classroom. He asked for a go and, as is so often the case, quickly got the hang of how to use the twin joysticks to control the tilt and pan actions of the lamp.
Over the course of the two days, all four students worked really hard. They contributed creative ideas, learnt how to turn those ideas into reality and worked together as a group to rehearse for the end-of-project performance. Despite long hours and very, very hot conditions, they remained engaged and committed to the project. I was particularly pleased to see that they were able to not only operate the equipment but get involved in the design and programming of the Apollo Ensemble “Maps” – aided, no doubt, by the highly visual nature of the software. In fact, on occasions, when things did not work as planned, the group were able to troubleshoot by checking through the connections and programme settings – quite a high level skill.
The group was obviously delighted to be part of the final performance and the lighting and projections certainly added a valuable dimension to the show – one which, judging by the audience reaction, was much appreciated.