Southmead Music Club Diary

Southmead Music Club takes place on 3rd/4th Saturday of every month, 3 pm – 4 pm at Southmead Library and is free to attend.

To celebrate the success of Southmead Music Club, here is a diary from the last year. The group is fully licensed to play music thanks to a grant from Team Southmead, and it is going from strength to strength with the audience growing each month and more and more performers wanting to get in on the act.

25th MAY 2018 – ‘Introduction to the Fife’

A very happy hour was spent with nine children and three adults. I showed them how to hold the fifes, then how to blow across them. I demonstrated how they could use their diaphragms to push more air thorough. Children tried out different rhythms and improvisation on the shakers.

25th AUGUST 2018 – ‘Music Halls, Musicals and Theatrical Performances!

I presented a talk:  attended by six people, who joined in with discussions about their experiences. I passed round photos from books, programmes and sheet music. I finished by reading an extract from:  ‘Little Women’ about the girls in the family putting on their own productions.  I was pleased with the bringing together of community members and the relaxed atmosphere in the library.

29th SEPTEMBER 2018 – ‘Music Theory is Fun!’

I was joined by three people. We discussed what Music Theory actually was, found all the notes of the musical alphabet (A-G) on the keyboard and discovered which notes were high in pitch and which were low. Our session moved from pitch to rhythm, clapping rhythms inspired by our names, and learning about a ‘Note Pyramid’.  We ended with a Word Search, which featured Italian musical terms.  The participants were eager to complete this another time.

27th OCTOBER 2018 – ‘How do you become a Musician?’

We looked at opportunities for children to learn instruments and I handed out a few programmes.  We talked about the number of different instruments, the role of the conductor and adult learners.  We discussed the care musicians have to take of their hearing, how they increase their breath control and deal with nerves.  Finally, I read an article by an adult learner about the pros and cons of learning an instrument in later life.   We all agreed that whatever standard you reach as a child/adult learner, sharing music with others was one of the greatest benefits of being a musician.

17th NOVEMBER 2018 – ‘Music Theory is Fun!’ part 2

We used the keyboard to play musical spellings such as ‘café’ and ‘cabbage’, pitching them where we wanted to.  This was followed by clapping different rhythms.  We enjoyed dividing up: ‘Hot Cross Buns’, so that we each clapped a different part of the tune, swapping parts and learning about different rhythms. Finally, we tackled the Word Search.   I explained the meanings of the Italian musical terms which had to be found and the participants joined in enthusiastically.

15th DECEMBER 2018 – Christmas Special

The three regular attendees of the last few months were joined by a mother and son and two ladies – one in a Christmas dress and the other in an elf outfit! We talked about Christmas music, linking it with the music theory we learnt at previous sessions, and clapping different rhythms.  We played shakers and bells kindly lent by the St John’s Ambulance Band.  They made us think of Christmas themes such as church bells and Santa’s sleigh.  We had fun choosing Christmas carols, and songs, and singing these with our own accompaniment!   The ladies from the: ‘Knit & Natter’ group joined in the singing, too.  At times, we were conducted by the boy who attended.  He seemed to particularly enjoy directing us to stop!  The final activity was led by one of the ladies – we got up from our chairs and did the: ‘Hockey Cokey’!  Dancing and singing altogether was a great way to finish Southmead Music Club for 2018.

26th JANUARY 2019 – ‘World Music’

We had a mixture of children and adults, about ten in total I played the flute, with accompanying CD.  The audience joined in with fifes and percussion during an American Blues piece and an Irish folk tune.  The percussion was popular for the sambas.  The Russian dance was fast, so many chose to clap along to this.  We played a game to introduce the three-time of the French waltz – we tapped three beats on our heads, followed by our shoulders, knees and finished by clapping.  Towards the end of the session, a lady from the: ‘Knit and Natter’ group had come across to join in.  The librarians kindly told me that when the audience left the library, they said that they had enjoyed the session, so I am really pleased.

16th FEBRUARY 2019 – Bristol Free School’s Folk Band performance

Mr Pate, the Head of Music at Bristol Free School, said: “I know that the students really loved performing at the library … it’s lovely to perform in an unfamiliar venue as well – I thought it sounded great in there …!”

23rd MARCH 2019 – The Little Black Box Choir performance

There was an aura of excitement in the library as the 14 choir members arrived in their specially designed t-shirts, with a keyboard and guitar.  We were a small audience of four, but this did not detract from the performance that was given, and the ‘Knit and Natter’ group enjoyed the music while they knitted.  The Choir Director led us all, choir and audience, in warm-up exercises. The songs we heard were mainly from musicals and films.  The Director led rounds for which members of the choir joined the audience.  We used the percussion kit (bought with the grant from Team Southmead) for the very first time!  The choir agreed that the tambourines and maracas added a good beat.  What was really special about this performance was that the joy on the choir’s faces was reflected in those of the audience.  I am delighted that the choir would like to return next year.

Coming soon:

Polly Morphic – Music Hall Entertainer – Saturday 27th April, 3pm-4pm

The Replicants – Music Duo – Saturday 25th May, 3pm-4pm

Many to thanks to Team Southmead, Lucy Austin (Library Supervisor) and the library staff for supporting this project.

Article by Fiona (library volunteer) and edited by Paul Walker (Library Development Officer).