We are Cally: Laura

Bang bang drum

Cally kids and families are at the heart of We are Cally and four out of the 12 successful applications for the We Are Cally Residents Grants are supporting projects for children and families.

Through support from voluntary groups like Little Angel Theatre, The Pilion Trust, St Andrew’s Church and the Copenhagen St Primary School, groups of local residents, many with kids themselves, have planned and are delivering some great things in our community with their grants:

  • Bang Bang Drum are delivering a children’s pre-school drumming classes with environmental angle
  • Friends of Copenhagen School are having a fun day with children and families from the school
  • St Andrews are organising a stay and play for children
  • Ringcross Toddlers Group are organising Wednesday morning Zumbini sessions and a Christmas Party

We talked to Laura of Bang Bang Drum about their project

Our classes will be the first steps into structured rhythm making and also serve as an introduction to music theory, rhythm, timbre, pitch, tempo, dynamics and graphic scores. Our classes will allow children to play with percussive instruments that they might not have had the chance to previously handle, for example, large hand drums, gongs and cymbals.

Another key element of the workshops will be the DIY making of drums, beaters and shakers from recycled materials. These objects are simple to create and something that the kids can take home with them. We will give them and their parents the tools and knowledge to create their own instruments. Everything used will be safe for young children to handle and the majority of the materials will be sourced sustainably.

What’s your project about?

As parents and carers of young children, who regularly take our little ones to music groups, we noticed that there are no classes in Islington that cater specifically to the development of drum practice, percussion and rhythm making. The music groups that do exist are largely based in Angel and can be very expensive.

We strongly believe that musicality should be encouraged from an early age and be accessible to everyone. Our aim is to bring free music classes to the Cally area so that parents and children from all backgrounds are able to attend.

During our sessions, we’ll show them that no special kit is required – anything can be a drum! Upcycling and sustainability are a big part of what we do. For example, with a bit of paper, glue and dried rice you can turn an old coffee tin into a funky little shaker. We’ll show your little ones how to make ordinary household objects into musical instruments: an upturned plastic bucket – creatively decorated – makes an excellent drum, while steel saucepan lids are great cymbals.

There will also be a fun and engaging interactive story time in each session where rhythmic patterns will be taken from language and poetry. We will start the class with simple stretches to warm up and have some quiet time at the end of the session with soothing gong sounds.

My creative background in fashion and textiles will be useful in helping transform household objects into cool and functional instruments that both look and sound great. Ilia’s fine art background has steered the lessons away from traditional academic structures, turning the journey into sound making it more playful. Janine’s original animations will provide a visual backdrop to the sessions and her experience in yoga and gong practice will show the kids the importance of movement.

What’s difference do you want to make?

Music tuition tends to start around the age of five, but pre-schoolers are already musicians. We want to encourage their creativity and teach them through play. We’ll show them that listening is an integral part of music and that the spaces between the notes are just as important as the notes themselves.

We won’t be restrictive in our teaching. If a child decides to lead with a beat or a song, we’ll follow them or use their idea in the workshop. We want the children to experience what it’s like playing together, while also providing them with a space to play, make noise and experiment in.

We want to give parents the confidence that their children don’t need expensive music lessons. Part of our sessions include craft activities (and snacks!), which will also serve as an opportunity for parents to meet each other, swap stories and exchange parenting tips.

We also want to highlight that music can improve mental and physical growth and expressing yourself through music can have an influence over other areas of learning.   

What do you think of the Cally?

We have all lived and/or worked in the Cally for many years. Like many areas of London, it is economically and culturally diverse, but there is a great sense of community here. The area has seen significant improvement over the last decade and this is shown by the ongoing success of the Cally Festival, charitable enterprises such as Art Box London, Play KX and the Copenhagen Youth Project.

Our aim is that Bang Bang Drum School will contribute to the cultural development of the area, while providing music-based activities for local residents. Our first sessions will be taking place at Crumbles Castle and we’re excited to play our little part in Islington’s adventure playground legacy.

Bang Bang Drum School was only realised because of the support from the We Are Cally Residents Grant and the Little Angel Theatre. We’re really looking forward to starting our journey and can’t wait to see where it takes us.

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