As part of my residency at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and working with children’s units around the South East for approaching a decade, I have developed a distinct, interactive concert programme for babies, toddlers and pre-school children.
The concerts are performed on a 29 string Celtic harp and include:
- Original harp arrangements of nursery rhymes, TV themes and Disney songs interspersed with classical interludes.
- A variety of interactive music games for toddlers.
- Guiding children to create their own songs on the harp.
Sure Start Harp concerts
‘Sure Start Harp’ will be a series of free interactive baby and toddler harp concerts performed at Sure Start centres around London, Surrey and Kent. An accompanying mini-album featuring original music from the session will also be available for parents/carers to download online after the concert.
The concerts and album will both be freely available, with no booking or purchase fees charged to either the Sure Start centres or the parent/carers.
The project is subject to funding and if confirmed will run from Autumn term 2017 for a year. The project aims are as follows:
- For professional harp concerts to be freely accessible to mothers/carers and their babies, toddlers and pre-school age children in convenient local community settings.
- To engage parents and families who would ordinarily not be able to experience such a live music concert due to cost.
- To promote creativity and well-being through music for young children and their parents, and also to replicate the positive impacts the concerts already achieve in health settings within local community settings.
Music examples and my experience
Below are two of my original arrangements of popular nursery rhymes.
I have worked with babies, toddlers and pre-school age children as part of my residency with the arts programme at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital on a variety of projects including:
- Weekly harp sessions in wards, outpatient and central areas of the hospital, performing to small groups and also on a one to one basis.
- Group music workshops with children in the hospital school.
- Monthly bedtime sessions, playing relaxing ward concerts in the evening to help ease children and parents into what can be a potentially daunting overnight stay in hospital.
- A collaborative composition recording project in 2016, where children from a variety of wards contributed to an original piece of harp music. Children were recorded at their bedsides doing a guided improvisation music game and the individual songs were mixed into a single piece. The youngest contributor was 18 months old.
- A recording commission in 2017 to arrange and record eight standalone nursery rhymes on the harp. Hospital Play Workers and school staff will now use these as music lesson resources.
- Recording for a ‘Lullaby Factory’ sound art installation in 2017.
My work with GOSH has also been documented in the video below: