It has been months since I went to Gayton School, but I did not want to let that lovely afternoon fade in time without mention. I used to teach music at schools, so going back to one to talk about the saxophone and perform for children was quite enjoyable.
I had talks with primary, junior and nursery. Primary and junior were big groups of about one-hundred students or more. I had the silver alto sax on display at the entrance, so I could hear the “wows” of the kids upon arrival. We had a Q&A with the tenor sax at hand. I showed them how to set the sax and allowed them to see it up close. Then, I performed some songs for them. It was comical to see the most sensitive ones cover their ears, as the sax was too loud for them.
We also talked a bit about Black history. I told them about the HMT Empire Windrush and how it took hundreds of Caribbean people to the United Kingdom in 1948. I told them about Jamaican culture and the different genres of music that they brought, playing some examples along the way. We talked about Bob Marley and Mary Seacole, among other prominent figures.
With the kids of the Nusery, who were about ten of fifteen only, the session was a bit simpler. I mostly played several nursery rhymes, encouraging them to clap and sing along.
Playing for children differs greatly from playing for adults, I think. While adults have a background of experience and knowledge that makes them focus on technique, style and genre; children are more interested in the novelty of the sound and the wonder of the instrument itself. Activities designed for children are briefer in order to keep their attention too, which can be a challenge, but it offers opportunities for innovation as well.
It was a fun day for the kids and me. I don’t go much to schools anymore, but I am glad I could get the children at Gayton School an experience with live music, which I hope wakens an interest for the arts in the long run.