Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Musical Presentation for Primary School Children

'Lyre to Laptop'


A Musical Presentation for Primary School Children

Sabine, Kevin & Dick Glasgow with students at the History Park


Sabine and Dick Glasgow as 'Mandragora', have been providing Musical Presentations on the History of Musical Instruments in Ulster, for a number of years now.

Although primarily designed for Primary School Children, we have given this presentation to school audiences of all ages and to adult groups too, including Arts Groups & Historical Societies.

The presentation involves ourselves, dressed in authentic Medieval Costume, describing & demonstrating the development of folk instruments over the centuries in Ulster, using a wide variety of musical instruments.

The presentation is totally flexible and also looks at, to a greater or lesser degree depending on the clients requirements, how Ulster's neighbours, in particular in Scotland & the rest of Ireland, but also further afield in Britain and also Europe, influenced our musical cultural development here, with both music and instruments. This aspect can be of great benefit in the area of Cross-Community Relations

During the course of the inter-active presentation, a wide variety of instruments are played, to demonstrate development and structure.

For example, from a simple Pipe like the Shawm in the C9th, through the various stages of the development of the Bagpipe family, from the addition of Bag, and later Bellows, to the modern day Highland Pipes and Uilleann Pipes
Similar development of stringed instruments are shown, from: the simple Mouth Bow through Psaltery & Hammered  Dulcimer to Piano; the Lyre through Wire Strung Harp, to Gut Strung Clarsach; the Medieval (Memling) Fiddle through Renaissance Viol to the modern day Violin; and the simplest drum like the Bodhran through Long Drums to the Lambeg are shown, and the various instruments are played.

As well as the Instruments, many forms of the Traditional Music of Ulster are presented and compared, to demonstrate the rich diversity of form & style which exists within Ulster. To explore this subject, we look at and play examples, to demonstrate some of the common musical ground that lies between the typical Traditional Music of Scotland and Irish Traditional Music and how these have affected & influenced the music of traditional musicians here in Northern Ireland.

Dick during a School presentation. 


Our Musical Presentation in Schools

In Schools


We have a wide variety of  instruments and most of these are played during our presentations, to demonstrate the variety of instrumentation that has been present at one time or another, here, including some more modern instruments to emphasise just how recently many of these appeared on the scene, like the modern day Bodhrán, Banjo, Concertina & Mandolin.

Schools find this programme profitable, as they feel it not only assists the musical development within their school, but also, can be of great benefit in the area of cross-community relations.

Adult groups find it very interesting & entertaining.

In relation to the Music Curriculum pupils will learn in an interactive way of the development of music in Ulster, in particular the similarities and differences between Scottish Traditional Music & Irish Traditional Music, as part of their shared cultural heritage and how present day music can be influenced by these developments. 

Children will also have a rare opportunity to see, and hear, a wide variety of musical instruments, learn of their construction and development, and be involved in learning to play simple rhythms together, to various musical pieces, as well as often using their own musical and dancing skills to perform in front of others.

Our costumes are authentic replicas of costumes of the period and are worn by us at various historical re-enactment activities throughout the year. We regularly perform at a variety of activities & events with the prestigious 'Irish Arms', who are responsible for authentic re-enactment events at various historical locations throughout Ireland each year, including the National Museum of Ireland, Film & TV work.

For two summers we provided, in costume, the historical musical element to the fascinating tours at the historical musuem - 'Dublinia'.


We use a wide variety of Musical Instruments

The Musical Instruments we use

Giving our presentation to a group of schoolchildren.
This one was given in Waterford Treasures Museum.

Here is a closer view of us surrounded by our many and varied Musical Instruments
This presentation was part of their 'Medieval Fair Day'.

References from satisfied School Principals

A Few References

We have taken our presentation to numerous schools throughout Co. Antrim, and here are some quotes from letters of thanks, from some of the principals of those schools.
"In full historical costume, the visual impact was great and with their natural banter in the question and answer session, the children showed a high level of interest. ..This show led the children quite naturally through a synopsis of 'sound' in science for KS2." 
St. Colum's Primary School, Portstewart
"An exciting educational programme which not only promotes musical elements of the curriculum, but also English, Science, History and Geography." 
Ballysally Primary School, Coleraine
"It proved to be both fascinating and inspiring, and would certainly help to encourage any young person to take the next step towards learning to play a musical instrument." 
Portrush Primary School, Portrush
"All of the pupils ( and teachers!! ) thoroughly enjoyed your performance. It was a highly exhilarating programme of musical evolution which stimulated the children's sense of history and enquiry." 
Braid Primary School, Ballymena
"Dick and Sabine have worked at 'Dublinia' throughout this season ('04) from May to August. They have been very popular performers here with students, visitors and families alike. We have had particularly good feedback from teachers at both primary and secondary level - all agreed that Dick and Sabine's approach greatly enhanced their students level of engagement with the exhibition. Their style is both informative and entertaining and they have been a great addition to Dublinia." 
Suzanne Costello, Director, Dublinia


Kevin, Sabine and Dick Glasgow at Dublin Castle

Sabine and Dick Glasgow at Carrickfergus Castle