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Wriggle-room Writers Session Week Six ‘ Song-writing ’Megg Nicol

June 1, 2013

IMG_0207The was an air of celebration as Judy, Katherine, Ann, Marion, Lynda and myself entered the classrooms  at Burdett Coutts Year three classes headed by Sam and Sasha on Thursday  23rd of May.

It was time to review all the exciting sessions that had taken place over the previous five weeks and to see how the children had been inspired and to celebrate being a ‘Wriggle-room Writer’.

However, Lynda and I had a special mission. We had been tasked with writing a ‘celebratory song’ with each class. This was to be written, learned and performed in a 45 minute time slot.

We knew that a song –writing collaboration with twenty-seven children might prove a little tricky so since we were limited for time it was decided to move quickly to raise the energy level in the room so that ideas would flow spontaneously.

Lynda got the children on their feet to perform the ‘rage stomp’, that she had taught them on a previous visit, from her fabulous Sand Dancers’ books. I followed that up by teaching them a musical version of Spike Milligan’s Ning Nang Nong poem I had written for a show and very soon the energy level was ready for us to begin to write a song.

Since I am a songwriter, I am fairly used to collaborating with other songwriters. The usual way of proceeding is to have a few ideas that you put forward just to get the ball rolling. It is understood that the ideas can change second by second as new and better ideas form.

So with Lynda acting as scribe armed with a marker and white board and me perched on the side of a desk with a guitar we began by writing the chorus with the children.

This was easy….Wriggle Room., Wriggle Room writers….We are the Wriggle-room writers.

The tune really wrote itself …think ‘earworm’ with an annoying catchy tune. The whole class was singing it within minutes and it was time to write the verses.

By asking the children strategic questions and fielding their responses, the song somehow began to reveal itself.  I suspect this was because we were magically sprinkled with fairy dust, given Lynda’s connections.

The children were absolutely brilliant and extremely pleased with their song so we recorded it very roughly on an MP3 (hear below) and we played it back to them. First mission accomplished.

This was not the end however.  One little boy came up to me and said very seriously ‘This is ‘our’ song isn’t it, not anyone else’s song?’ I responded by saying of course it was their song.

It was a good question because Lynda and I  had originally thought perhaps once we had developed a structure for the ‘ Wriggle-room Writer’ song with the first class that we would use it with the second class and perhaps just write some extra verses.

That wasn’t to be. No we began again and the next class wrote another completely different song. This time think ‘power ballad’ full of angst, longing, and passion to be ..yes you guessed it.. ‘ A Wriggle-room Writer’ of course! The children were delightful, imaginative and friendly and it was wonderful day. Thanks kids!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2013 4:13 pm

    I did enjoy your account of the writing of the Wriggle-room Writers’ songs, Megg. congratulations to both you and Lynda. I hope you’ll let us know of any feedback from the school as to the after-effects of your visits.

    • Megg Nicol permalink
      June 22, 2013 7:18 pm

      It certainly was fun and the children really enjoyed themselves. Apparently some are now trying their hand at songwriting.

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