The tour conducts workshops to a number of communities over the course of a tour. The nature of these events attracts an audience ranging in age from very young to mature adults but is mostly attended by students and young adults from the community ranging from 4 through to 22 years of age. The activities are described below.
As a result of our partnership with Abmusic, a teacher from the college presents our workshops, and participants are awarded with a personalised participation certificate endorsed by the CEO of Abmusic College.
Encourage Children To Perform Live
Each workshop begins with a live performance of one or two songs, aimed at overcoming any inhibitions. The performances involve children’s participation, usually in the form of percussion instruments and singing. We invite and encourage children to join the performances onstage, and the participants are rewarded for their courage with t-shirts, hats, and other products supplied by sponsors. The idea of this is to give children a chance to experience what it is like to stand in front of an audience. This develops self-esteem, helps overcome shame and can be a very empowering experience. At the conclusion of the workshops, each participant is awarded with a personalised participation certificate and a “show bag” containing books, CD’s, stickers, pamphlets and other merchandise supplied by sponsors.
There are several types of workshops we can conduct. They are conducted over a period of 2 or 3 days. Below are four of the main ones.
Hip Hop Workshops
Our Hip Hop artist Bryte MC (Brian Lloyd) conducts workshops covering beat production, beat-boxing, rapping and break-dancing skills. His interactive style has kids immersed and mesmerised from the start. Brian can involve the whole class in a real learning experience. He shows examples of freestyle rapping and beat boxing techniques that engage the kids by having them repeat and perform, both individually and as a group.
Brian also teaches about the hip-hop culture, including art, and has painted large murals, each one taking well over 4 hours to complete. In these sessions he teaches the art of graffiti, how to create the layers and effects of modern graf’ and how to do it for art and self-expression not vandalism or destruction.
Song Writing Workshop
Conducted as a group session, it is designed to show kids a structure for writing a song. It is a very simple process and is interactive and dramatic as children learn the elements of a song, its components, how to find melodies, and how to make words/verses meet the melody. In our workshop, children participate in the writing of the words by brainstorming words and phrases associated with a theme they have chosen, in this case we used information we had learnt during the Diabetes WA team’s workshops about healthy living. We organise their ideas into verses on a whiteboard so we can demonstrate the process. It is played through live until we are ready to record it with full group participation, and if any of the group can play an instrument, we encourage them to play it on the recording.
Kids are very enthusiastic when it comes to the singing, and love to hear themselves played back on the recording. The songs are composed in the space of forty-five (45) minutes. The outcome of this is that children see how simple music and song writing can be. A copy of the song created in the writing workshop is then mixed, mastered and given to each student
(Copies of the songs recorded at workshops have been attached, see “CD- Song Writing Workshops”).
Music Sight-Reading Workshop
Candice Dempsey’s Music Reading Workshops are inspirational, captivating and educational. The object of the class is to have the school performing 8 bars of music in time and as a group. Each participant chooses the instrument they want to work with, the class is then divided up into groups where the instructors help the kids with the arrangements and the instruments, and practice reading and playing the sheet music. Sound complicated? You would be amazed at how fast kids can learn these skills.
The final result is that the group perform the piece as an ensemble, in time, sight-reading their parts. Each participant learns the basics of music reading, like rests, bars, beats, counting, crotchets, notes etc. The overall experience teaches teamwork and basic music terminology. The workshop is the foundation to reading music, and an introduction to what is taught atAbmusicCollegeunder a Certificate of Music.
Band Equipment workshops
Band equipment consists of a full drum kit, electric guitar and amplifier, electric bass and amplifier, a PA system and all the necessary items for a band to play.
This is now supplied under our funding objectives and is left behind on each community in order to create a measurable outcome for the school by offering kids access to the equipment for attendance or academic achievement.
The band equipment is used to conduct all of the above workshops but most importantly give the participants access to the equipment they need to continue using, learning and performing the material delivered during the workshops.
In these workshops, kids are also introduced to a wide variety of musical instruments such as viola and ‘cello played by DFT touring performers, which are largely unknown to kids in communities.
Demonstrations of these instruments are watched keenly, and the opportunity to have a go on these instruments is eagerly taken up.
‘Open Mic’ Sessions
Musicians/bands on the communities are encouraged to participate in the concerts. It is especially rewarding and a great honour when musically inclined members of communities perform.
We have performances from local bands during our concerts. All concerts are recorded live and then mixed and mastered. Copies of the CD are produced for the each of the artists to keep and distribute amongst family and friends. Selected songs are uploaded to our Soundcloud page for distribution on the Internet.
Individuals wanting to record their own songs are given the opportunity by utilising our mobile studio set-up and the experience of our recording engineer, producer, sound technicians and multi talented musicians on the Tour. The result is a fully produced song. The artists receive a copy of the CD to hand out to friends and family.
After developing the song in the song-writing workshop, often the children will come onstage during the community concert and perform the song they have created.
The experience is very empowering for them and it provides a way for everyone in the family to be involved in the workshop presentation.
NEW!! HEALTHY LIFESTYLE MESSAGES
With guidance from tour partners DiabetesWA, we incorporated basic education about diabetes into the workshops, and kids wrote lyrics about how to avoid this disease. These messages were incorporated into the songs recorded with the kids, creating catchy music the kids will repeat, affirming these messages via musical deliverance. The catchy songs create retention of the information and the songs are recorded onto CDs and MP3s for them. These are greatly prized and sought after by the kids as they helped to create it and their voices have appeared on the recording, creating a sense of personal ownership and empowerment.
Readingof the educational children’s story ‘Simon Swan’ by Rod Willet and Chris Lewis provided a simple and effective way to communicate some of the effects and prevention of diabetes, one of the biggest health problems affecting indigenous communities.
Copies of these books (supplied byDiabetesWA) were used as prizes, along with football boots, promoting active lifestyles.
Large banners were on display for all Desert Feet Tour activities, promoting Healthway, the Diabetes WA Aboriginal Health program including hotline phone numbers and websites, ‘Smarter Than Smoking’ and the WA Music Industry’s no-smoking message.
Dancing forms an important part of the Desert Feet Tour workshops and concerts, and prizes are given out to kids who dance, encouraging confidence, fitness and an active lifestyle.