East Anglian Traditional Music Trust
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|What are the musical traditions of East Anglia?||Profiles of traditional musicians||Jig Dolls||Dulcimers||Stepdancing|
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Schools projects, workshops and classes
We offer a range of educational opportunities, some of which we organise independently, and others which are run in association or partnership with other groups or individuals.
We work in primary schools across the region, sometimes on one-off visits, and sometimes on longer projects, often as part of a wider community project.
We offer some ready-made programmes which include song and dance. The most popular programmes include broom-dancing and jig dolls. We can also offer a closer look at some regional traditional instruments, and in some cases, we can offer children a chance to try out instruments for themselves. We also offer some seasonal programmes which involve a historical aspect: Victorian Harvest, Victorian Christmas, or sessions which look at some aspect of Victorian life through local folksongs, such as transport, farming, the roles of men and women, and the story of the east coast fishing industry in songs, dances and drama. This programme is currently suspended for the 2016-17 season.
Over the last few years we have worked with hundreds of children on extended projects in the Stour Valley on the Suffolk / Essex borders (seven schools in 2011-2013 - see photo above), King's Lynn (see photo below) and Diss in Norfolk and Cottenham, Willingham and Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire (Songs from the Fen Edge) as well as many one-off events.
Through our projects, children in many schools have learned traditional songs and dances from their locality: for example, over 200 children in King's Lynn learned local fishing songs during the summer of 2006. Following an initiative by the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust, Suffolk Folk donated twenty mini-melodeons to a Suffolk primary school. We also have our own stock of mini-melodeons which we can offer to schools on a shorter term basis, or as a one-off experience. An exciting partnership with the regional dance development agency, DanceEast, which involved a series of workshops on stepdancing for another Suffolk school, resulted in the production of a DVD for schools use and distributed nationally, 'Soil Dances'.
We occasionally work in high schools on extended projects and in 2013/4 were privileged to be asked to be part of a national project, "The Full English" run by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. In the eastern region, as in each other region, there were two schools involved: one primary and one high school. Katie Howson from the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust worked as musician on the high school project, alongside leader and dancer Kerry Fletcher, trainee musician Paul Scourfield and Cambridgeshire dance development coordinator Amy Holly with Y 12 & 13 (sixth-form) performing arts students. We were tasked with teaching traditional dance and fusing it with contemporary moves, to tell the story of a ballad collected locally, Lucy Wan. The school wanted a challenging theme to work on and this ballad is about murder and incest. We taught them molly, step and broom dancing, using tunes from the region. The molly dance was used to represent the community, with contemporary moves expressing the breaking of social mores through incest and finally murder, from the song lyrics. The students were absolutely amazing, totally committed and very talented. The project culminated in a performance alongside fifteen other schools at Birmingham Town Hall in June 2014, where the photographs below were taken, by EFDSS photographer Roswitha Chesher. The project was based on the digitisation of major archive collections, which may be viewed on the EFDSS website. Their website also contains resource packs for schools to use, including this one, "Love me or kill me".
Special events and customised projects
Please ring 01449 771090 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire about booking a school visit or to discuss a customised project: perhaps for your arts week or to mark a special celebration. For example, a few years ago we put together a special event for Risby Primary School in Suffolk called Spring Traditions, which incorporated songs, dancing and crafts in a fantastic celebration of local traditional culture, so give us a call if you're interested in hosting something really special!
This programme is currently suspended for the 2016-17 season.
Spring into May!
All at Sea
Dancing Dolls, Limberjacks and Jollyboys!
A Sweet Country Life
The Old Grey Mare and the Iron Horse
Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire
Squeezeboxes and Stringy Things
Further details on the schools page.
Maypole for hire
We also have a maypole for hire for school projects, PTA events, fetes etc.
Please email us at email@example.com for the current hire rates and booking information.
Please note we do not provide a demonstration team of dancers,
but do provide some basic instructions in booklet form,
and can sometimes provide a tutor.
Song workshops for children and adults
Melodeon & concertina workshops
We run song workshops on a project basis.
The following is an example of a project which involved both children and adults.
In 2009, we worked on a project looking at songs collected in Cambridgeshire, in partnership with the Cambridge Music Festival and Fen Edge Community Association, called Songs from the Fen Edge.
Longtime EATMT collaborator Chris Coe, together with Mary Humphreys, who has unparalleled knowledge of songs from the county, ran a series of song workshops with local schools and also evening workshops for adults. Chris and Mary provided inspiring leadership and an encouraging atmosphere, and brought to life some of the fascinating songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Fred Hamer and Ella Bull from singers such as Charlotte Dann, Hoppy Flack and Ginger Clayton in the early 20th century. The workshops led to a sellout evening performance in Cottenham Village College, near Cambridge.
These photographs show just a fraction of what went on at the final concert of this project. What you can’t see is the sixty children who performed, or the further hundred or more children who had taken part in the workshops through October and November. What you can’t hear is the glee in the voices of the seven year-olds singing The Row of Pins or the passion of the twelve year-olds singing about the threat of the dykes giving way and communities being flooded, or the emotion in the voices of the adults as they sang The Hungry Army - a song as full of meaning today as when Charlotte Dann sang it a hundred years ago. The remit of the project was to look at the theme of evolution through local folksongs, which gave our two inspirational workshop leaders plenty of scope to investigate the local repertoire and to dream up ways of letting these songs be moulded in the hands of a new community of singers. Chris Coe and Mary Humphreys achieved this balance brilliantly, and a packed audience for the final concert were able to see the results alongside other aspects of the local musical traditions: dulcimer playing and stepdancing. The Cottenham Local History Society also contributed by showing a slide show of old photographs. The project was produced in partnership with the Fen Edge Community Association, the Cambridge Music Festival and Start Arts, with funding from Awards for All and South Cambridgeshire council.
Photos above courtesy of Start-Arts. From left to right: the adult singing group led by Chris Coe, steppers Percy & Doreen West with Old Hat Concert Party, Anahata and Mary Humphreys.
Below: other song workshops, in Harleston and King's Lynn.
Melodeon and Concertina workshops
In March, we hold a day of classes for melodeon and concertina players - held annually since 2000. Further details on the Melodeons and More page. See section below on Melodeon Tuition for details of our evening classes for melodeon players.
Concertina Saturday School
After a lengthy planning period, we were really pleased to be able to provide a series of Saturday afternoon tutorials in 2008/9 on the anglo-concertina, led by Roger Digby. Roger, who lives in Essex, is currently Reviews Editor for the International Concertina Association and was a founder member of the influential English band Flowers and Frolics.
Roger gave the group of 11 students an intense and structured grounding in playing the instrument, supported by booklets and even a phone and email helpline! One participant commented: “An invaluable set of sessions, extremely well taught. With the focus that the sessions have given me, I feel that I am starting to make some progress!” Several of the group have been using instruments hired from EATMT. The classes and hire scheme were made possible thanks to donations from members of EATMT and also due to support from the “Friends of Towersey Festival” fund.
There are no such classes currently running, but if you’re interested in finding out more, please get in touch by email or ringing us on 01449 771090.There are however, classes for concertina players (Anglo and English systems) during the annual Melodeons and More day event in March each year. Click here for details.
At present we don't run regular fiddle workshops, but there is a chance to meet and play with some of the best of the UK's English style fiddlers at Traditional Music Day every year. Click here to visit the Traditional Music Day page.
In the past we have held classes in English fiddle style for beginners and competent players - in 2002 as part of the Tuning In project, in Long Melford, Suffolk, in 2004 as part of the Musical Roots launch in Eye, Suffolk, and in 2005 in Shipdham, Norfolk, as part of the Playback project.
For more than fifteen years, we have provided evening classes for adults to learn to play the melodeon, and as a result, there are well over a hundred people playing, for their own entertainment, and very often for community events.
We run both beginners and improvers classes on the same night in the same venue so we can work together a bit more, share our music, and even socialise a bit!
The beginners class is suitable for inexperienced players, either with your own instrument, or using one of our hire instruments. In the Autumn Term each year, the first class will start from basics. The Spring and Summer Term classes are suitable for those who can play a few common tunes but need to develop confidence and fluency. The Summer Term is not suitable for anyone starting from scratch. The improvers class is for those with some experience but who would like more support and ideas for developing their playing. In 2013/14 we extended our evening class programme to three levels in order to provide for the numbers of people wishing to attend!
Our evening classes for melodeon players start again in Spring 2017. They run fortnightly for four sessions on a Tuesday night (7.30-9pm) in Stowmarket. We're once again providing classes at two levels in order to accommodate all the enthusiastic learners around at the moment! Improvers are taught by Katie Howson and Beginners by Ron Ross. Classes cost £50 per term (4 classes, at fortnightly intervals) and are taught using a D/G melodeon.
Email us if you would like to know more.
What are the musical traditions of East Anglia?
Traditional Music Day Melodeons & More Workshops, classes & schools Community Projects
Traditional musicians Jig Dolls Dulcimers Stepdancing Vaughan Williams in the East
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