Schools and youth workers in remote communities do amazing work in very difficult conditions, but many communities simply don’t have the resources, the spaces or the skills to teach or facilitate music. That’s where we come in!
- We teach basic sight-reading, song-writing and music theory classes.
- We often assist in mixing healthy lifestyle messages into the song writing. Partners have included Diabetes WA, Allied Health and Smarter than Smoking.
- We help existing artists to develop their workshop presentation skills.
- We produce recordings/demos of songs created in workshops / classes.
All our workshops are optional, non-intrusive and flexible. People can watch, join in, leave, or come and go as they please. There is no duress, pass or fail mark, or pressure. As a result, we can boast very high attendances.
Our aim during the workshops is to develop a song, which participants can then perform at the concerts. It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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
Music Sight-Reading Workshop
Desert Feet’s Music Reading Workshops are inspirational, captivating and educational. The object of the class is to have the school performing 8 bars of music 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. We are often amazed at how fast the kids 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.
Band Equipment and Performance Workshops
Band equipment consists of a full drum kit, electric guitar and amplifier, electric bass and amplifier, keyboard, a PA system and all the necessary items for a band to play.
Many, if not most kids in remote communities don’t get the chance to have a go on a drum kit, guitar, keyboard or microphone…yet just having a go can spark a lifetime of fulfillment and maybe even stardom!
In these workshops, we let everyone have a go at all of the gear, supervised and helped by our facilitators. Over the course of 30 minutes or so, kids find the instrument that suits them the best, and we then focus on helping them learn more in-depth skills.
We aim to build a band that then plays the song we wrote in the songwriting workshop described above!
If we have time and the kids are keen, we’ll go and film a video to go with the song produced in the workshops. Here is one we did on an early tour with Hiphop artist BryteMC and the kids wanted to film a clip to go with the song, which has a health message to it.
If you would like to find out more about the workshops we can deliver in remote WA, please contact us.