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The University of Southampton
The Music Focus Group

Live Music Workshop

News release

The third and final set of workshops in the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project ‘Compositions for Cochlear Implantees’ took place at the SoCo Music Project’s Creative Hub on Saturday 25th June. These workshops were focused on strategies and techniques for listening to live music and featured performances from an ensemble of staff and student musicians from the University of Southampton’s Music Department: Ben Oliver, piano; Rachael Alderman, voice and violin; Sarah Hodkinson, celtic harp, guitar and piccolo; Emma Sigournay, saxophone and flute; and Chris Wickham, drums.

The workshop began with a mini-concert in which the musicians performed a selection of music chosen specifically for cochlear implant users. Music by Steve Reich, The Beatles and Regina Spektor was included, as well as three new pieces by the project composer and workshop leader Ben Oliver: Sarah’s Piece for solo celtic harp, Ben’s Tune for ensemble, and Loopy Birds for piano and laptop (featuring recordings of a blackbird, cuckoo and robin!).

The second part of the workshops built on the practical activities in previous workshops. It involved the attendees revising and rehearsing Ben’s Animal Building Blocks piece, and then performing it with the musicians from the University. Each workshop concluded with a performance of the March and Swing sections of Animal Building Blocks with everyone at the workshop performing together. This was certainly enjoyed by many of the attendees and when asked what were the most useful or interesting aspects/activities of the workshop, replies included being able “to join in and feel part of the whole build up to a musical piece, not just the beat”, “participation - something not usually possible!” and “observing professional musicians”.

Attendees also indicated that they found it helpful to meet with other CI users and to share their experiences of listening to music with each other.

The workshops attracted media interest and Roger Finn from BBC News South Today came along to the workshop to film some of the activities and to interview people involved. The BBC report is being shown on each of their broadcasts today.

'Animal Building Blocks'

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