Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teaching Our Family to Hit the High Notes in Half-Term Holiday; Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teaching Our Family to Hit the High Notes in Half-Term Holiday; Columnist

Article excerpt

Byline: Bernard Trafford

WHAT did you do over half-term?" It's the sort of question teachers will ask one another next week, back at work after this week's welcome break.

We teachers have something of a blind-spot in this regard. I'm not going to start justifying school holidays here. I can appreciate both how they look to other workers and how annoying it is for them when we teachers assume that everyone lives (and works) as we do ... and when we complain about the fact that we can never book cheap holidays.

Our grown-up daughters are visiting for half-term and there have been two major areas of activity around the kitchen table (apart from catering, that is).

First, they agreed, somewhat heroically, to help with a little project of mine that has become ever more time-consuming - I've written a stage musical.

At least, when I say I've written it, until a few months ago it existed in the form of a rough script and some 20 songs scribbled on scraps of music paper (how old-fashioned, a throw- back to the days of Mozart and Schubert).

Since a colleague suggested, nearly a year ago, that we stage the show in school this summer, more than a decade after I first started playing with the idea, I've been busily knocking it into shape, one revision following another. And that's just the words (it's a traditional-style musical with dialogue between the songs).

Musical scores are nowadays created on a computer. The industrystandard software, Sibelius, functions on a laptop and (almost) at the click of a mouse creates all the separate parts for the band from the score.

That score still has to be created first, note by note. It remains a laborious process, although the software makes amendments and edits effortless - and even plays the music back so you can hear what you've written.

The task we've been engaged in is recording the songs. In the old days when I was a music teacher, long before the digital age, we taught kids the tunes around the piano. …

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