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Case Study Highworth June 2009

Weapons of Sound -Review of the process in 6 schools in Highworth

Why did we book them?

I saw Weapons of Sound at the Wiltshire Music Centre open day in 2008 and saw they had more to offer than just a drumming group.

What did they do for us?

Maya Ormes-Lynch and Nick Cox came with a wide array of junk/recycled materials turned into instruments.  They worked for half a day in each of six schools, tailoring what they did to the age of the young people, who ranged from year 2 infants to the secondary phase. In each session that they explained the recycling message and how they had turned ‘throw it’ into ‘play it.’ 


The group worked with the pupils identified by the schools towards a sharing/demonstration at the end of the day for families and the community.  It was part funded from the schools’ curriculum budget and part funded by Extended Services as the concert at the end of the day promoted community cohesion.  As the instruments were set up in the afternoon at one school, the morning school walked or transported the young people and their parents up to the after school event at the host school.  It gave the young people a wider audience to perform to than just their school’s parents. In some concerts community engagement was taken further as the audience came up and did some call and response work on the instruments led by Maya.  This was extremely well received!

No day was the same.  Maya and Nick tailored the rhythms and performances to each school (I know as I was lucky enough to attend each of the 3 concerts)

The 90 members of the community saw Weapons of Sound play over the three days and 329 young people got the chance to use the instruments.

What did the schools say about this?

‘Thanks again for organising such a wonderful event, everybody loved it.

All the children were entirely focussed throughout the whole workshop and the assembly. Maya and Nick got so much from the children in such a short space of time, it was incredible.
The children were exposed to plenty of elements of music; dynamics, tempo, rhythm.’


‘We enjoyed the Weapons of Sound concert very much; it was fascinating to see how junk material could produce such interesting sounds.  The workshop allowed all children to join in whatever their ability and they all worked well as a team with Maya to produce an impressive performance’


The scheme fitted perfectly with the school’s ethos as we have already achieved the Silver Eco-schools award. To see all the recycled gas pipes –the children were enthralled.’


The children loved it and it was great to get together with Northview for the performance at the end of the day and see what they had been doing’


It was a great stress buster for our year 6’s who had just finished SATs


 What did the young people say about this?

We loved hearing the theme tunes from Doctor Who and Mission Impossible; we loved making lots of noise.


It really inspired us when they’re playing them. It was good fun’


They were a real influence because they’re so eco-friendly. Instead of buying drum sticks they made them out of stuff they have already got’


I thought the noise was better than normal instruments. I think it was quite good as they didn’t just make us listen, we were allowed to have a go on the drums and the other stuff.’

How much did it cost?

We shared funding as a cluster of 6 schools and we are 132 miles from Plymouth so travel was a big component. It cost £1,735 for the 3 long days which is £5.30 for each child who was in a workshop (minimum of 1 hour) and less than £290 a school.

General comments

Maya and Nick were extremely well received by all the six schools.  Their enthusiasm, particularly after five hours of drumming with the young people and coordinating teaching them, in energising the sharing and demonstration was amazing.  They kept smiling throughout,

 What comes next for us? 

Booking the next year, maybe in collaboration with another cluster of schools to maximise the transport costs. 

See if there is a drumming style band locally which can run adult workshop in Highworth.  Maybe Maya could advise?

 Maybe Weapons of Sound are coming up this way again and we could signpost people to their performance?

Suggest people look at Youtube at the full Weapons of Sound performances to see what the schools, experienced.

As coordinator I was very happy with the way Weapons of Sound interfaced with me from the very moment of suggesting a booking through to the end of the concert process, which was over a year!  They were very accommodating, delivered everything in a timely and efficient way and they enabled us to have a programme of activities that met our schools and community’s needs.


Claire Smith – Extended Services coordinator for Highworth and Blunsdon cluster of schools

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