From the start it was obvious that the children were now so familiar with the space, the performers and the characters, that they were much more willing to submerge themselves in the experience, to be present and participate with little hesitation. Children that had arrived distressed calmed down and remained engaged for the duration (1 hour all up). Even the presence of parents and VIPs that had come to watch did not distract them.
Second show was perhaps a little less fluid for the performers with a couple of technical hiccups, but the students were equally as engaged. The majority of the children had not been involved in the residency, thus unfamiliar with us and the space, and it took noticeably longer for them to settle. But once settled there was obvious curiosity and wonderment on many of their faces.
As the musician, I don’t get as much intimate contact with the children as the performers. As the children enter the space I consider my role to be creating a sound environment that feels safe and inviting. The soundscape of the forest is subtle but to those with sensitive hearing it is foreign and new. Occasionally children walk I with fingers in their ears, perhaps common behaviour when entering in to a new environment, but soon they remove their hands as they adjust to the sounds. There are sounds of nature, birds, water, rain and crickets. These are all recorded on the loop pedal, and the children themselves made the sounds on the recording. You can even hear Harrison giving his signiture humming sound on it! Very personalised! As everyone explores the environment I have been playing gentle guitar finger picking to create a gentle and soothing ambiance. I feel allowing them to gain a level of comfortability from the start allows us to later create more sound that they feel ok to be present to, such as drums and cymbals. The children respond well to the songs, many singing along and remaining involved from the process of familiarization throughout the residency.
I wish I had had more time to work individually with some students to get a deeper understanding of how they experience music.