Welcome to BeatSwap!

The BeatSwap project is an exciting inter-school music project designed by Andy Fowler of RhythmZone and Claire Hurst (Deputy Head) of Oxford Road Community School. Follow us throughout the year to see children from four Reading schools develop and perform their own piece of world percussion music.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Exciting times ahead! - BeatSwap 2012/13

We've planned the next BeatSwap project and have space for four schools to participate. Two have already said yes!

Here's the promo pack. Click the images for full size/downloadable.

Lovely pics from BeatSwap 2011/12 on our promo poster :

Details about the project, to understand what it's all about :

Schools select date option A, B, C, or D to fit in with their diaries :

Enquire about taking part!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

We Did It!

A massive WELL DONE to everyone involved. The performance was great! We had children from all four schools performing the interlocking parts that they had developed over the past year. Here's a couple of pictures from our practice session - I've already seen some of the pictures from the final performance and they're AMAZING! I'll post some up soon.

Djembes, Djun Djuns, Frame Drums, Drum Kit and Dancing! Well done guys!

Our tunnel of applause! It was great working together, we came up with some really cool ideas!

In the groove! More pics coming soon. I'll send a CD to each of the schools with the best ones. Hopefully we'll get to do some porformances in Reading over the summer!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Performance time is fast approaching!

Before Christmas, we completed the first part of the project. Everyone learned to write down new rhythms and exchanged them with children in partner schools.

Over the Christmas holidays I took everyone's ideas, mixed them up with the great rhythms and compositions that had been created, and developed performance pieces to teach schools A+B (Churchend and Oxford Road) and C+D (Micklands and Newtown).

We've just finished learning our performance at Churchend and Oxford Road (it's very exciting! - WELL DONE everyone and thanks for all your input!), and after a nice walking holiday in Dorset for half term, I'm back to Micklands and Newtown. Get ready to work hard and learn your performance piece for our final show in mid-April.

The venue has been confirmed - Reading College - on Kings Road. They have offered us an amazing building with black walls, floor and ceiling for us to show off our drumming skills in. I have a few ideas for some audience participation, so chat to your friends and family and let them know something exciting is coming up soon...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rhythm Exchange!

We've just finished the first two 6 week blocks of BeatSwap project sessions. Phew! All of the children from Oxford Road Community School and Churchend Academy have worked really hard and achieved LOADS! Partner groups have now exchanged their rhythms!

Wiktor Kepa of ORCS made up his own rhythms using beatlab, wrote them down and brought them in to share with his group. His rhythms were excellent! Well done Wiktor!

Here are some of the workbooks completed so far. These are filled with taught and self-created rhythms and composition ideas. It's great to see all of these fresh and exciting ideas in one place.

Tomorrow I will be visiting Newtown Primary. Miklands Primary start their sessions next week. 

Children from partnered schools discuss their performance ideas at the end of the first block of sessions. I will be working over Christmas to put all of these ideas together into a performance structure which we will learn and enhance over the second six week block. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Andy's top videos!

Here's my two favourite YouTube videos right now! They both show how lots of people working together can make something really special.

The first shows some Egyptian and Turkish drumming (after a short introduction). It takes a little while to build up but the rhythms are really cool and well worth watching / listening to.

The second one is an INSPIRATIONAL group of deaf and dumb dancers. This is amazing!

Think about your performance.... What ideas do you have that will make it more interesting for the audience? Write down your ideas so you don't forget them!

Make your own rhythms here!

You will need to come up with a few of your own rhythms for the project. Why not make them now using the beatlab website!

Click the beatlab logo to see the site or read on for some helpful hints and tips:

Write your rhythms down and try coming up with a topic and words for them. It will help you get ahead - you can always change them when we get together in the BeatSwap club.

Hints and tips:

Click on the boxes to turn sounds on and off. Try starting with beats on the four pulses (darker grey) and then add more beats from there.

The top three rows represent the bass drum, high hat and snare in a drum kit. You can pretend these sounds are Bass, Tone and Slap for the Djembe. 

Here's some other music making resources you might like:

Tonematrix uses the same 16 beat pattern as us. Click some boxes and see what happens! You might come up with some cool rhythm ideas from playing around here.

Pulsate is a little bit more unusual. Click in the big black box a few times and see what happens!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A visit to Gold Coast Drums

So, we're approaching the end of the Summer holidays and I got the great news that BeatSwap had received some funding from Reading Borough Council to buy musical instruments!

I drove out today to collect some djembes and djun djuns for the project from Gold Coast Drums. Andy was helpful as usual. I can wholeheartedly recommend buying from him. Great products, prices and service. Check out how many drums he has! The drums stacked up in this picture were 3 or 4 layers deep up to the shelves on the wall. Thanks Andy! - and for carrying them all down to my van. You're a hero!

After watching Andy work up a sweat I headed off to BINA Musicals in Southall to buy mridangas. You can read about that experience at my mridanga site here.