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Bringing Alive Song and Story

Kicking off TRACS’ autumn workshops programme will be two complementary workshops on bringing alive the practices of song and story. On the 1st of October, Penny Stone and Ellie Logan lead Bringing the Song Alive, while the following week Allison Galbraith, Andy Cannon and Donald Smith will host Bringing the Story Alive. Donald Smith, Director of TRACS, comments on the upcoming opportunities:

The Bringing Alive workshops offer hands on skills, opening up songs and stories as inclusive and participative performances. It’s a great opportunity for frontliners in the arts, community work and education as things get going for the autumn.

Bringing the Song Alive will be a supportive and interactive workshop focused on how to communicate songs, tell the story or share the emotion in them. This workshop is open to all who enjoy a good sing, either as part of a choir or singing solo. It will also be an ideal space for song leaders to get ideas and practice techniques when working with groups.

Penny Stone is a songleader, community musician, songwriter, singer and activist. She runs various community singing groups in Edinburgh as well as using music with patients and staff at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital. She teaches music and song from all over the world as well as using songwriting to help enable people to find their own voices and voice their own experiences. Ellie Logan, community musician, song leader and singer is based in Edinburgh and currently runs SeaSang women’s singing group, as well as various other singing groups and ukulele classes, and also works for the Traditional Music Forum. Giving further information about what to expect on the day, Ellie says:

Most of all bring your enthusiasm and voice. But also a song that you can use to practice what we will be exploring around bringing the song alive.  Do not over think this! If you do not have a song you are used to singing solo what about thinking about a well known song such as a children’s song or hymn or a pop song which you can use to explore the techniques we will be looking at.  If you are stuck, and cannot think of one, we can help on the day and will have a range of resources available for you to look at. There is no need to be able to read music as any songs will be taught by ear but do wear comfortable clothes as we will be encouraging movement.

The full programme for the workshop is as follows:

Session 1 10.30-12.45 Tools and techniques

The morning session will be highly interactive.

A range of songs and exercises will be used to illustrate different techniques which will help participants bring the song alive e.g. rhythm, movement, drama, expression, light and shade. Pitch and tuning will also be touched on, and exploring what suits participants voices as well as their personalities.

This will help participants work on their own songs in the afternoon session.

LUNCH: 12.45-1.30

Session 2: 1.30-4.00

The afternoon will begin with some final exploration of the techniques that can be used in bringing a song alive, again using different songs and exercises to give inspiration.

Following on from this participants will work individually and in small groups or pairs on bringing their songs alive. They will be given time to work on this and prepare it for presentation to the whole group.  There is no pressure to perform to the rest of the group and if this worries any participants please do not be put off coming to the workshop.  Participants will also be provided with the opportunity for their performance to be recorded. This will only be shared with the individuals and will be something extra to take away from the day.

The following week’s Bringing the Story Alive workshop will be an equally rich opportunity for participants to expand their skills and confidence with stories in a welcoming and inclusive setting. The trio of hosts: Andy Cannon (formerly of Wee Stories Theatre and professional writer, performer and storyteller), Allison Galbraith (directory storyteller with a particular speciality for interactive stories and traditional tales, often with an environmental and nature focus) and Donald Smith (Director of TRACS and storyteller with many years of experience) each will bring different elements of their expertise.

The day will begin with an overview of live storytelling today from Donald, before Andy gives an introduction to expressing the story with some drama resources and approaches. Allison will then focus on opening the story up to involve listeners. After lunch there will be skills development sessions on working on specific stories as well as working in small groups, followed by presentations and discussions to close.

 Browse workshops programme here