Continuing with our ‘Space Journey’ theme, this term, our young people have been creating the most amazing Pop songs and designing their very own CD covers and disc design solutions.
Creating a pop song
The pop song process, led by singer/songwriter Karen Barrow, began by discussing and brainstorming the theme ‘space’. They began by researching other examples of music and songs involving this idea for inspiration, listening and interacting to different approach styles. During each session the young people would brainstorm ideas for their lyrics which they gradually refined until they were complete.
Musically, the young people were first encouraged to explore different sounds, melodies and rhythms that they could create with different body parts from their voices to their feet. They made basic percussion instruments using plastic bottles, pasta, used drink cans and bottles referencing the stage show ‘Stomp’, to encourage the young people to create music even when they don’t have access to instruments.
Once they had created their drum and percussion patterns, each week the young people were introduced to different instruments, their roles in popular music, and encouraged to explore different sounds and rhythms. In order to do this, each week the young people played along to their developing song created in Logic which required them to record to a set tempo. These instruments included electric guitars, electric bass guitars, different sampled instruments in Logic, piano and percussion instruments.
They were encouraged to work as a ‘band’ and made decisions as a group about their song’s lyrical content and were also encouraged to work as individuals creating riffs and vocal adlibs. They were shown how sound is recorded, how it can be manipulated and the basic structure of most pop songs. Each week the young people were shown how their song was developing and encouraged to give feedback on their work until their song was completed. The songs created are fantastic and the quality of their work really speaks for itself!
Creating a CD cover design
The design process, led by artist Jo Howe, began by exploring the use of light, referencing the outer space aesthetic. The young people generated amazing visuals using light painting and worked in a nightclub space, making full use of light generation in a totally blacked out environment.
Gesture, colour and movement were encouraged, and utilising a wide range of light sources, a vast amount of atmospheric and space like visuals were created.
The young people worked individually and in groups exploring the possibilities of what light painting had to offer, and how we could tell the story of ‘space’ through this medium.
The young people had full control on how they wanted to achieve this, and they made all their own choices in terms of colour, light source, ways of moving and even how long the shutter on the camera should remain open to capture the image.
Their final task, to make design decisions. Each group became the Creative Directors of the project. They decided on the band name and song title, the images to be used in the design, how they were to be arranged in a CD cover format as well as the colour, style, scale and placement of the text.
The outcomes are, I believe, an absolute triumph, and most importantly, the young people had complete ownership of the process from start to finish.
And finally, here are the amazing light paintings all the young people produced… beautifully atmospheric!