All About Ben Hughes
Ben Hughes’ visit capitalises on the universal appeal of song and singing. It sets out to inspire and spur the children on to discover the fun of crafting their own songs lyrically and musically. From the earliest aural experience of a mother’s crooning to her child, song is perhaps both the first and most accessible of the arts that children encounter in their lives.
Whether it’s folk, pop, scat, rap, soccer choruses or the chants of children in the playground, song enjoys a dearly loved, cherished and prominent position in world culture.
Moreover, as a contemporary art form it has few rivals for popularity and commercial success across the broad spectrum of the media, from television and the X Factor, to iTunes and YouTube.
Introduction: The Journey
Ben Hughes is a highly regarded songwriter who works with E.M.I. and has performed live with Sir Paul McCartney. He is a much sought after multi-instrumentalist composer and holds a first class honours degree from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Among his friends and working colleagues are Mel C of the Spice Girls, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, and celebrated American guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel.
As a popular touring and recording artist who loves to engage in educational work, Ben provides an exciting autobiographical musical journey for schools, with anecdotes and live performance, slides, video and audio, giving his audiences an insight into the life of a touring musician.
‘The thing I loved about your music the moment I heard it was how positive it was, I think you have a talent for letting others feel that energy with you on stage’ –Tommy Emmanuel
‘I was so impressed with Ben I invited him to showcase his talents for us here in LA’ – Sir Ken Robinson
Ben’s School Visits
He invites the children to join him in a range of song writing activities to inspire and develop their understanding of the ways in which lyrics relate to music. With a substantial array of studio experience to his credit as a producer and recording artist, Ben incorporates the creative use of technology in his school visits, introducing children to Garage Band and Logic to create sound effects, loops and simple recordings. He explains and demonstrates how technology can be a very useful creative aid to writing and composing.
English literature is a treasure trove of songs, ballads and lyrical poetry, from Wordsworth to Shakespeare who exquisitely crafted so many beautiful song lyrics, inserted them like jewels into his plays.
But where does an author start, when setting out to write a song or a lyrical poem? How do we get going? Where do we get our ideas from and how do we extend them?
The children are introduced to the concept of a scrapbook as a fun and creative means of storing words, cuttings, pictures and photos that can later inspire ideas for song lyrics. By way of illustration, Ben and Mike perform some of their own songs to show the children how they composed them: which ideas came first and how they recorded and wrote them down.
The creative functions of notebooks, diaries and journals are explored and demonstrated by showing real-life examples together with illustrations using a computer and the web. The notion of an audio scrapbook is also explained with live performance of musical examples played in conjunction with pre-recorded ideas on Garage Band. The aim is to inspire the children to start their own artistic scrapbook as a recreational aid to song writing. By means of performance and demonstrating examples, Ben and Mike accompany the children in the quest for lyrical ideas, titles for songs, clapping rhythms and simple sequences of melody.
The Scrapbook is a colourful vehicle for cross-curricular activity in creating, connecting and recording song writing ideas. It also has the potential to evolve into a writer’s journal.
By means of The Scrapbook, Mike and Ben show how musical and lyrical ideas are valuable at all stages of artistic gestation and they guide the children through the different stages of lyrical and musical creativity: inception and evolution; experimentation, drafting and development; completion and fine-tuning.
Ben is happy to tailor his event to your school’s needs in a friendly, entertaining and interactive programme covering three main themes:
• What is song writing? How do we start?
• What is scrapbooking and journaling? Why is it useful?
• What does it take to learn a musical instrument? How is it fun?
Aims and Objectives:
The purpose of the school visit is to interest the children in song writing and give them the experience of being lyrically and musically creative, so that they enjoy a memorable day and grow in musical confidence.
The primary aims are to entertain, inspire and engage all who take part.
The children will be guided through a variety of interactive exercises in groups, using rhythm and rhyme. They will sing and clap, writing their own lyrics to tunes they already know.
They will complete the lyrics to an original song that will be performed with them at the end of the day.
They will be encouraged to have fun, drafting lyrical ideas. These will be inspired by artwork, photos and music.
The children will be invited to keep up their work with song writing and scrapbooks after the school visit. Follow-on work and ideas will be shared and discussed.
How long are the sessions and what size are the groups?
The programme of work extends over the whole school day, flexing to fit the needs of the individual school and allowing time for registration and assemblies.
The workshops cater for an entire class and can be customised to specific curricular requirements of individual schools.
The First Session (The Journey)
This is an audio and visual presentation that lasts approximately an hour, shortened or extended depending on the age range of the children.
It can be delivered as a whole school presentation or for an individual class.
Although aimed primarily at key stage two and appealing to all abilities, ‘An introduction to song writing’ is very flexibly planned and where required, can be adapted to the needs of key stage one as well as foundation.
After the first presentation there are usually three sessions for the rest of the day. Where the programme is intended for one class of children the itinerary can provide for three separate workshops.
Some schools require a rolling programme, where classes rotate throughout the remaining sessions to involve more children.
Access to a photocopier would be useful. Availability of white boards or flip charts would be much appreciated. Children need writing and colouring materials, clipboards or mini whiteboards. A projector and screen would also be helpful for larger groups of children.
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Ben Hughes, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on Ben Hughes is available from his website:http://www.benhughesmusic.com