Around the world, music can be heard. Indoors or out, we have a natural affinity for sound and rhythm. Yet, the amount of outdoor music that happens in our schools is small, if not non-existent beyond the pre-school age.
However, these past couple of years I’m seeing a growing interest and a number of different big instruments appear in school grounds. I was particularly interested and delighted about what has happened at Echt School in Aberdeenshire. Head Teacher, Ruth MacDonald explains…
“My brother, Stephen, is a self taught wood carver, living in Ross-shire. He has been working recently with a garden designer who was approached by a Nursery school in Highland to design the Nursery garden. They wanted a music corner and Will asked Stephen if he could come up with something.
I said he had to make some instruments for Echt next!
The chimes are made from copper piping and the glock is made from aluminium pipe. The drums – quite loud!! – are drainage pipes. They appear to have withstood the recent snow and frost. Stephen will take orders from people on the understanding that they might have to wait a week or two as he works alone! He seemed to make our instruments very quickly after I asked him.
The most recent glock he has made comprises of 2 pentatonic scales. He can tune the aluminium pipes however people want them. I have 2 octaves going from low to high. He also provided us with 12 rubber ended beaters. Each instrument has little wooden hooks to hang the beaters from but we take our inside at the end of lunchtime each day.
The children absolutely love them and so do the staff!”
I think this shows the potential of everyday items to become objects of beauty, versatility and desire. If you want to find out more about Stephen’s work, contact me for his details.