A north-east music school is using fun and creative music videos to engage with its students
Owner of the The Rhythm Box, Keith Bell, 31, has been creating inventive musical clips with the help of music therapist, Emmeline Mccracken.
The school which is based in Kemnay and Banchory, offers drumming and musical tuition, and also works with students who have additional support needs at Aberdeen schools.
Due to lockdown, the pair set out to offer something new for its students who were missing out on their classes, and devised a virtual viewing of their “Trash Band”.
Now available to anyone, viewers have the chance to join in on Keith and Emmeline’s Adventures as they follow mysterious clues left by “The Composer”.
Keith said: “We do a whole bunch of stuff including some drumming tuition and music and one of the things we do in particular with the music therapist who works there, is “Trash Band.”
“However not being at school we can’t deliver that and the music therapist and I have delivered an online showing, which follows our adventures and every week we get a message from ‘The Composer’ who sends us somewhere.”
The Trash Band use a number of household items to create unique melodies, and invite kids to get involved throughout.
Sweetie tins, plastic bottles, pots and pans, spoons and more are used throughout the sessions, and children can sing along with Emmeline and Keith.
Keith said: “The whole idea is you play it on trash, you play it on junk.
“It’s designed to be easy to join in with at different levels.
In previous weeks, the duo uploaded clips based on classical concerts and parties which sees Keith and Emmeline go to a “Trash and Tiaras Ball” from the comfort of their own homes.
And this week, the latest clip will see the pair go on a virtual holiday.
He said: “It’s all about being on the plane and there’s a song that’s inspired by that.”
Each clip features signing for children who have additional support needs. However, the pair don’t use British Sign Language and instead opt for something different, in the form of Makaton.
He said: “It also heavily features a lot of Makaton which is a sign language specifically designed for additional support education and additional support kids, so it was made famous by Mr Tumble on TV.
“All our episodes feature Makaton and has a sign of the week at the start of each episode.”
The videos have proven to be a big hit online, and Keith says around 70% of his students are still receiving their regular music tuition online.
And he hopes to keep their trash band videos going once things return to normal.
He said: “British Sign Language would not necessarily go along with music, so that idea of combining Makaton and music is I think quite unique, and it’s certainly going down very well with parents and staff in the school.”
Due to social distancing guidelines, Keith and Emmeline are creating the videos while apart- but the pair have gotten the hang of producing a new clip on a weekly basis.
He said: “We’re having to do it completely separately so there’s a lot of editing video together and of us having a conversation we haven’t actually had”, he laughed.
Every seven days, Keith and Emmeline write a new script, create a brand new piece of music and film and edit a 10 minute video for their audience.
A total of six episodes have been aired, and Keith is keen for more people to get involved in his adventures with Emmeline, and tune in to Trash Band.
He said: “We’re quite enjoying the process of making them and it’s something we’re intending to keep once we go back.
“At the schools we work in there will be kids who can’t come back because of whatever medical conditions or vulnerabilities they have, even if the schools are set to be open in August they might not be in it.
“So for us, although it would be nice to be able to teach in person and play music together, there’s plenty of things we can do over the long run.
“It’s all up on Youtube and our website as well. It’s there to be used.”
Music therapist Emmeline McCracken, said: “The trash band videos have been great fun to make.
“What we hope to achieve by producing these episodes is accessibility for everyone at home to make music, have fun and still be creative.
“This means that the episodes are wholly inclusive of people with additional support needs and those who may not have instruments at home.
“We want to promote that anyone can make music and out of anything and that it can be done in this fun and creative way taking the viewers on a Trash Band Adventure with us.
“We have had some really brilliant feedback from parents and carers saying it is the highlight of their week, they haven’t laughed so much in ages and they can’t wait to find out what happens on our journey next.”