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Questions & Answers

Many thanks for your enquiry about my early music demonstrations and workshops in schools. These notes are intended to fill in the main details and answer the questions which schools most frequently ask. Please read them carefully! If you have any other questions, by all means give me a ring on 07974 94 99 96.


What do you do?

Which age ranges do you work with?

How much will it cost?

Do you charge extra if you have to travel?

How do we pay you?

Who are the workshops for?

Will students taking part in the workshop play your early instruments?

Which instruments can students bring to the workshop?

We are a primary school. Can all of our children come to the demonstration?

How many students can you accommodate for demonstrations?

Example programme timings

Can we speak to a school you've been to?

Would you like us to introduce you at the start of your demonstration?

Would you mind if we invited parents to come and watch the demonstration?

What about the workbook?

Can you do lunchtime or evening concerts for parents and/or the public?

Early Music CD

Will you need a map and directions?

Will you need overnight accommodation?

Hall access and car parking

Would you like us to provide you with lunch?

 

Do you need any extra telephone numbers?

 

What do you do?

I bring my collection of early musical instruments into your school and:

- demonstrate each instrument via a short piece of music from the medieval and Tudor periods

- explain a little of the history of each instrument and its historical context.

- get everyone to join in a couple of songs from the period

- and......ask my young audiences lots of questions!

My demonstrations are informal, relaxed and jokey, and I move things along quickly to keep my audiences involved. And yes, I do dress in the costume of the period - see my photograph on the main contents page on this site.

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Which age ranges do you work with?

From infants right up to A Level Music students. My "main" demonstration, lasting 70 - 75 minutes, is pitched at the 8 - 13 middle years age groups, but is readily adapted for older students. I also provide an abridged 30 - 35 minute version for Reception-Year 2 pupils: they still see/hear most of the instruments, but I miss out most of the historical background and anecdotes.

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How much will it cost?

The basic demonstration for the middle/secondary years costs £325. Additional demonstrations (eg for pre-prep or infants) and workshops cost £75 per session extra.

So, for example:

Demonstration 1 (prep) £325
Demonstration 2 (pre-prep) £75
Workshop £75
TOTAL £475

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Do you charge extra if you have to travel?

No. My prices are the same no matter where your school is. However, if the one way journey is over 100 miles, I may well ask that either (a) your school offers me two sessions of work (eg two demonstrations or a demonstration and a workshop) or (b) a demonstration can be arranged for the same day at another nearby school.

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How do we pay you?

I will bring an invoice with me on the day. Please have a cheque ready for me, made out to James McCafferty. I'm afraid that if payment isn't received on the day, an additional 10% late payment charge is added to the invoice total.

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Who are the workshops for?

Each workshop session is for any group of up to 25 students aged 9 and above who have attended my demonstration. However, to ensure that you get maximum value for money, I recommend that those participating in my workshops should already be able to play a bit of music on their own instruments. A high standard is not required - the music we will be using is pretty easy. If more than 25 pupils want to take part, or if you want to keep age/course groups (eg GCSE and AL) separate, I'm happy to run two separate sessions.

One important point. Since the workshops usually follow the demonstration, we shall need to use the same hall/room for the later sessions. It is not feasible to try moving the instruments to a different room. If this causes major logistical problems, give me a call and I'm sure we can work something out.

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Will students taking part in the workshop play your early instruments?

Not the woodwind instruments, for perhaps obvious reasons, but I usually try to give one or two participants a chance to play percussion on the long drum or a simple drone on the rebec or psaltery. Pupils need, of course, to bring their own instruments with them.

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Which instruments can students bring along to the workshop to play?

Anything they like - woodwind, strings, brass or keyboards. I have copies of transposed music for some of the pieces for Bb instruments but not for Eb or viola.

Please make a diary note to remind students taking part in the workshop(s) to bring their instruments to school on the day (easily forgotten!).

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We are a primary school. Can all of our children come to the demonstration? 

Yes, but not the same demonstration. Infants understandably have a shorter attention span than the 8 - 13s at whom the main demonstration is aimed, and they will be "lost" during the historical background to the instruments. For primary schools I've found that the best format is a demonstration of 70-75 minutes for the older children with a separate 30 - 35 minute slot for the infants. Although this takes longer and costs an extra £55, schools find it offers better learning value for both age groups.

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How many students can you accommodate for demonstrations?

The only limit on numbers is how many students can fit comfortably into the hall or room we're using - but I don't mix the prep age range (KS2 juniors) with pre-prep (KS1 infants).

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Example programme timings

The following example of a "typical" day's early music activities should help you plan your programme:

8.00

Arrive two hours before the first session and set instruments out in hall to acclimatise

9.30

Access to hall to tune instruments

10.00 - 11.10

Demonstration for KS2 (Prep)

11.30 - 12.00

Demonstration for KS1 (Pre-Prep)

1.15 - 2.15

* Workshop 1 for group of up to 25 instrumentalists

2.30 - 3.30

* Workshop 2 for group of up to 25 instrumentalists

3.30 - 4.15

Time needed (about 45 minutes) to pack away instruments

* Note - during the afternoon, classes not attending the workshops can be starting on the first worksheets in the workbook: an early music wordsearch and crossword! Obviously not all early music days need to be as busy as this example!

Can we speak to a school you've been to?

Of course you can. Give me a ring and I'll pass on contact names at schools I've visited recently.

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Would you like us to introduce you at the start of your demonstration?

You're welcome to do so if that's the way your school prefers to do things, but personally I prefer to start straight in once the students are all assembled (I play a recorder as they come into the hall). By all means say a few words at the end. And please introduce me as "James": that's how I prefer students to address me - I'm a visitor rather than a teacher.

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Would you mind if we invited parents to come and watch the demonstration?

I'd be delighted if you invited parents either to the demonstration or workshops or both.

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What about the workbook?

Each school I visit gets a copy of my Early Music in Schools Workbook as part of the package. The workbook contains Notes for Teachers, with teaching tips and contact numbers, and 17 photocopiable worksheets aimed at the 8 - 13 and secondary age ranges. If schools want further copies of the workbook, these can be supplied at £20.00 each. The workbook is only available as part of my visit and is not sold separately.

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Can you do lunchtime or evening concerts for parents and/or the public? 

Yes. I can provide an informal concert of early music in two 45 minute halves, with an interval, for £350 plus travelling expenses. Alternatively, why not invite parents to come along to my demonstration at your school?

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Early Music CD 

For those students who like the sound of the instruments I bring with me and would like to hear more, there is an opportunity to buy a copy of my album Early Music, recorded with Milady Clare's Musicke, for just £10.00 (usually £12.95). Information leaflets about the CD are distributed at the end of my demonstration. There is, of course, a practical reason why students might want to buy a copy of the album - each CD comes complete with background notes which will help them tackle the assignments in the workbook! If pupils wish to order a CD, they need to complete the order slip at the bottom of the leaflet and return it to school with their payment, (cheques made payable to the school). The school then sends me a composite order on the order form which I will bring along with me on the day.

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Will you need a map and directions?

Yes, please. A map showing road numbers and/or street names together with a separate set of directions means I'm more likely to reach you! If your school is quite large, a site plan showing entrances and hall access would be a great help too.

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Will you need overnight accommodation?

If your school is some distance away and I need to be with you for an early start (I need to be on site two hours before the start of the first session to let the instruments acclimatise), it would be an enormous help if you could arrange overnight accommodation for me, either at the school or at a B&B nearby for me.

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Hall access and car parking

Because I carry a lot of heavy instrument cases with me, I need to be able to park my car as close as possible to the hall/room we're using for the demonstration. If the usual entrance is some distance from the hall, I'll need vehicle access to a side entrance or emergency exit door from which to unload/load the car. Could you please mark this alternative route on the site plan of the school for me? Please also let me know if there are any flights of stairs to be negotiated. If there are - bearing in mind the amount of equipment I carry with me - we may need to think about an alternative room or space for the demonstration and workshops.

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Would you like us to provide you with lunch?

Thank you for the kind offer, but I usually bring my own light snack lunch, if you don't mind - it means I can snatch a few minutes in the staff room away from the hurly-burly!

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Do you need any extra telephone numbers?

It's a great help if I can have the mobile telephone number of the member of staff arranging my visit, just in case - as happened earlier this year - I go down with a dose of the 'flu at the last minute.

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Text copyright © James McCafferty 2000 Photographic images copyright © John Credland and James McCafferty 2000