A few weeks ago I was at St Nicholas School to record the “sounds of the school”.  Now this might seem quite a strange thing to do. But factor in that St Nicholas in Chippenham is a specialist school for cognition and learning.

The whole project was started by a chance introduction on twitter which again has reaffirmed my faith that social media really can help you to do business.   I was introduced to the school by another customer of mine, Suzanne Askham with whom I have recorded some meditations.  The idea was fairly simple.  The school are looking at a number of ways of raising money for a new playground and were open to new and innovative ideas.   It was suggested that the school could make a CD which could be sold in order to help raise funds.StNicholas

Of course with St Nicholas being a specialist school there isn’t really a choir as such but nevertheless I figured there must still be a way we could help.   So in conjunction with Beverley Crone the schools Marketing manager we came up with the idea of recording the “sounds of the school” which, with the addition of some specially composed music, could be sold as a single to the parents, friends and supporters of the school.

Now even this wasn’t easy as the school has a lot of children who don’t speak thus meaning it wasnt a simple case of recording some interviews and conversation.  I literally therefore focussed on the “noises” made by the pupils.  This involved going to sit in on a number of different classes and recording the sounds the children made, both vocal and the noise of items they were using.   The music class yielded a lot of noise of the children blowing and scraping various instruments to great effect.  I also found that some of the other classes had some singing.  Out in the playground I found the noise of bicycles being ridden, footballs being kicked and the general hubbub of children at play.

Having spent a day at the school recording these various sounds I then took them back to the studio to see how I might go about turning these into a “song” to represent the school. Not only that it had to be something that people would want to buy! Ok sometimes there is the premise that parents will buy anything their children feature on, but the audience for this is a little wider than just the parents so it needed to embrace the ideals and the ethos of the school.

Over the years I’ve worked on all sorts of interesting projects but even so, this represented quite a challenge.  I opted for a combination of some bespoke music composed for the school to fit around the sounds recorded.  I had spent quite some time in the music department so had a lot of different sounds of children playing various instruments which included bells, gongs and percussive items.  This made for a good starting point and ensured, importantly, that the focus of the piece was the children rather than my composition.

You can buy the single for just £3 to help St Nicholas raise funds for a new playground by visiting their website.


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