Overture, curtain, lights...

1st March 1996 at 00:00
A MERRIE MASQUE JUST SO. Age range 5-7 BBC Education cassette and book pack Pounds 9.99 Age range 9-11

The BBC's Performance Packs provide a compact set of resources for short musical dramas for children, with scripts, scores, visual aids and cassette tapes which may be used to teach the music or as accompaniments for actual performance.

A Merrie Masque uses 16th-century music within a story involving historical characters, players and townsfolk. The pack is skilfully designed with notes on performance that will be particularly useful to non-specialist teachers. There are explanations of unfamiliar words, plus information about the music and the period in general. There are ideas for improvisation or composition that could be integrated in the piece, providing useful material for further work, again clearly presented and useful to any teacher.

The setting of Kipling's The Elephant's Child is for younger children and contains original songs which are charming and should be easily learned and enjoyed by 5 to 7-year-olds. There are plenty of suggestions for staging, costumes and song accompaniments with useful hints on preparation. Just so includes a colourful poster which may be used as a graphic score.

Both these packs are beautifully presented, well researched and planned, providing educational material of real value in many areas of the curriculum and providing an opportunity for entertaining performances.

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