Welsh themes;Primary;Reviews;General

26th June 1998 at 01:00
SOUNDS CREATIVE. By Brenda Flanagan. From Curiad, Pen-y-Groes, Caernarfon, Gwynned LL54 6EY. Tel: 01286 882166. pound;17.99 including CD

Brenda Flanagan is a teacher in Flint, and has produced this pack of 15 primary school music projects on commission from the Qualifications Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales.

To an English colleague it has a refreshing novelty. Brenda Flanagan has drawn on the creative traditions of Wales: here is music from older musicians such as Robert ap Huw (court harpist to James I), Thomas Tomkins (a pupil of Byrd) and recent practitioners such as William Mathias.

Several kinds of harp music include the traditional triple harp with its three chromatic rows of strings. Teachers wishing to gain access to the music of the British Isles will find this a useful adjunct to standard collections.

The recorded music mainly supplements children's own explorations of sound. The author has provided clear guidance on many ways in which music can be made in the classroom, and the CD gives young musicians a chance to compare adults' work with their own. Teachers do not have to be able to read music as the xylophone or keyboard themes are given in letter names rather than staff notation.

There are opportunities to use echoes, make up nonsense songs, work with pentatonics, drone and ostinato, and other enjoyable activities. And though the words of the songs are Welsh, there is an appealing faith in children's powers of aural assimilation that makes the collection nearly as usable in Peckham as in Pontypridd.

Tom Deveson is music advisory teacher for the London borough of Southwark

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