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Christina Stewart

Schools and Groups

from birth - lullabies for pregnant mums and new parents, collaboration with baby massage groups

babies and toddlers - song workshops with dandling songs and action songs

pre-school and nursery - traditional song sessions which can be themed to fit group topic, singing sessions to improve voice production and confidence

primary school pupils and clubs - traditional songs to suit school priorities or club badges, simple Gaelic songs they will never forget with active participation involving games, drama and visual art where appropriate

secondary pupils - traditional songs to support Gaelic language, drama, music

classes  for young people and adults - Scotland's song traditions in the context of the wider oral heritage, specific song types eg simple Gaelic songs to support language classes, waulking songs

presentations for adults and seniors - participatory presentations for clubs such as Over 55s or WRI and church groups on traditional song in general or specific aspects of song tradition

senior residents - collaborative sessions celebrating song memories and using them as a starting point for visual art work

I'm happy to work with pretty much any age group.  With very young children (birth to three-ish) the workshops are as much for the adults as the children, though!

Feis Rois employs me and a host of other tutors in traditional music and song in a programme of school visits through the Youth Music Initiative and these are usually aimed at Primary 5 pupils.  Because most of the schools I visit are rural, this can mean composite classes including P5 involving a much broader age range.

I don't like to work with written words, preferring to get the group to learn 'by lug', but adults generally prefer words in front of them!  With every group, I do provide words at the end of the session or series of visits as a memory aid.

The advantage of working with a pre-existing group, as opposed to a specially formed class like an evening class, is that the members are already committed to coming along at that time and may not even have a specific urge to learn traditional song, but are happy to have a go for a few weeks before trying something else.

I've taught simple Gaelic song to an adult Gaelic learners group looking to consolidate their vocabulary, lullabies to a new parents group and used traditional songs as an inspiration for visual art in a retirement home project with visual artist Lizzie MacDougall.

Recently I was working with a local Beavers group working towards their Global badge and finding out about Scotland and Scottish culture. Previously I've helped Brownies put together performances for their Hostess badge.

I like the idea of integrating traditional song in amongst other areas of life, rather than rigidly compartmentalising it.