Hilary Spencer & Grant Baynham

HILARY SPENCER and GRANT BAYNHAM were Guests at the Everyman in February 2008 and, as part of our Education Programme, visited Dell Primary School in Oulton Broad for one day, and Maidstone Infants School in Felixstowe the following day. 

The theme of their workshops was rhyme and how it works, making the most of Grant’s writing skills, Hilary’s singing talent, and their combined experience of performance.   


Dell Primary School

The school celebrated its annual music day with visiting musicians, Hilary Spencer and Grant Baynham.

[img28-S-L] Pupils took part in an early morning assembly that was led by them. The Pupils were taught to sing a song called ‘Me and My Gang’ which Grant had written about his childhood memories of being a member of a gang. The children, aged between 4 years and 9 years, were taught the chorus. Everyone managed to learn it extremely quickly and they joined in at the appropriate places, and others(!) – very, very, very enthusiastically. Some of the children who have small group guitar tuition in school looked on in amazement at Grant’s strumming abilities!

During the morning the older children in Years 3 and 4 took part in workshops with Grant and Hilary in the music room. Three classes worked for forty-five minutes each and managed to compose the words for a ‘Dell School Rap’. After lunch, the time came for the workshop that Grant and Hilary had been worried about. They worked with a class of 6-year-olds and were quaking in their shoes as the children filed into the room. Never before had they worked with this age group! But this turned into a very pleasant surprise (or so they said at the time!).  The Year 2 children learned to accompany the rap using clapping, African drums, maracas and tambourines so quickly and well that Hilary decided to teach them a song that Grant had heard for the first time in the morning on the long journey to Dell School. The children were so keen and enthusiastic that they kept Hilary and Grant in at playtime to rehearse the song again before performing in the hall at the end of the day. Hilary Spencer & Grant Baynham

The theme for the day was rap and rhythm, and Pupils wrote their own lyrics, as well as performing rhythms on African drums and other percussion instruments. Other year groups made their own musical instruments and learned about the instruments of the orchestra. Younger children played ocarinas during the day and older children played guitars, flutes, clarinets and violins.

At the end of the afternoon Hilary and Grant organised children from the four classes they had been working with into groups, to perform the school rap they had composed as a four-part-round. Some of Class 6 sang Hilary’s song as they had picked up the words in under ten minutes, whilst Grant and the rest accompanied it with a background chant of a train.

All of the Children and Staff really enjoyed the day and felt stimulated and enthused by the expertise and energy shown by their visitors.

Dell Primary is one of a small number of primary schools in the country that has Gold Artsmark, for excellence in Music, Dance, Drama, Art and ICT, and in recognition of the extra-curricular activities and community opportunities given to the Children to appreciate these areas.

Sue Edmunds, Dell Primary School - 13.03.08