Alexander D Great - Broadcaster/Composer/Educator
 
CALYPSO WORKSHOP SCHEMES FOR SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES
by ALEXANDER D. GREAT (BA Hons. PGCE)
 
Workshops are delivered at three different levels, for primary schools, secondary schools and colleges/universities. Workshops can also be delivered to suit community centres and community - based projects.
 
All workshops are designed in consultation with the school or college at which the workshop will take place. Age and number of students, space available and equipment etc. are all taken into account. Workshops can be directed at a group with particular skills (e.g. 2 year degree music students) or encompass a more general approach for year 5 primary school children.
 
1.    CALYPSO IN THE CLASSROOM
 
A primary school introduction to calypso.
 
I perform a calypso at the start of the lesson.
l do a short historical introduction and the children are then asked questions about the subject to see what they might already know.
Children explore rhythm through playing percussion instruments.
Singing: they will learn to sing a traditional Caribbean melody, which they then have to perform whilst playing percussion.
Story-telling: I tell a story which requires the performance of the song by the children at several points in the story.
Composition: The children form up in groups and
(a)   write a story with a short song included, or
(b)  write a short song with at least two verses and a chorus.
Finally, they will perform to their peer group the work they have done.
 
The learning outcomes are many and will vary according to each situation. However, in general, these are as follows.
 
1)            Pupils use vocabulary, rhyme, metre and scan to write their songs. This integrates literacy and creative skills.
2)            They co-operate in the creation of a song. Participants learn to listen and appraise others' contributions and to make democratic decisions.
3)            They learn rhythmic and vocal performance skills.
4)            Pupils often experience an increase in confidence as a result of producing and presenting their own work to their peers.
 
2
CALYPSO FOR A HEALTHY SCHOOL
 
 
 
This workshop is designed for secondary school years 7, 8 and 9.
Much of the activity for the primary unit is repeated here.
 
However, we focus here on the socio-political aspects of the art form and students are encouraged to address issues such as health, (including violence and drugs/alcohol awareness where considered appropriate by the school), bullying, racism, gender issues and global awareness.
 
Story-telling is here replaced by video footage of young performers from Trinidad and the UK. Pupils will see videos of children aged from 8 upwards singing about Drug Awareness, AIDS, crime and environmental and social conditions.
 
These themes are aired on an annual basis in the Caribbean by serious calypsonians.
 
 
3.    CALYPSO GOES TO COLLEGE.
 
These workshops are designed either as one - day introductions to the art form or as 4 - week modules with a performance at the end.
 
One day workshops comprise an introductory session on the history of calypso with illustrations on CD, video and live performance.
 
The longer workshop modules are also suitable for upper secondary school pupils doing GCSE or tertiary college students.
 
In all cases workshop content and learning outcomes and expectations will be discussed with the organisation concerned to ensure that what is offered is suitable for all concerned.
 
In general this workshop will require some musical expertise on an instrument and composition and arranging of musical parts for performance will form an integral part of the course.
 
 
Students will get a fairly general overview of the music and will also experience singing, rhythm/percussion work, composition, song structure, lyric writing and band arranging.