It is not a secret that music plays an important part in everyone’s life. It is a form of expression present in all societies, used by all age groups, for a myriad of different reasons. You will find music in many aspects of our lives: whether played at the radio, in a film, at the theatre, in a religious setting, or at school. At home, music can become part of our family culture, and tighten bonds between our relatives – I’m sure you too have a traditional Christmas song that has to be sung during the festive time.

From early childhood, children are exposed to music by their parents, whether it is a lullaby at bedtime, or a song dedicated to a special occasion. Parents can build on these natural instincts by learning how music can impact child development, improve social skills, and benefit children of all ages.

The importance of STEM + arts at school.

At school, music and the arts in general are not subjects often highlighted as vital in the students’ development. In fact, the National Curriculum’s length of pages for musical activities for Key Stage 2 is around two pages, whereas Science for Year 3 alone is more than 30. However, when Art and Technology come together in a creative way, the result is STEM + arts, a powerful vehicle for education, innovation and curiosity that brings together all scientific subjects, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Together, these disciplines captivate the interest of very different people, and their combined drive can reach out towards unexpected directions. Of course, there are endless benefits to this. Mixing these subjects in school helps develop critical and flexible thinking, opening pathways in the children’s mind that one or the other subject alone cannot do. Further, it enables them to pursue a career both in the arts as well as in the sciences, benefitting whichever path they choose. This STEAM education approach is what Conductive Music promotes.

Who are Conductive Music?

Conductive Music is a not-for-profit organisation that at its core, promotes the STEAM approach to learning. Their playful and collaborative learning experiences mix these subjects with a special sauce: music! Their team of teachers, artists, and technology professionals specialises in working with children from challenging backgrounds, who experience barriers to their personal and educational development and lack regular access to artistic opportunities.

They have eight years of experience teaching in 400+ primary and secondary schools, as well as over 50 Universities across the United Kingdom, Europe, as well as across Asia.

In March 2020, as schools, offices and borders were closing, the Conductive Music team went into hyper-learning mode to adapt quickly to the new reality, and continue to support families across the country with fun and safe activities. They created snazzy video tutorials for all school levels to break the monotony of staying at home every day. One of their most popular activities was a Video Game Summer School for 223 students from Y1 to Y10 who took part in 20 x 90’ workshops in one week. Together, they created 73 video games! This was another fun and rewarding experiment, using the world of gaming that most young people are very familiar with, to take them on a journey from passive users to active makers. In these workshops, they could make choices at all steps of the process and were rewarded for their curiosity and creativity. Making a game involves many different elements and disciplines, from coding to composing, and they showed them lots of different techniques that they can now continue to play with at home.

Whilst parents might have concerns over children spending too much time in front of video games, these actually do have a positive impact on your children’s development. Whether they contribute to building skills, aid making social connections, or encourage creativity, here are some benefits:

Reading

Kids who play video games may get a small boost to their reading skills. Because they need to figure out text instructions to play, those who are reluctant to open a traditional book may rush to read a website to get the latest on their favourite game.

Visual-spatial skills

Most interactive games are set in a 3D world that needs to be navigated. By playing these games kids can develop a better understanding of distance, space and direction.

Problem-solving

Many video games are based on a story, a quest, a challenge. These give children the chance to take on problems and find solutions, honing planning, organisation, and flexible thinking.

Social connections

Being based on virtual realities, video games offer the possibility to find people with a common interest to connect with. As some kids have trouble fitting in and making friends in real life, games offer virtual playdates with real-life friends. They also give them something to talk about and to bond over with classmates or playmates.

Creativity

Video games are based on someone’s imagination, and feed upon others’ creativity. When LEGOs and other plays are not sufficient or of interest anymore to your kids, video games give the chance to continue using creativity in their everyday life.

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Momocuri Project

If you are intrigued and like this innovative and interactive idea, you will be very happy to hear that, given the extremely positive feedback that the Video Game Summer School received, they decided to create something similar once again for your children to join. Momocuri is a cross-disciplinary, creative learning project, designed to inspire children from challenging backgrounds into unexpected learning and career pathways. Using dramatic stories and music from international cultural heritage, combined with creative coding, the Conductive Music team will guide children to create their own original musical video games. They will learn how to plan, code and compose in just one week!

In a series of colourful interactive online sessions, they use a spooky tale from Ancient Japan to show how storytelling, coding, and music can come together to create a fabulous RPG. By the end of the workshop, participants will have created their own musical game demo video, and take away all the skills and (free) software they need to make more!

Here’s a sneak peek at a game that was created for Momocuri.

Who is the workshop for?

The workshop is tailored for students aged 8-12, although this is flexible. In truth, anyone who is passionate about video games, music, or storytelling in any combination is welcome to join. Who knows, maybe you’ll create the next Minecraft by joining!

When and where?

From the comfort of your own home, on Zoom.

February Half Term: 15th – 19th 2021 9am OR 1.30pm, for 90 minutes each day

What will the children need?

• Laptop/tablet, ideally with external screen connection (TVs are fine!)
• Headphones, Zoom app and Chrome browser.
• All software is FREE and browser based (no installations required)
• 90′ a day to follow the lessons, + 1 or 2 hours daily to work on your project.

What will they learn?

Design a great story, taught by Laura Sampson, a professional storyteller.
Turn a great story into a great video game story, taught by Laura with help from chief coder and technologist Dr Enrico Bertelli
Create the perfect musical moods for your game, taught by Dr. Yui Shikakura, expert musician and researcher of Japanese ancient stories.

How much?

£5 + pay what you can.
The project is sponsored by Arts Council England and the Daiwa Foundation Each day of lessons will cost you only £1!!!

Prizes and Certification!

Enter the competition to win one of the 3 Meowbits, to download and bring your video games anywhere, worth £30. Achieve your Conductive Music MOMOCURI Certificate.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to keep your children busy, whilst learning new skills and having fun, grab your ticket here before they run out!

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