On Friday 27 January, the pupils from Yr 1 to Yr 9 received the visit of the British percussionist, composer, ethnomusicologist, and educator Andy Gleadhill, who came  from Wales invited exclusively by Richmond Park School.

With more than 35 years of experience as a musician, as well as an educator, and having performed with some of the best performers and orchestras all over the world, Mr Gleadhill moved the children to other cultures, travelling through world music percussion.

The music department organised this great journey divided into different workshops, where the activities were adapted according to the age, knowledge, and skills of the children. During the previous weeks, each class worked on learning content related to rhythm or percussion, adapted to the main music topic of this half term.

Having good knowledge of the music curriculum, Mr Gleadhill took advantage of children’s skills, vocabulary and known concepts, to make them participate in challenges where rhythm was the key word.

Throughout the day a variety of percussion instruments were played: djembés, darbukas, drums on different pitches, and hand drums. Spoken word rhythms were the basis to play echoes, call and response, and even to build complex rhythmical structures through repetition and contrast. Drumsticks were used to rattle on different surfaces as well as body percussion to accompany soloist parts. The children played both in groups and individually. They could see and listen to a Brazilian Samba, performed by Mr Gleadhill. They got to know the opito (a Brazilian whistle, very common for Samba), the different techniques to play the African djembé and the tamboo bamboo, typical of Trinidad and Tobago.

Both children and teachers were delighted with this experience. It was a day full of music, challenges, and the joy of performing together!

Andy Gleadhill masterclass video