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  • Writer's pictureSue Parr

I could only hum but others were singing

On the 14th and 15th of July last Summer I took part in Early Years Incubate. This was a two day professional development opportunity with Helena Rodrigues and Jorge Graça of Companhia de Musica Teatral.

I paid to go on this opportunity because I had survived the Play Day with Magic Acorns and needed to work on my personal blocks. And I work with Magic Acorns on Fridays in Early Years play sessions so I

needed to gain a greater understanding of how they work.

I paid the money and read absolutely nothing about the programme; because I knew I would feel the

fear and find an excuse to not attend!

I have since read about the programme:

“Over the two days we will explore listening, silence, voice, movement. Searching for

togetherness and authenticity, we will awaken ‘ organic musicianship’ to connect with ourselves

and embrace an awareness of ‘intuitive caring’. Caring is the intention; music expression will be the flow.”

I was right not to read it as ‘organic musicianship’ would have made me not turn up. I am phobic of

anything ‘musical’ it seems.

The session that Helena led (which I would identify as organic musicianship) was outstanding!

Everyone was in a circle taking deep breaths in and making a sound on the out breath (similar to the

Magic Acorns Play Day session when we made sounds in the stairwell).

We started softly, I could only hum but others were singing. It began with all the individuals singing softly. The singing became louder and after a few minutes it became unified, one sound! What was so surprising to me was the vibrations from the singing began to strengthen and I could feel it through my whole body. And the stronger the vibrations became the more we became as one! I found this experience quite spiritual and tears came to my eyes! I also lost time and just became present in the moment. I was participating in something much bigger than the individuals singing!

For someone who doesn’t sing and very rarely cries I found this activity very healing and magical!

Both days began with silence and slowly built up with movement. This slow build up helped me to

move my body around the space, and other people, without panic setting in!

On the second day Jorge began the day in silence and we all had a square piece of white paper that we fluttered around us while we moved around the room. We then engaged with others through moving the paper in similar ways or making noises with the paper. Interesting, communication without speaking! Jorge then sat down and we all sat in a circle due to the hand signals he gave us. We then copied Jorge as he folded the paper square slowly. We followed step by step until we each had a peace dove.

This was very interesting to me as I had tried to make peace doves over 20 years ago but I could not be taught as my frustration got too much each time! By doing it slowly in silence there was no

frustration! This has totally amazed me, the beauty of unhurried, silent learning! My brain remained

clear and I could follow the steps. When I did need help it was still clear and my brain did not get

frazzled. That was such a different approach to showing someone how to make something. Brilliant!

The activities flowed so smoothly into one another that I find it hard to distinguish different tasks

except for the ones that really stood out for me. The two above that were exceptionally beneficial to

me and one other that brought my anxiety out.

We went into groups of 4 and had to secretly choose a picture of a bird that were on cards on the

floor. As a group we had to become the bird and move across the room and make noises. This I

found unenjoyable because we were being watched by the other groups.

My blocks are about being seen and heard.

From these two days I have learnt about ‘Communicative Musicality’ which begins with breathing

and silence. These two things brings you into the body and then slow fluid movement can begin. I

actually love this process! From there songs or rhythmic chants can begin and tonal or rhythmic

patterns can form which moves into the ‘organic musicianship’.

It is interesting to me that something so fluid actually has step-by-step building blocks and so can be recreated.

Helena said that ‘If the silence is not in tune then music is needed’ I have been in situations where

the silence has been out of tune. These training days were invaluable to me both personally and



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