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Edge Grove pupils work with author and artist James Mayhew

The whole-school project took 'Vivaldi's Four Seasons' for inspiration

Posted by Stephanie Broad | October 20, 2016 | Teaching

Independent Prep School, Edge Grove began its new school year with a whole school, cross-curricular project centred on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Working with Realm of Music, the children worked alongside renowned author and artist James Mayhew, who visited the school last week to work with the Hertfordshire pupils. 

The project asked: What do Vivaldi, maths, food tech and art have in common? Using Vivaldi’s music as the stimulus, pupils and teachers let their creativity run wild. The children enjoyed pizza and pasta in food tech, geographical features and a history of Venice, Comedia del Arte in drama and religious music at St Marks. Science was also used to explore the reasons why we have seasons; this also led onto looking at how the solar system works.

James Mayhew worked with every class in the school across Years 1 to 8, exploring the seasons and working with the students to create beautiful, individual works of art. The children learned how Mayhew became an author, about his ‘books of mistakes’ and were also treated to a story at the end of the session whilst he illustrated a picture upside down.

Claire Tomsett, Director of Music at Edge Grove School spoke about the experience: “The Vivaldi project has given us an exciting and inspirational start to the year and really got our creativity flowing. The children had the opportunity to view classical music in a different light as an interactive movement. Working as a whole school also gave us the impetus to embrace our cross curricula and growth initiatives.”

Maths and English classes took their lessons outside to be inspired by nature and English students used the outdoors to create evocative seasonal poems, which were then manipulated into creative and exciting displays in ICT. Artists were allowed to let their imagination run free, painting what they personally visualised while the music played.  

At the end of the week, the work was displayed in a colourful celebration as a backdrop to the final concert. Realm of Music performed all Four Seasons whilst James Mayhew created beautiful pictures inspired by each movement of the music. The speed with which he painted had the children enthralled and all pupils from Reception to Year 8 were captivated by the live music performed on period baroque instruments.

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