Surroundings is an audio-active project, supported and funded by The National Concert Hall and St. Declan’s School, that aims to awaken the child’s artistic sensibilities, with a specific focus on sound.
As part of the Education & Outreach Programme the National Concert Hall continues to work with the children of St. Declan’s. This work involves engaging the talents of sound artist and composer Slavek Kwi. Slavek visits the schools on a weekly basis and works with children, some of whom have complex developmental difficulties including communication/speech and language difficulties, emotional/behavioral difficulties, ADHD and Aspergers’ Syndrome. His particular expertise focuses on the development of children’s communication skills through the medium of music.
Children are invited into a permanent sound installation, where they are encouraged to improvise together in small groups, using a range of instruments and sound-making objects. A pre-recorded sound-track (including dense environmental sounds, etc) accompanies the playing during these sessions, allowing the children to ‘feel’ the sounds they are playing, whilst simultaneously developing an awareness of their surroundings.
The process focuses primarily on heightening the children’s artistic sensitivity, both to their immediate surroundings and to others, enabling them to give a creative response through music/sound making. Segments of these sessions are recorded and played back to the children, bringing a conscious awareness to the process of playing, adding to each child’s ability to listen, reflect, and consciously develop their playing ability through practice. In this way the children are encouraged to create their own unique aesthetics.
For more information on the Surroundings project visit www.artificialmemorytrace.com. We send sound artist Slavek Kwi into St Declan’s School to work with children on the autistic spectrum on a weekly basis.
"The children have mild emotional and/or behavioural difficulties and their weekly encounter with musical instruments in this free style environment gives them a chance to express themselves and communicate with each other outside of verbal language…Music gives them a different way of listening."
Slavek Kwi for The Irish Times Health Plus