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Friday February 12th, 2021

Spotlight on our Expressive- ARTS-ists: Composer Helen Woods

Helen Woods is a composer, musical director and performer with particular expertise of working in educational and community contexts.

We are delighted that Helen will be leading a Keystage 2 teachers’ CPD in creative music making in the classroom. 

Accessible Routes to Music Composition and Skills Development – for teachers at keystage 2

Helen says…..

In these two sessions I will be introducing ways into creating music with pupils in their classrooms. Non specialist and experienced musicians alike will be able to take new approaches and ideas away from these sessions including activities that can be delivered remotely.

My philosophy advocates for the nurturing of the innate creativity of the very young. I believe that by supporting and maintaining the freedom and uninhibited expression of children so creative habits become second nature.  In this way we can support pupils to have embedded practises that enhance their creativity at a higher level and into later life.

My own composition comes from seeking out all opportunities to create new work. Whether that be with 3 year olds, for whom there is a song we must write and sing.  Or with a piano pupil because a piece about a bird needs to have the accompaniment of a soundtrack about a spy on a mission. Whilst for the Dance for Parkinsons class requires new music to share. 

In other words, every element of my work and life always has the possibility and potential for the creation of new music. Sometimes a tune comes into my head – but not always. Sometimes I have to go and look for it! 

In these sessions I’m looking to pass on ways to embrace both the tunes that enter your head on their own.  But also to share the tools I use to find new music from different places. 

 

Helen Woods on the beach as the character Cherry Pie
Helen has composed 4 full length musicals, several song cycles and all the Tiddly Proms for the National Concert Hall of Wales in which she plays Cherry Pie (above) These are specially created live music performances for under 5s.

 

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Helen is a specialist in music for/with under fives but has experience of a wide variety of music projects and productions. She has composed 4 full length musicals, several song cycles and all the Tiddly Proms for the National Concert Hall of Wales. For Welsh National Opera, Helen was commissioned to compose A Real Princess an opera for 4 – 5 year olds with writer/director Sarah Argent.

In 2013 Helen received an Arts Council Award to develop her compositional practice and explore themes around heritage and identity. Since then Helen has contributed to music for Marvel games. She is also being commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Festival in 2022 to compose a piece for performance using text from Greta Thunberg

She works regularly for WNO, Arts Active, English National Ballet and National Dance Company Wales.  But she has also worked with Caerphilly County Borough, BBC NOW education department, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra education department and Youth Music. Helen is a published poet and a Javanese Gamelan tutor. 

 

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