1) Do we have to provide our own instruments in ethnic arts school workshops?
ANSWER: All instruments are provided by our music teachers and elements of costume may also be brought in by our dance teachers.
2) Are your teachers qualified?
ANSWER: Some of them have PGCE qualifications whilst most have learnt the performance and teaching skills from their experiences in the University of Life.
3) Are your teachers insured and have they been DBS checked?
ANSWER: We have full public liability insurance cover and our talented and experienced tutors have all been DBS checked and will show their certification on their arrival if you haven’t already received it by email from us before.
4) What sorts of schools are suitable for ethnic arts and World Music workshops?
Pre-schools, Primary schools with KS2 and KS3 students, SEN and secondary schools have all been past clients of ours.
5) Are your ethnic arts school workshops only suitable for a regular teaching day?
ANSWER: No, our ethnic artists often visit schools and colleges to perform and/or run workshops at Parent Evenings, International Evenings, Summer Fetes and for the teaching staff on Inset Days.
6) Do you have teachers who deliver school workshops on tuned instruments?
ANSWER: Yes, with interactive ‘steel band workshops’ (we prefer this term as it immediately identifies the team ethic our teachers prefer) which are also known as ‘steel pan workshops’ or ‘steel drum workshops’. Drumming of any kind is great for kids and schools have access to it with the likes of our fabulous African or Indian drum workshops. But the opportunity to play tuned percussion instruments is unique with the steel band workshops we offer. The steel drum is a unique instrument, in that because it is both a percussion instrument and it is tuned, our music workshop tutors can have children play them for the first time and produce something recognisable to their young ears. Our steel band tutors have a lot of experience of going into schools where they relate the colourful history of steel drums or ‘pans’ and how they are made and tuned. This may be done in individual classes, year groups, or indeed assemblies involving the entire school. They then, of course, demonstrate how they are played choosing the right tunes which their young audience can identify with so as to encourage as much audience participation as possible. Of course, they’ll also briefly demonstrate some musical rudiments and the sonic differences between the different instruments to make our audience’s experience as musically educational as it will be multicultural and entertaining. A nod of approval from the school’s Head of Music is always important! Then it’s time for the pupils to have a go themselves and get to play in their own steel band!
How this is organised very much depends on the numbers of children involved and how much time is available.
We offer 2 basic music workshop formats- one where there are just one or two steel drum/pan tutors and at least 11 steel drums/pans and another where there are 3 or 4 steel band members who would just bring their own steel drums/pans to teach the kids on. The first steel drum workshop package is more suited to handling larger classes with little ‘performance’, as such, required from our tutors. The second package is more suited to higher quality assembly presentations including performances, but with smaller workshops. That being said steel drum workshops can be tailored to the specific requirements of each particular school, so there is a lot of flexibility shown within each format.
7) Do you run Caribbean calypso and poetry workshops in schools?
ANSWER: This is an extraordinary but very popular workshop and we have a great teacher who offers it. He performs a calypso at the start of the lesson and gets the children to sing one of the well-known traditional folk calypsos such as Linstead Market or Long Time Gal. He does a short historical introduction on calypso and the children are then asked questions about the subject to see what they might already know. The children will then explore the calypso rhythm through playing percussion instruments whilst singing a traditional Caribbean melody. There is also Story-telling which requires the performance of a short song/chant by the children at several points in the story. (e.g. a little two – line chant like a nursery rhyme). Some creative writing composition is also introduced when the children form groups of between 3 and 6 members and write a story with a short song (4-line rhyme composed by them) included, or write a short song with at least two verses and a chorus. Finally, they will perform their group’s work for the rest of the class. Pupils use vocabulary, rhyme, and metre to write their songs. This integrates literacy and imagination, encouraging cooperation and creativity.
8) Are ethnic arts school workshops available during a pandemic?
ANSWER: Our tropical performers’ workshops can be conducted with the correct social distancing etiquette and procedures necessary throughout delivery and regular sanitisation will be employed in the sharing of instruments. So unless the authorities deem them unsafe music workshops can and should be still available. During this pandemic we have seen the free world embrace the social principles of Black Lives Matter. Our black teachers will be particularly disappointed if children are denied access to their music workshops in the Black History month of October, for example.
9) Are ethnic arts school workshops from your Tropical Entertainers expensive?
ANSWER: Not at all for the benefits they bring- and we have a range of different packages to suit a range of budgets.
10) What are the benefits of ethnic arts and World Music school workshops?
ANSWER: Our Tropical Entertainers are great teachers who will enrich the curriculum of your pupils and promote the children’s social and emotional development as well as improving their motivation for learning. In their school workshops they will help the kids to gain an understanding and respect for other ethnicities and cultures to encourage them further to embrace cultural diversity.