As part of the ongoing work of the Torbay Arts in Schools Network, we are featuring a series of ‘Spotlight Interviews’ with key TASN partners.
Next up: Rachel Thame of Moor to Sea Music.
Question: Tell me a little bit about your role and what you do.
I am a founder and Co-Director of Moor to Sea Music. After many years spent working as an independent musician/freelance educator/facilitator across a variety of community music, education, health and social care settings, my role at Moor to Sea now provides a platform to grow and develop musical projects more collaboratively. I help design musical projects alongside the people involved in making the work, connecting people, facilitating workshops and writing the funding bids that allow the work to take place. Our aim is to create inclusive communities where we grow musical landscapes together. This mission is a tough one, but it is a joy, enabling me to work meaningfully in a way that I love!
Question: What’s something really exciting/successful that’s happened in the last 6 months?
We’ve been successful securing some funding from Comic Relief to sustain our accessible Early Years programme! We’ve been working in locations across the bay from Torre Abbey to Paignton Library, making Early Years Music with families, childminders, babies and young children. We work collaboratively with partners at Doorstep to make this early years offer a truly multi-sensory, interactive and responsive session which puts play at the heart and which follows the lead of our youngest music-makers! We are really excited to see how this work develops – keep an eye out for some immersive musical performances with material co-created with under 5s scheduled for later in the year!
Question: Why are schools relationships important to you? How do the schools get involved?
Our relationships with schools allow us to consider how connection and belonging can be fostered in classrooms through music. Music is for everyone, and music is a basic human right we should all have access to! Music helps us understand our world – it can help us understand and regulate our emotions – it unites us and helps us find ‘our people’ – for some of us, through music we find our sense of purpose. It is essential for me that music is not squeezed out of the school day. It is vital that children have opportunities to engage with the creative arts and I love sharing this passion with teachers. We know we need to better understand communication in children’s learning – whether this is through music, movement, rhythm, conversation, attunement, emotions or play – and how this contributes to children’s wellbeing, belonging in school and their ability to learn. Music can help us find a way into play and playfulness with children, and when play sits at the heart of social interactions between adults and children, only positive and amazing things happen. We see this every week working though music with some fabulous schools in Devon.
Question: Can you describe some ways that families with children & young people engage with your work?
Young people are always in the lead – supported and guided by our fabulous team of music facilitators. Together we build musical projects that respond meaningfully to the things young people are interested in, telling stories that allow all voices to be valued and heard equally.
We currently run several open access, music sessions during the week at different community locations.
As Community Partners at Dartington Hall, we host an open music session for families, home-educated children and alternatively educated young people.
At Play Torbay’s ASRUS session for young people who are Autistic, our music activity can be the way in to social experiences as well as being a place of security and self-expression.
We run a weekly music session for ages 11- 18 in Dartmouth, at Ivy Lane before youth club.
Wednesday mornings is for Early Years, currently at Paignton Library, for families babies and pre-schoolers!
Architects of Sound is a network for musicians and musically minded young people (age 15+) Here young people are in charge – designing musical meet-ups and curating their own music events!
Constructor was a year long project, partnering with Lifeworks charity, to elevate the musical, creative output of a group of Learning Disabled young musicians. The group composed original work for an orchestra of their own design, comprising of professional and semi-professional musicians. The young people conducted their work at a final performance in the Great Hall at Dartington. Moor to Sea continue to provide supported Constructor workshops during holidays.
Question: Going forward, what are your hopes and dreams in terms of engagement?
We hope to reach accessibly and widely, creating more equal access of opportunity and experience of both music and a sense of connection to others achieved by working through music together, collaboratively.
Stay up to date with Moor to Sea and their amazing work here:
Moor to Sea Music Collective is a key partner of TASN.
Torbay Arts in Schools Network (TASN) is a collaborative and grassroots effort, comprised of 45 organisations, freelancers, and schools in the Torbay area.
The network serves as Torbay’s Cultural Education Partnership, providing shared regional advocacy, arts menus, creative resources, and arts outreach in partnership with area schools. What is a Local Cultural Education Partnership? Find out more here.
The group is action-driven, and meets fortnightly over Zoom to do shared activity planning. The network is currently chaired and coordinated by Erin Walcon, Co-Director, Doorstep Arts.
The network is open-door and new artists, arts orgs or school staff are always welcome to join –just email email@example.com to sign up to the mailing list.