DRP 8943

Pianodrome at the Old Roy­al High, Edinburgh


Commissioning | Events & Performances

The Great Learning: a post-pandemic singing day

Launching The Great Learning, a nationwide participatory singing project

Calling 50 community singers ready to explore new edges to your voice, movement and reflections of the last couple of strange years. Experiment in a warm and open environment with making and breaking new rules of composition, creating together vivid vocal material, layering space with sound, loss with hope. 

On 30 July, we'll be running a free day of improvised voice work for up to 50 people in the wonderfully atmospheric setting of the Pianodrome on the site of The Old Royal High School in Edinburgh. Sign up here.

In The Great Learning we will use community singing - weaving words and music with simple movement - to explore our experience of living through the pandemic about how it made us feel, what questions it raised about how society functions, and what lessons it offers us for a better future. You do not need experience of reading music.

Writer, poet and facilitator Elspeth Murray, choir leader and composer Stephen Deazley and our Artistic Director Frederic Wake-Walker will lead the event, which will feature a lunchtime concert by experimental vocalist Bell Lungs.

Over 50 years ago, avant-garde English composer Cornelius Cardew created an experimental and politically-engaged choir composition called The Great Learning designed to be performed by people with no or little formal musical training. Cardew’s work uses texts by ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius as provocations for mindful living. This is not about reading sheet music, learning ready-written songs, or standing straight or singing out through a big smile – we’ll be exploring, improvising and playing together. This day marks the beginning of a nationwide participatory project in which we will create a completely new work inspired by Cardew and his original piece in 2023. We hope you can join us! Register here to take part for free.

The plan for the day:

10-12.30 introductory session

12.30 lunch break

13-14.00 lunchtime concert performed by Bell Lungs

14.30-17.00 creative session

17.00 tea break

17.30-18.30 consolidation session

19.00 open sharing

The day is open to anyone over the age of 18. Please let beth@pianodrome.org know if you have any access requirements or if you need support with travel and subsistence. There will be a wonderful food stall provided by the Cyrenians on-site from 11-17.00

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