As the redevelopment work cracks on at the Whitworth we are settling in nicely to our new temporary home at The Bridgewater Hall. This week we kicked off the New Year with our newly developed Music Baby sessions.
From January until our reopening in the Autumn, Whitworth will be working in partnership with The Bridgewater Hall to explore a new strand of work with babies focussing on sound and music. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to be really playful and experiment with new ideas ready for when we reopen and for Bridgewater to be able to continue this work once we leave.
For the next few months Music Baby sessions will explore different genres of music from classical, to electronic, and even disco! Reflecting the breadth of the programme at Bridgewater and providing our babies and parents/ carers with variety and hopefully something neither has experienced before.
We know that babies love to bang things so for the first week we decided to have a percussion theme, lots of things to bang, shake, rattle and roll with. We combined real quality percussion instruments with everyday objects like pans, buckets, spatulas and colanders so that babies experienced objects they’d never experienced before as well as there still being an element of the session that parents/ carers could emulate back at home.
For the first time we tried hanging the objects and instruments from a frame. We wanted to explore with different heights of object and get things off the floor. This worked really well as babies were encouraged to reach upwards and sideways which is great for their physical development. They also had to negotiate objects that didn’t stay still that swung around – great for the development of their hand eye coordination. It was lovely to watch and observe this happening.
Of course, as usual we had our fantastic music practitioners within the space playing for, interacting with and responding to the babies as they explored the different objects and environments.
This week I managed to capture a very short section of film which I think demonstrates perfectly what our brilliant music practitioners do within the sessions and why their presence is so important and unique.
We encourage the practitioners to imitate and respond to what the babies are doing. This tiny snippet of footage demonstrates just one of many magical moments within these sessions, an amazing pre-verbal conversation between baby and practitioner. Check out the concentration, eye contact and turn taking between the two. Amazing!
The Whitworth is now closed in order to carry out major development work and will re-open in autumn 2014.
Visit our blog for updates as we transform into a new 21st century gallery in the park.