Adventures in Sprog-land

29 September 2017

Ronan McMahon joined the project as our trainee, and has been working hard to support the company at their workshops and rehearsals as they create brand new music with the nursery children. Here he gives us a wee glimpse into his awesome adventures!

Hi, I’m Ronan. I joined Sprog Rock as a trainee three weeks ago and in that time I have:

  • witnessed 49 children play in a band for the first time.
  • danced to hair metal with 25 children in Stirling
  • sung with 24 children in Greenock
  • learned the words to “Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar, My Daddy drives a rusty car.”
  • heard and documented 14 brand new jokes from children in ABC Nursery (Alloa)
  • learned that the top 3 favourite things for children in Cornton Nursery (Stirling) are Paw Patrol, Cars, and Laughing.
  • learned that the children in Kelly Street Nursery in Greenock LOVE what happens when you press the Demo button on a Yamaha PSR16 Portable Keyboard
  • And I have remembered that there are few things more enjoyable than playing music as part of a band

My job is to take part in workshops with Sprog Rock in nurseries near the Beacon in Greenock, Macrobert is Stirling, Lyra in Edinburgh, and Platform in Easterhouse. The band need to write new songs, and they are colloborating and writing with children across nurseries in these areas to do so. Then Sprog Rock will play a gig in their area – a chance for the children to watch a Sprog Rock gig and to hear the premiere of the song they wrote with the band.

What’s not to love about this job? I get to play great music, meet great children who are very funny and who love playing and listening to music. And I get to hear great jokes from the children at ABC Nursery in Alloa, such as:

Why did the lion cross the road . . ?
Because the Elephant wanted to Rock!
− Alva, nursery student 

Thus, Alva had written the chorus for our first song. Cue an impromptu song-writing session in the car on the way home with fellow Sprog Rockers Rory and Kim. “It’s gotta be a funk and soul riff” says Rory and thus ‘The Lion and Elephant’ was born. Can’t wait til you see the dance moves that the children at ABC Nursery add in the second week.

In Cornton Nursery in Stirling, we asked them what their favourite things were.

Ronan: What’s your favourtite thing?
Sarah: Laughing
Ronan: Why do you like laughing?
Sarah: ….(just laughs for a long time)…
Conversation with a student at Cornton Nursery, Stirling

Laughing will definitely feature somewhere in Sprog Rock’s Cornton Nursery song.

The following week the band met for rehearsals in Glasgow, where Sprog Rock bandmates Pete and Geraldine had just returned from Kelly Street nursery in Greenock with the bare bones of two new songs: ‘Same but Different’ and ‘We like dinosaurs, together’. They shared the chords and the lyrics they had written with the kids:

Every night I’m growing in my sleep
I wake up and my hands are bigger
My clothes have changed, so have my feet
How old will I be on my next birthday?
/… /
I’ll be the same, but different.

Then we worked together as a band to form the musical form and accompaniment. It was a very satisfying experience for me to be a part of this process. While ‘Same but different’ is a moody pop-punk reflection on growing up, ‘We like dinosaurs, together’ is the complete opposite – it’s a full-blown dino-dance-off! Both will have a happy place in the set-list for the much anticipated gig at the Beacon, Greenock, this Saturday September 30th!

Sprog Rock goes on tour from this Saturday 30 September at the following venues:

Beacon Arts Centre | 30 September | 11:30 & 14:30

Macrobert Arts Centre | 7 & 8 October | 11:30 & 14:30

Platform, Glasgow | 21 October | 14:00 | 22 October | 10:30

LYRA | 4 November | 12:00 & 14:30

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