East Didsbury Line
Over the coming months we'll be updating this page with details of the stops along the East Didsbury line; information about the groups creating the tracks for each stop, interesting facts, media and snippets of information as the project progresses. Be sure to check back on Monday 17 July, when we will be uploading recordings of each full track.
Firswood - St. John Vianney School
St John Vianney School caters for young people with autism, learning difficulties and complex needs. The group that composed ‘From Firswood to Manchester Piccadilly’ was made up of students with an interest in music aged 13-16.
About the track
The piece has three sections. The first represents Firswood, a quiet, suburban area of South Manchester, weaving together ambient samples collected around the school and melodic instrumental patterns. The second is the tram journey from Firswood to Manchester city centre and comprises a sequence of rhythms played on large upturned bins composed to give the impression of the sound of the trams. The third represents arriving in the bustling, urban centre at Manchester Piccadilly – a sharp contrast to Firswood – and again uses collected and manipulated samples alongside instrumental elements.
A weekly group for young people aged 16 – 25 with severe to moderate special needs and disabilities. The size of the group varies each week, but no more than 5 people attend at any one time.
About the track
The Chorlton Tram Tracks piece was created by recording voice and various found sounds into an iPad app called iMaschine. The students then added effects to the sounds and programmed them into a sequence which would make the final piece. We asked the group to think about the different noises you hear when at the tram stop and on the tram and how they would re-create them. The students then arranged their favourite sounds into a piece of music. Some of the objects used were: voices, wheelchairs, guitars, drums, desks, pencils, rulers, hands and feet.
St Werburgh's Road - Chorlton High School
A group of Y8s from Chorlton High School created lyrics about their local area, St Werburgh’s Road tram stop and their experience of travelling on the trams in Manchester. The piece moves from descriptive song to rapped humorous observations and a spoken verse about using time on the tram to collect their thoughts. All the instrumental parts, lyrics and vocal melody were created and performed by the young people.
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Withington - St Ambrose RC Year 6 Music Group
The composition group is all of the year 6 class at St. Ambrose who have been having whole class music lessons since year 4. The class is a diverse group of excellent and talented students who play a wide selection of instruments. After recently completing a composition module they are very excited to now be involved in this project.
Burton Road - Lancasterian School
We are a creative, enthusiastic group of Key Stage 3 students (11-14 years) with a varied range of needs and abilities. We are a dynamic, diverse group of pupils who are developing our talents, musicality, confidence and songwriting skills. We represent the best of many nations and cultures, and are proud to present Lancasterian School to a wider audience.
About the track
Lancasterian School is a Special Education School for children aged 3 to 16. The group that composed ‘On the Tram’ comprised of students from two classes in Key Stage 3 (aged 11 – 14) with a wide variety of additional needs. Initial discussions with the group focused on descriptions of the trams and the people that we see, meet and travel with on the tram. These helped the group create rhythms and lyrics. The group also had a lot of fun trying to find rhymes for ‘tram’ as you can probably tell! Some also played rhythms from words and phrases that emerged: “Tram - Doors. Beep-beep-beep-beep!” and “Tram packed. Jam-packed. Squeeeeeze!”
This small group of members of the public worked carefully with lyrics, reflecting the poetic nature of the participants. We focussed on the changing nature of the tram stop, the past, present and future, and the proximity to the tennis club. Musically, the chorus is relaxed, joyful and almost Calypso in style, whereas the verses are darker and more poignant to reflect the passing of time.
Didsbury Village - Herizons
Herizons is a group of women from all walks of life who meet for weekly music and drama sessions at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House. We were thrilled to be asked to contribute a song to the Tram Tracks project. Everyone in the group has some experience of Didsbury, past or present, so Didsbury Village seemed like a good fit. The group discussed their impressions and experiences of Didsbury and even conducted some research into the area’s history and claims to fame to inspire the final song.
Herizons sessions are delivered by enJOY arts and Claire Mooney in partnership with Elizabeth Gaskell’s House.
East Didsbury – Beaver Road Primary School
This rap was written by a year three group and is a modern day re-thinking of the traditional children’s song ‘The Wheels on the Bus’. The children chose babies, guide dogs and electrical currents and made creative use of alliteration, simile and onomatopoeia to describe their tram journey. They thought carefully about how to structure the verses so that the words and phrases really flowed in a rap style, using rhyming words where possible. As well as the rapping in the verses, the piece features a repeated sung chorus accompanied by djembes and an energetic coda. This group also experimented with different rhythm patterns inspired by the three topics, using vocal sounds and body percussion.