Could you share with us your background in composing music for children?
I’ve actually had extensive experience writing for young voices, especially in the context of Sydney Children’s Choir. I’ve written songs for kindergarteners all the way through to material that the Senior Gondwana Choirs students have gotten their teeth into. This is however the first piece of music theatre I’ve written with young people in mind. My experience with young minds has been with how sophisticated they are in terms of musical reception. Perhaps it is only when we become adults that we become hardened and more fixed.
What are the different considerations when composing music for children as opposed to adults?
I think adults underestimate the sophistication that children bring to music performances. They respond, sometimes in a brutally honest way, but with open hearts. In this piece, music is an essential part of the narrative process. It is not background, but rather an integral partner. The music reflects the state of mind of David, a young boy who goes from confronting his fears to resolving it with a fantastical, imaginative voyage.I think adults will find the child within themselves as they experience this show.
How do words and pictures become sound?
Music is journeying, in that it can lead us on certain paths which we interpret with our emotions. It can also be very suggestive and complementary to the storytelling process, something that is age-old. The human brain is so creative and easily makes associations between sound objects, narratives and visual images. There are musical techniques like the 'seagull’ glissandos which are a contemporary string movement highly evocative of seabirds. Other sound ‘pictures’ are more intuitive, but they are written based on the pace of the story and underpin the emotional journeys. Children are enormously creative and imaginative, and for this reason I hope the music really helps paint the emotional arc of the story.
There’s a Sea in My Bedroom is on until Monday 20 May.