Yesterday, I presented my first outdoor music session as Kitty Pidduck!
Six families joined me at the wonderful Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses (BPCG) in South London for one and a half hours of singing, sound-foraging and junk instrument-making.
This wasn’t my first outdoor session by far – I’ve been working in forest school and wildlife settings for a while – but it was my first outing as Kitty Pidduck, the name I’ve chosen as my nom de plume as I venture into the world of children’s publishing and media.
I came across BPCG during lockdown. Every week, come Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall (to quote James Taylor ❤️), my friend and I would walk in Brockwell Park along with all the other stir-crazy locals who’d had enough of staring at their own four walls. As we sat drinking flasks of tea in the Walled Garden, we’d hear children singing on the other side of the wall and one day, we wandered round to find an enchanting hidden area with greenhouses, raised beds, a pond, a mud kitchen and a stage – perfect for presenting nature-inspired music sessions!
I was lucky enough to meet up with BPCG Director, Kate Sebag (a force of nature herself!), and she invited me to present yesterday’s session. We chatted about what might work and settled on making junk instruments using natural soundmakers like seed pods and flower heads.
I spent the two weeks before the session collecting examples of these on a road trip across the UK – grasses, dried artichokes, poppy heads and more – and invited the children to experiment with these before heading off on their own foraging expedition!
They came back with a beautiful array of found sounds and as they put them in recycled plastic bottles to make shakers, I sang them songs from my preschool series about outdoor learning and messy play, currently in development with King Bee Animation.
We finished by taking our shakers to the pond and singing two classic children’s songs, 12345, Once I Caught A Fish Alive and Five Little Speckled Frogs. It was a magical session and a fantastic first step into my new Kitty Pidduck persona.
Afterwards, I was chatting to Kate and she mentioned that one happy outcome of lockdown is that BPCG has expanded its reach to include much more community learning, which has created a blossoming of ideas brought in by freelancers, volunteers and visitors.
I’m thrilled to be a part of this and look forward to running more sessions in this beautiful and inspiring setting!