Could you first introduce yourself for the reader?
I’m Ollie Tunmer and I’m the director of percussion workshop company Beat Goes On.
I’ve been playing drums and percussion since I was a kid. Over the years this has included performing all over the world with the hit show STOMP, at the 2002 Rio de Carnival, playing drum kit, orchestral percussion and Latin percussion, and composing & performing music for film, TV and radio.
What happens at the organisation?
Beat Goes On delivers a range of workshops including STOMP-style Body Percussion and Samba Drumming.
Body Percussion involves making rhythms by slapping, clapping, clicking and stomping - there are examples of it in cultures across the globe, such as flamenco from Spain and South African gumboot dancing.
Our work, which takes place throughout the UK and internationally, includes workshops in schools and arts events, teacher training sessions and corporate team-building. We collaborate with other organisations such as Talk4Writing, Charanga, Sing Up and Musical Futures International to provide fun and memorable experiences for all ages.
What do you offer to young people?
We aim to offer fun, high energy and memorable experiences. In some cases we facilitate the development of young people’s musical ideas. In others we teach the children how to play Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments and rhythms, to deepen their cultural understanding. Above all we want participants to have a great time!
What activities are most popular for young people and why?
All of our workshops are adaptable to suit any age and generally go down well with everyone! With percussion you can make a great sound immediately but it also requires dedication to master more complex ideas. Playing percussion is a fun, easy to access activity that requires and creates energy!
Why do you think music education should be brought into UK schools?
Music is an accessible and creative platform that promotes the development of social and communication skills. There are vast quantities of scientific data showing how learning music can have many benefits, including creativity and problem solving, which are some of the most in-demand skills from employers today.
Participating in music-making supports engagement in school and academic success across the board - what’s not to like?!
Could you give an example of a recent project you have run, and the impact it had?
We often work with schools longer term to develop their students’ musical skills through body percussion and samba drumming. One such project, delivered over a term, saw participants creating their own body percussion and samba compositions, which they then performed at the world-famous Barbican concert hall in London.
This project took place over a year ago. They still talk about it now, and I know that as well as the impact on themselves as musicians, this was a hugely positive and unique experience that they will never forget!
Have you seen any change in the industry over the last few years? Is it positive or negative?
Sadly, current political attitudes can be rather uninformed when it comes to arts in education, which can mean a real battle for those of us who know how important they are.
However, the arts industry continues to flourish internationally, which provides yet more evidence of why the arts should be supported.
Do you run Arts Award or offer a Trinity College qualification? If so, what do you offer and how can young people get involved?
We support schools and other arts organisations on their Arts Award and Artsmark journeys. This can take the form of workshops, residencies, Q&A sessions and supporting with research into relevant artists.
Do you publish any online resources that young people doing Arts Award or Trinity College qualifications could use?
I have a new body percussion book called ‘Body Beats’ coming out soon, which will include online tutorials - watch this space! We also have lots of free downloadable resources, videos and blog posts on our website.
Is there anything you particularly want to promote to young people at the moment?
We’ve recently started monthly open body percussion sessions for young people in Brighton and London. For information about these and all of our work, please get in touch via www.beatgoeson.co.uk and follow @BeatGoesOnUK on Twitter.