May The 4th Be With You…

Friday 4th May was a Star Wars themed day at Sick Kids Hospital. Lots of cool stuff was happening at the Drop In Centre, including a visit from Choobakka, Luke and a Storm Trooper!
Every Friday Tinderbox have a two hour music session in Ward 7. This week ofcourse, We wanted to make it super spacey!
Inside the Playroom, we pulled all the blinds to make it as dark as possible. We brought an LED colour changing strip light, glow sticks and these light up balloons that looked like planets. The whole effect was spectacular, it changed the space so dramatically and was yet so easy to achieve. It addd another sensory level to the session, which worked to reinforce the music.
I had the idea that one way of achieving a space like vibe was to bring an electric guitar and lots of effects pedals. So we had delay, reverb and a loop pedal to play with, running into a little amp – just enough volume to lift the sound, but not enough to wake anyone sleeping next door in the Ward. The delay pedal worked so well because with the twist of a button, the sound repeats and oscillates and changes pitch. The reverb added a soupy weightless quality to the sound, which made it very spacey. The loop pedal simply records audio and plays it back instantly on a loop. This worked so well in this setting because the young people can hear what they’re making as they go. Its so simple and they get a lot of control over it. It is instantly gratifying and very fun!
I also had a microphone going through the loop pedal, so once we had created our dreamy space soundscape on the guitar, the two young people participating in the session began taking it in turns to record vocals: A count down from 10; a rocket blasting off into space, the sound of shooting stars.
Recording the young people playing the percussion was the next layer of the soundscape. I would simply hold the microphone over the instrument whilst they were playing. Bells and the Ghlockenspiel become little twinkling stars, whilst shaking the thunder drum and putting the microphone inside it was our space ship going into a black hole.
Even the Play Specialist was on board for our odyssey, simulating and recording alien voices (using a squeaky rubber toy, of course!)
– Hailey