Jump to content
Mander Organs
headcase

Danmagic

Recommended Posts

Has anyone charged with educating the young and impressionable seen this short animated film promoting the organ ?

 

www.danmagic.org

 

 

Any thoughts on how this will be received ?

 

Over to the armchair experts !

 

H

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess this is aimed at primary school ages. Personally I thought it an excellent idea with a somewhat lacklustre execution, but if there is one thing I have learnt over the years it is never to try to second-guess what youngsters will find inspiring! I will be most intereted to see how it goes down in practice.

 

(I assume the RCO have put some strategy in place to ensure that it does go down? :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, I see we're all waiting for someone else to say something because we're not sure whether we hate it or not...

 

I'm in the middle of making a choir recruitment DVD of similar length targetted at years 4-6 and as such have been doing a fair bit of research and discussion over what might work - and, moreover, the importance of having the 'follow-up' process (what in a previous life used to be known as the 'sales funnel') as slick, organised and under control as humanly possible before letting any marketing materials loose on a waiting world. My tuppence -

 

1) It's a nice simple narrative, presented by someone clearly 'regional' if you know what I mean (i.e. not a posh twit)

 

2) It pulls kids into wanting to have a go really well, with some great acting

 

3) It gave just the right amount of technical information and enough of a glance 'under the bonnet' to make the machine alive and interactive rather than just a sterile object with buttons, like a Wii

 

4) The music was well chosen and well played

 

 

But, on the other hand -

 

5) the animation/lipsync was a bit basic sometimes. I can forgive that, but a more computer game savvy young individual might not be so willing to.

 

6) I felt it was probably aiming a bit low in its age range, to kids who probably can't reach the pedals yet and will get bored and give up; older kids (11ish) I felt might feel spoken down to a bit

 

7) I thought the recording of the organ was a touch on the coarse side at times, especially in the treble, through my PC speakers - if turned up loud enough to play to a class it might be possible to say it was offputtingly unpleasant

 

but, worst of all - 8) I didn't feel from the website that they'd put serious thought into how they were going to match pupils with teachers, and felt there had been little consideration of whether the real-world experience of 'my first organ' would be in line with the expectations set by the film.

 

Instead, they point parents at the local organists association, for instance, where they will face the usual heartbreaking picture of cold churches making unrealistic charges (if it's even possible to get the door and console unlocked) and tuition of variable quality, and public recitals where they will be (again) in sadly familiar territory - in the company of between 6 and 40 individuals who (as those of us who do lunchtime recitals quite a lot have experienced) can sometimes be quite, er, unhinged, shall we say. You and I can look at a list of recitals and form a view on the player, the instrument, and the programme. A totally random lucky dip of organrecitals.com could yield almost anything.

 

I'd have started with the cathedrals - is there anyone in the UK more than 50 miles from one? Aren't cathedral musicians generally in touch with the best in their local area? Cathedrals themselves can run 'be a chorister' days when they want choirs - couldn't enough of them be persuaded to run 'be an organist' days? I doubt a single tourist would mind, if they knew what was going on. Then, those who can be convinced to stick with it can filter down through the higher-level organists and teachers in the diocese.

 

That way, the promise of how exciting it will be could actually be met by the first impression of the instrument. For some, it will be. I feel for the many who may sadly have their hopes dashed by a bumpy transition back to the real world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest drd
...

I'd have started with the cathedrals - is there anyone in the UK more than 50 miles from one? Aren't cathedral musicians generally in touch with the best in their local area? Cathedrals themselves can run 'be a chorister' days when they want choirs - couldn't enough of them be persuaded to run 'be an organist' days? I doubt a single tourist would mind, if they knew what was going on. Then, those who can be convinced to stick with it can filter down through the higher-level organists and teachers in the diocese....

 

David, I quite agree, and you've given me an idea for our local situation {a church in the remote north - though only about 20 miles from Carlisle - where the organ is currently undergoing phase 1 of a refurbishment by Nicholsons, and where some of the reasoning behind the struggling congregation being prepared to undertake such a project rather than put in an electronic replacement is: 1) it is the principal church of a united benefice of 10 parishes in this remote corner of England, 2) they want to attract more through the door and be a physical and artistic resource for the town and surrounding area, 3) they would like to establish a training centre for church musicians in the area, including organists.}

 

So, a part of this overall strategy may be to offer the chance for some to 'shadow' an established organist/Director of Music. Obviously, this would be for 'older' young people, and for interested adults - but I feel it could work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah, I see we're all waiting for someone else to say something because we're not sure whether we hate it or not...

 

I'm in the middle of making a choir recruitment DVD of similar length targetted at years 4-6 and as such have been doing a fair bit of research and discussion over what might work - and, moreover, the importance of having the 'follow-up' process (what in a previous life used to be known as the 'sales funnel') as slick, organised and under control as humanly possible before letting any marketing materials loose on a waiting world. My tuppence -

 

1) It's a nice simple narrative, presented by someone clearly 'regional' if you know what I mean (i.e. not a posh twit)

 

2) It pulls kids into wanting to have a go really well, with some great acting

 

3) It gave just the right amount of technical information and enough of a glance 'under the bonnet' to make the machine alive and interactive rather than just a sterile object with buttons, like a Wii

 

4) The music was well chosen and well played

 

 

But, on the other hand -

 

5) the animation/lipsync was a bit basic sometimes. I can forgive that, but a more computer game savvy young individual might not be so willing to.

 

6) I felt it was probably aiming a bit low in its age range, to kids who probably can't reach the pedals yet and will get bored and give up; older kids (11ish) I felt might feel spoken down to a bit

 

7) I thought the recording of the organ was a touch on the coarse side at times, especially in the treble, through my PC speakers - if turned up loud enough to play to a class it might be possible to say it was offputtingly unpleasant

 

but, worst of all - 8) I didn't feel from the website that they'd put serious thought into how they were going to match pupils with teachers, and felt there had been little consideration of whether the real-world experience of 'my first organ' would be in line with the expectations set by the film.

 

Instead, they point parents at the local organists association, for instance, where they will face the usual heartbreaking picture of cold churches making unrealistic charges (if it's even possible to get the door and console unlocked) and tuition of variable quality, and public recitals where they will be (again) in sadly familiar territory - in the company of between 6 and 40 individuals who (as those of us who do lunchtime recitals quite a lot have experienced) can sometimes be quite, er, unhinged, shall we say. You and I can look at a list of recitals and form a view on the player, the instrument, and the programme. A totally random lucky dip of organrecitals.com could yield almost anything.

 

I'd have started with the cathedrals - is there anyone in the UK more than 50 miles from one? Aren't cathedral musicians generally in touch with the best in their local area? Cathedrals themselves can run 'be a chorister' days when they want choirs - couldn't enough of them be persuaded to run 'be an organist' days? I doubt a single tourist would mind, if they knew what was going on. Then, those who can be convinced to stick with it can filter down through the higher-level organists and teachers in the diocese.

 

That way, the promise of how exciting it will be could actually be met by the first impression of the instrument. For some, it will be. I feel for the many who may sadly have their hopes dashed by a bumpy transition back to the real world.

 

I think that you speak a lot of sense, David.

The same point about the follow-up has concerned me too. At Birmingham Organists' Association I think we have it buttoned up: our Leonard-Gibbons fund will also provide some funding for either a course of lessons (and we 'approve' the teacher to be used) or to purchase music. The application for this is very simple, basically a letter. The BOA Council are very aware of the pit falls of cold locked churches, etc. and I hope that we steer those interested, maybe via 'Dan', towards those in the area that will encourage and nurture.

I think it has to be done locally, Dan may hook a few in on a national level and this will help greatly, but it's up to those on the ground to take it from there.

P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After initially thinking it was a bit naff, I've come round to thinking that it's actually very good.

 

But how is it going to be marketed? It needs to be proactive. I can't see most school teachers searching it out unless it's put right in front of their noses.

 

And I fully agree with the link to organ teachers being the weakest one. Why don't they do something along the lines of a database as they did with "National Learn the Organ Year" a few years back?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that this project was undertaken by a student and not a professional animator, I thought it was quite a reasonable attempt. The target audience though I would have put at primary school.

 

The thing that has been bugging me though is that I can't remember the name of the little ditty used to demonstrate the flutes. I've heard it enough times as an encore, but the grey matter is letting me down.

 

Can anyone put me out of my misery?

 

Sq.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given that this project was undertaken by a student and not a professional animator, I thought it was quite a reasonable attempt. The target audience though I would have put at primary school.

 

The thing that has been bugging me though is that I can't remember the name of the little ditty used to demonstrate the flutes. I've heard it enough times as an encore, but the grey matter is letting me down.

 

Can anyone put me out of my misery?

 

Sq.

 

It's a few bars of the Toccatina for Flute by Yon.

P :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I generally agree David, I thought it was very well made, and actually a lot of computer animations (unless you are the Disney corporation) are very similar these days. I am very aware lof you concerns about teachers and organs, as we've discussed before. However, it is a start, and probably better than nothing, and for that I think the RCO needs a little congratulation for a change. We wait to see whether the follow up can support it though!

 

Jonathan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really enjoyed it. Reckon that it would go down great in a primary school - and I wouldn't be surprised if it inspired a good deal of interest. I particularly enjoyed hearing the organ referred to as "the greatest musical instrument of all" - Certainly I can't argue with that! :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...by the first impression of the instrument....hopes dashed by a bumpy transition back to the real world.

And even those who get on a decent instrument may find Saint-Saëns arr Briggs to be a bit of a stretch, first crack out of the box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd have started with the cathedrals - is there anyone in the UK more than 50 miles from one? Aren't cathedral musicians generally in touch with the best in their local area? Cathedrals themselves can run 'be a chorister' days when they want choirs - couldn't enough of them be persuaded to run 'be an organist' days? I doubt a single tourist would mind, if they knew what was going on. Then, those who can be convinced to stick with it can filter down through the higher-level organists and teachers in the diocese.

 

We have an annual Easter Bank Holiday 'Play the Organ Day' for youngsters here in Ripon, together with occasional ad hoc educational visits of similar ilk. The event is well advertised and there is usually a good turnout. Some children bring simple piano pieces to play and are able to sample the many different sonorities available. Others plonk little fingers on the Tuba or stand on the Bombardon. The noise can be excrutiating but the children obviously enjoy themselves and visitors, when they realise what it's all about, usually look on with amusement and encouragement. The mobile console helps enormously in this respect. A measure of decorum and sanity is then restored by the celebrity organ recital which follows. The whole event has a relaxed holiday atmosphere.

 

If it catches just one young person's imagination and persuades them to take it further, then the effort is obviously wortwhile.

 

JS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given that this project was undertaken by a student and not a professional animator, I thought it was quite a reasonable attempt.

Ah. In that case, yes, for a student it is a very creditable effort indeed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those members of this board who subscribe to Organists' Review will find that the November issue contains an article by the creators of this project, outlining the thinking behind it and how it was made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ah. In that case, yes, for a student it is a very creditable effort indeed.

 

Hi

 

The Bradford Organists' association were treated to the world premier of "Dan" a few months ago - and got to meet the guy who did the animation (and who spent some of his own time to complete the project).

 

I thought the voices come across a being a bit "formal" - but that aside, a pretty worthwhile effort.

 

Incidentally, it's available on DVD, so that should solve some of the audio problems - computer audio is never up to much. The sound quality at the premiere was fine.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'It looks like you're trying to play a voluntary. Would you like some help playing a voluntary? Are you sure you meant to pull out the flute? Voluntary Help Auto Register thinks you meant the tuba, and is going to change it for you....'

 

Magic music thing just reminded of the Microsoft paper clip. Sorry! :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was this an extract or the whole thing - 8 munutes? Do we know how much the DVD costs? (BTW has the November issue of OR been sent out yet? Ain't got mine...)

 

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...... has the November issue of OR been sent out yet? Ain't got mine...

Peter

 

Mine usually arrives in the first week or so of the month concerned - it used to be earlier. Choir & Organ arrives very early.

 

AJJ

 

PS Re the film - I quite liked it - 'may use it with my younger students at school as part of a unit of work that we already do on the organ etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Given that this project was undertaken by a student and not a professional animator, I thought it was quite a reasonable attempt. The target audience though I would have put at primary school.

 

The thing that has been bugging me though is that I can't remember the name of the little ditty used to demonstrate the flutes. I've heard it enough times as an encore, but the grey matter is letting me down.

 

Can anyone put me out of my misery?

 

Sq.

 

I saw Paul's reply to this but I wonder if the question refers to the bit at the beginning where the pipes dance onto the stage? It sounded to me like that bit from Facade which used to be the theme tune to Face the Music. I've just downloaded the film onto disc by the way and will be going, armed with this, to wherever they will allow me access!

 

Peter

 

 

edit: a priest of this parish who saw the film last night swears he heard a Harry Potter theme in the music used - having not seen the Potter films I cannot comment - any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw Paul's reply to this but I wonder if the question refers to the bit at the beginning where the pipes dance onto the stage? It sounded to me like that bit from Facade which used to be the theme tune to Face the Music. I've just downloaded the film onto disc by the way and will be going, armed with this, to wherever they will allow me access!

 

Peter

 

 

edit: a priest of this parish who saw the film last night swears he heard a Harry Potter theme in the music used - having not seen the Potter films I cannot comment - any thoughts?

 

It does sound a bit like 'Popular Song' from Walton's Façade, but it's not. I think it's a bit of Hearnshaw leading into 'Happy Birthday'!

 

Yes, HP's in there! Just before the Magician issues the magic to allow Dan to play the SS Organ Sym.

 

P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My fiancee (a Primary School Teacher) had some serious doubts about it when she saw it with me the other day.

 

We both reckon that it's a great idea in theory, and quite well executed, not least with Keith Hearnshaw's superb playing and choice of musical extracts. Where it falls down, oddly enough, is in the use of a human character as the protagonist representing the target audience - my fiancee thinks it would have been better to use a talking animal or some such interesting character to better capture the audience's attention and encourage them to engage with the film even more.

 

We also agree with people who think that a more pro-active approach would help the film to achieve its ultimate goal. At the moment, it seems as though it's just been put out there in hopes of "flagging down" passers-by. Alas, school teachers are under too much pressure under this present government to be able to do any more than look at the film and say "very nice." It needs organists, RCO reps (et al) to take things into schools and offer workshops (etc.) so that teachers don't need to add to their already-heavy workload.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My fiancee (a Primary School Teacher) had some serious doubts about it when she saw it with me the other day.

 

We both reckon that it's a great idea in theory, and quite well executed, not least with Keith Hearnshaw's superb playing and choice of musical extracts. Where it falls down, oddly enough, is in the use of a human character as the protagonist representing the target audience - my fiancee thinks it would have been better to use a talking animal or some such interesting character to better capture the audience's attention and encourage them to engage with the film even more.

 

We also agree with people who think that a more pro-active approach would help the film to achieve its ultimate goal. At the moment, it seems as though it's just been put out there in hopes of "flagging down" passers-by. Alas, school teachers are under too much pressure under this present government to be able to do any more than look at the film and say "very nice." It needs organists, RCO reps (et al) to take things into schools and offer workshops (etc.) so that teachers don't need to add to their already-heavy workload.

 

As a secretary of a local organists' association, I'd be really interested to explore how this might work. I imagine it would help enormously if the local association approached teachers with ideas for an event that had clearly-defined objectivez that delivered some part of the national curriculum. But where would I start?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a secretary of a local organists' association, I'd be really interested to explore how this might work. I imagine it would help enormously if the local association approached teachers with ideas for an event that had clearly-defined objectivez that delivered some part of the national curriculum. But where would I start?

 

I think the best thing would be to draw up a list of schools, then call them up and ask for the name of the Music Co-ordinator / Head of Music / Director of Music. It shouldn't take more than 30 seconds in each case, and most secretaries are happy to pass on such information if you tell them you want to personalise a letter or message instead of putting "Dear Sir or Madam..."

 

Then you can write to each Music Co-ordinator, drawing their attention to the film and your planned event. The important thing is to make life as easy for them as possible - stress that you will be doing all the donkey work, and that the most s/he will need to do is let the children know about it. Supply posters for the school to put up... or better still, offer to come into the school and present the film at a mutually convenient time.

 

It is probably wise to test the water first, by contacting only four or five local schools to begin with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...