Helium Arts in collaboration with composer George Higgs are developing an early years music project in Mullingar this November. George will hold four exploratory workshops with the parent and baby group in Cara Phort Family Resource Centre. These preparatory workshops will lead to Music to Small Ears, a composed interactive and visual musical experience designed for parents and babies (and siblings), which will be performed for families in the waiting area of Mullingar Health Centre during a BCG vaccine clinic in December 2014. Promoting the principles of positive Infant Mental Health to families, it is envisioned that through this pilot phase we will develop a composed immersive musical experience for families visiting health centres with their babies. The aim of this research and consultation phase is to discover the nature of the clinic settings, the types of audiences encountered and likely engagement levels.
Music to Small Ears will experiment with conceiving music through engaging with and responding to the ‘science’ of infant attachment. The December session will reflect the natural musical dialogue between parent and baby, such as instinctual rhythmic exchanges, repetition and mirroring. One of the proposed outcomes is that parents leave the experience with new inspiration and ideas of how to ‘be’ and creatively interact with their baby. Another hoped for outcome is that the audience has an enhanced, positive experience of their local health service.
‘I have always been interested in finding new audiences for my music, and moreover new ways to approach these audiences. This has allowed me to work in a number of unusual and very exciting settings including St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls in Cabra and a Phibsborough clinic for the blind. I feel inspired by this new opportunity to work with babies and their mothers in the Mullingar clinics. More than anything else, I feel it will be a period of sharing, where composer and audience try to understand each other and form a sense of trust.’ – George Higgs
George Higgs has composed operas, symphonies and sonatas, and over the past ten years has been developing and building his own instruments for his compositions, working with a variety of new approaches for audiences and performers. Clinical work includes serving as composer in residence in a deaf school, as an arts facilitator in a clinic for individuals with progressive sight loss and as a music teacher for autistic children aged 6 – 18 years. For further information, please visit George’s website