Chris Fower chats to Lucy Pankhurst about the creation of free whole-class pBuzz resources for KS2 children.
I was lucky to recently meet the award-winning composer and leading brass educationalist Lucy Pankhurst.
During our conversations about the numerous and exciting projects that Lucy is involved with she mentioned a new, free resource that she has created as part of an Erasmus+ project, focusing on whole class instrumental learning at KS2.
The collection of 25 original compositions is called "Puzzle Pieces". Each piece has been composed and orchestrated by Lucy with parts for a host of instruments which can be pieced together to create almost any mixed ensemble, including pBuzz. Alongside this, Lucy has created multiple, levelled parts for each instrument so players of different abilities or stages in their development can perform the works together. These differentiated parts provide appropriate challenges for each instrument rather than being generic, simplified parts.
Each of the 25 pieces is in a different genre ranging from modern to traditional and has its own backing track.
"Puzzle Pieces" gives teachers an astonishing level of flexibility in both orchestration and differentiation whilst allowing children to explore new styles of music and learn in genres they understand and love.
As an undergraduate Chris studied Jazz at Leeds College of Music and then became a member of the Advanced Studies, post-graduate performers course at the Royal Academy of Music and Principal Bass Trombone with the European Community Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado. He then spent 25 years as a busy freelance performer based in both London and the North of England working with a wide variety of ensembles and artists, including being a member of Grimethorpe Colliery Band, The British Philharmonic Orchestra, Dame Shirley Bassey’s Orchestra and the Creative Jazz Orchestra.
Alongside this Chris has worked extensively in all areas of music education, latterly as a leading deliverer and trainer in informal, large group practice. This included roles as Leader in Wider Opportunities at Hertfordshire Music Service, Leader of Instrumental Development for Derbyshire City and County Music Partnership and as a face to face trainer on the Trinity Guildhall/Open University “Whole Class Instrumental Learning” national training program.
He became a key member of the team that created pBone, the plastic trombone in 2011/12 and has been involved with pBone Music in various roles since then. Chris is currently the Director of Creativity and Innovation for the company, a role that includes overseeing product development and improvement, quality and education.