Music Workshop
A series of broadcasts originally provided by the BBC for the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom
Music Workshop
Music Workshop Stages 1 & 2

A retrospective on a selection of Music Workshop broadcasts (1960/70) which were originally provided by the BBC for the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom. Many of the workshops were written and produced by William Murphy. Each series tells a story of a particular theme, which is brought to life with music, words, verse and illustrations, as well as the all-important participation of the children.


Pupils' booklet: The Island People.
| EXIT | Music Workshop | Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Singing Together | References | Links |
Intro

The BBC Music Workshops were radio broadcasts in which the listeners (in school) sang along and/or played musical instruments as directed by the broadcaster and the accompanying 'workshop' booklets. All children played percussion instruments such as chime bars, wood blocks or tambourines while the more advanced pupils learned parts for the recorder. With the aid of the booklets, the songs could be practiced between broadcasts and additional exercises performed.

Classes started with Stage1 and progressed to Stage 2, thus some of the series' themes were repeated in subsequent years, as younger children joined the school and older ones moved up.


Deborah Donner writes... "I remember many of the songs from ‘The Pennine Way’ Including all three verses from ‘The song of the Pendle Witches’. I also remember a set of sea themed songs which included ‘Shenandoah’ and ‘Heave, heave away’ and one booklet called ‘The Bluebird Line’ which was my favourite. If you do ever locate these booklets – please do let me know, I would dearly love to see them again!"

Music Workshop Stage 1

A series of broadcasts provided by the BBC for the School Broadcasting Council for the United Kingdom. Many were written and produced by William Murphy.

"In our junior school there was a radio receiver in the headmaster/secretary's room which fed a network of speakers in the classrooms. Before the start of a programme, the teacher plugged a speaker into the wall socket and the whole class could then listen, and play the instruments when prompted by the broadcaster."

Don Carlos the Brave (Autumn 1968)
Music Workshop Stage 1 Don Carlos the Brave
Don Carlos the Brave (Autumn 1968) Don Carlos can be seen in the foreground, playing his guitar. "Come on Don Carlos, give us some music for we are in our places. Strike up the rhythm of the bolero and we will try to follow..."


Songs included: The Troubadour, Cavalry Mouse, The Last Straw, Bolero, Hickory Dickory Dock, Jesus and the Troubadour.
     
Three O'clock Grandad (Spring 1969)
Three O'clock Grandad

Three O'clock Grandad - BBC Radio for Schools, Spring Term 1969. Music Workshop Stage 1.

This was all about a grandfather clock that would only strike three. The children Peter and Jill try to give the clock away, but finally realise it is a unique timepiece which belongs at home rather than anywhere else. The songs and verse combine with the illustrations in the booklet to tell the story as it unfolds. There would have been more explanation of the story in the book, but here are some of the words to the songs which were copied down at the time...


Eb-en-e-zer Bar-tho-lo-mew Browne

My name's Eb-en-e-zer Bar-tho-lo-mew Browne. Any odd jobs! Any work to-day?
I'll do any odd job for just half-a-crown. What, carry a clock of such fame and renown.
Yes, Three O'clock Grandad I'll lift and carry right up to the top of the hill.

'Please carry this clock' said young Peter and Jill. Any odd jobs! Any work to-day?
To the Fishmonger Sprat at the top of the hill. You'll need all your strength and you'll need all of your skill.
Yes, Three O'clock Grandad I'll lift and carry right up to the top of the hill.

So up the steep hill to the Fishmonger's shop. Any odd jobs! Any work to-day?
I puffed and I staggered till reaching the top and not for a moment did I ever stop.
Yes! Three O'clock Grandad I'll lift and carry right up to the top of the hill.



At the Fishmongers...

When through his shop window the fishmonger spied, Ebenezer Bartholomew Browne, he helped him to carry his burden inside, in a corner they set the clock down.

When shopping for herring or kippers or cod or other fine fish for their tea, the customers found it exceedingly odd, when old Three O'clock Grandad struck three.

Now nobody knows just how true it might be nor why it should happen to Sprat, but people stopped buying his fish for their tea and the reason they gave him was that:

When shopping for herring or kippers or cod or other fine fish for their tea, the customers found it exceedingly odd, when old Three O'clock Grandad struck three.

The fishmonger puzzled and scratched at his head and found that a good answer was to give the old clock to the blacksmith instead. He decided to do this because:

When shopping for herring or kippers or cod or other fine fish for their tea, the customers found it exceedingly odd, when old Three O'clock Grandad struck three.


Eb-en-e-zer Bar-tho-lo-mew Browne

Eb-en-e-zer, you'll climb once again the steep slope, such children as Peter and Jill, would love to see Three O'clock Grandad I hope in the school at the top of the hill.

At the School...

At school they had such an awful shock When the clock arrived for all to see. Oh! What have we here? A Grandfather clock. The teacher looked at it wond'ringly.

No, no. Oh, no! This fine old clock may be very bold, but school is for those who're not so old.

The grand old clock in the schoolroom stood and the class looked on admiringly. Oh Jill, said the teacher, you never should dispose of a clock of pedigree.

No, no. Oh, no! A clock so old, I hope you'll see, may well be a clock of pedigree!

A fine old clock is a joy to all It'll serve the family faithfully and striking three's what I would call a sign of reliability.

No, no. Oh, no! For striking three can only be a sign of reliability.


A Clock of Distinction and Character

A clock of distinction and character and character, and character. A clock of distinction and character, a wonderful time piece is he.

A clock that strikes one, two, three, four or five, three, four or five, three, four or five. A clock that strikes one, two, three, four or five Is useful for telling the time.

But one that strikes nothing but three is rare, but three is rare, but three is rare. But one that strikes nothing but three is rare, and worth many hundreds of pounds.

Oh, Three O' clock Grandad is striking three, is striking three, is striking three. Oh, Three O'clock Grandad is striking three, he's glad to be home once again.



And some more lyrics remembered by Clive Zietman:

"Whatever the hour and whatever the day Whatever the time of the year Old Three O'clock Grandad would always strike three, would strike three, would strike three Three O'clock Grandad is striking again."


The Island People (Summer 1969)
Music Workshop Stage 1 The Island People
The Island People (Summer 1969): An Irish sequence of music and poetry by Seamus Heaney. Music by Gerard Victory.

This theme was about the people of the Isle of Arran.



Songs included: Ceili on the Deck, The Oarsmen's Song, The Basket-Maker's Song, Neddy, The Dealer. 
     
The Basket-Maker's Song:

The up-rights are sharpen'd, pegged straight in the ground.
I pick forty rods, here's how they're stuck round.

The up-rights are sharpen'd, pegged straight in the ground.
I pick forty rods, here's how they're stuck round.

Four twos for each side, three twos for each end.
Four threes for the corners where all the rods bend.



Music Workshop Stage 2

December Fair (Autumn1969)
December Fair

December Fair - BBC Radio for Schools, Autumn Term 1969. Music Workshop Stage 2. [Booklet shown is from Autumn 1968]
   


Twm Shon Cati (Spring 1970)
Twm Shon Cati
Twm Shon Cati - BBC Radio for Schools, Spring Term 1970. Music Workshop Stage 2.
   


Konrad of the Mountains (Summer 1970)
Konrad of the Mountains
Konrad of the Mountains - Music Workshop Stage 2. BBC Radio for Schools, Summer Term 1970.
   
The Pennine Way (Spring 1971)
The Pennine Way
The Pennine Way - Music Workshop Stage 2. BBC Radio for Schools, Spring Term 1971.
   

With thanks to Deborah Donner for remembering these two songs...


The song of the Pendle Witches

We crouch on Pendle Hill, when all the moors are still.
We feed on roots and moory moss and shale.
We weave our spells of spite, all through the creeping night.
Then skip and dance like scarecrows in a gale.

Oh we’re all skin and bones, we’re bony looking crones.
Like bony cats we bare our teeth and grin.
We’re crones in rotting rags, we’re haggard looking hags.
And jugs of sour moonlight keep us thin.

And we make wicked charms, for churches homes and farms.
With beetles woody worms and moldy clay.
And certain misty spells, are meant to haunt the fells.
And lead the Pennine climbers - all astray!


Hadrian's Song

Oh, Hadrian was an emperor, with laurels for a crown.
He walked the length of Pennine lands with one long roman frown.
He led his gleaming legions north by peak and moor and ghyll.
For the Picts of Caledonia were plundering their fill.

Oh Hadrian was an emperor, who braved the madding thrall.
He marched a hundred roman miles, to build a roman wall.
And stone and stone was laid on stone
From Tyne to Solway Firth (words not known) (words not known) his worth.



Another Shore (Summer 1971)
Another Shore
Another Shore - Music Workshop Stage 2. BBC Radio for Schools Summer 1971.
   
My favourite song from 'Another Shore'...

Bonjour, Nicolette!

Nicolette on her way to market, walking along the ‘Grand Boulevard’.
Everyone there is glad to see her, all say ‘bonjour’ whoever they are.

“Bonjour, Nicolette, comment ça va?
Oh ça va très bien merci. Il fait beau temps, le ciel est bleu.
Ça va très bien merci.”

   
   
Singing Together

Another popular BBC Schools broadcast of the era was Singing Together.


References

The National Arts Education Archive Database provided the following references:

Music Workshop Stage1

Institution BBC Radio for Schools:

Three O'clock Grandad - Includes notes for the teacher. Series written and produced by William Murphy.
Date 1968 Classmark BHPMMU00227 Date 1969 Classmark BHPMMU00228

The Wild West - Date 1970 Classmark BHPMBK00125

The Bluebird Line - Date 1970 Classmark BHPMMU00229 - Includes teachers notes. Series written and produced by William Murphy and Douglas Coombes.

The Violin-Maker: BBC Radio for Schools, Summer Term 1970

Music Workshop Stage 2

Institution BBC Radio for Schools:

December Fair - Date 1969 Classmark BHPMBK00218 Notes: Series written and produced by William Murphy. Music composed and arranged by Michael Jessett. Includes teachers notes. Autumn term.

Twm Shon Cati - Date 1970 Classmark BHPMBK00219

The Pennine Way - Date 1971 Classmark BHPMBK00220

Paris Under Gaslight - Date 1972 Classmark BHPMBK00221


Links

BBC School Radio 

Broadcasts for Schools
The 'Broadcast for Schools' site contains a wealth of information, pictures and schedules.
   
The National Arts Education Archive (Trust) - under new management since December 2009

National Arts Education Archive Database

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated 20th June 2012. With thanks to Ben Clarke, Deborah Donner and Clive Zietman.

All logos and trade marks are the property of their respective owners and are used on the Light Straw site(s) for review only. Students and researchers are recommended to make their own independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information contained therein.