I do not count myself as musical, or at least not musically trained.
However, I love sounds and when I was teaching would love to create an expressive free flow with sounds and jamming sessions.
In 2019 I was asked some questions by Audrina Lane about my musical connections which not only made me think but also giggle a bit too.
My music and my teaching
As a primarty teacher I would teach all subjects, music was a subject where I also learnt along the way and this made it more fun.
My work groups were named musically, the children had to clap out the syllables for their group names. It was amazing how it made them listen.
Spring Groups: - sun flowers; butterflies; catterpillars; Daisies ; Bees (Each group has a clap of four beats)
Music on the Playbus
These were handmade and chosen to add diversity. Carved drums from Africa; a Marimba; Bells from china and a didgeridoo. It is these instruments that led to my story telling and maybe one day the Weather Witch story. (involving a rainstick)
Audrina's questions about music. (They certainly made me think.)
Do you remember the first record that you bought? Why this one? Does it bring back memories?
The first ever record I bought was ‘Bits and Pieces’ by the Dave Clarke five. I remember I was only young and my elder sister persuaded me to buy it with my pocket money so she could play it on her new record player.
The first ever album bought for me was ‘ABC’ by the Jackson five. I loved playing this album as it was so happy.
Is there a song that could be the theme tune of your life or your personality?
Hard to choose one. My song… well ‘Tragedy’ by steps is one, because the school I was working in was in difficulty and myself and a TA friend put on a play in which we did the steps moves on stage. Had a lot of fun and a cathartic release.
Labi Sifre: - something inside ‘So Strong’ which was the song sung in my final assembly as I made my departure from the school. I don’t think the head knew the lyrics because it said it all to me.
I would also play Enya in class when we needed a calm background especially when sewing.
Is there a song that is the theme tune for any of your characters' lives?
For my characters ‘The wheels on the Bus’ of course but not my favourite.
In your books do your main characters have favourite songs or musicians?
My books are children’s picture books but I have been composing and writing some Nursery bus Rhymes which I have now published: - ‘Daisy Daydream Bus Rhymes and Jokes'.
I love Ed Sheeran song Lego House because Lego is another of my hobbies, He was also involved in a Music Bus in a school. I think it was on a bendy-bus which I would love to visit, perhaps a story for me there one day?
Do you have an “Our Song” one that takes you back to a certain moment? Do any of your characters have a song?
Not really an, ‘our song’. But a musical occasion. My husband and I met at a party where the Eurovision Song contest was being watched, everyone was watching in one room but we were two of the only ones not watching and got chatting. So, we always laugh about this. (Israel won!? I think.)
I suppose I could add 'Summer Holiday' by Sir Cliff Richard to my music as I often blame/thank him for my love of buses, especially those that were used differently.
We didn't get a Summer Holiday in 2020 but 'Gloria the Summer Fun Bus' was published and she did have a summer blog tour.
Tell me a bit about the inspiration, process and of course the book.
The Playbus book was written in 2012, it is the photographic history of the project, the photos had once been part of an exhibition about the project and its work. The book records the ‘Social history’ of this very unique project.
Following its publication, it was the questions, from children I met, that led to the story-telling and the fictional bus stories. The first story was written and published in 2014. From there I have written other children’s picture story books which all seem to have a bus connection. (Where my heart is) Fact to fiction the bus lives on.
What are you currently working on?
I have a few stories in the writing process but the one I really must write is ‘The Weather Witch’. It is a story I tell on my teaching journey and the children love, I have not yet decided how it will end up.
It is a story involving musical ‘Rainsticks’ and hopefully will have information too: what is a rainstick; where do they come from; how do you make them; instructions to make musical percussion instruments; + stories relating to the rain and sun. The ideas are certainly growing.