Ditto explores how 8-12 year-old children listen and respond to music

Children's music show promises moments of tension, emotional resonance and humour

Ditto explores how 8-12 year-old children listen and respond to music

What do you think about when you’re listening to music? Chances are a range of thoughts, emotions and memories flood your mind. Add to that the vivid imagination of younger listeners, and you’ve got an area rich for exploration.

Intrigued by the way 8–12 year-old children listen and respond to music, composer Greg Sinclair carried out research at three Edinburgh primary schools as part of his artistic residency with Imaginate. The result is Ditto, a musical journey peppered with moments of silence, to allow children time to reflect on what they’ve just heard.

‘I’m very interested in children’s imaginations,’ says Sinclair, ‘and when I was doing research in schools I would present a piece of music, then ask each individual child what they had been thinking about during and after listening to it. I found that all of them had very different ideas on what the piece was about. So I thought it would be nice to present a piece of music where there are silences, pauses or moments of stillness to allow the children to formulate their own narratives.’

Featuring three musicians on trombone, clarinet and percussion, and a vocalist singing real life quotes about music from the children who participated in the research, Ditto promises moments of tension, emotional resonance and humour. It’s all aimed at an age group old enough to make up their own minds, without being too influenced by the person sitting next to them.

‘It’s a very interesting time,’ says Sinclair. ‘Because children in upper primary school have developed their emotional literacy, so they can understand why they have a response to music. But they’re also at a vital stage before that early teenage phase, where they’re swayed by their peers about their choices and what they like.’

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 20–Sat 22 Jan


A new musical performance conceived by Greg Sinclair during a residency with children's arts organisation Imaginate. Performed by a quartet of trombone, clarinet, vocals and percussion, the piece explores the spaces between thoughts, notes and emotions. Ages 8+.


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