Film: 43

Music | 1960 | Sound | B/W

Synopsis:

A classroom of children sing and play along to a televised music lesson, they then repeat the songs in a lesson with their teacher.

An audience of students sit in a small classroom on wooden chairs facing the front, there is a song playing, there are many posters on the wall, at the front of the classroom are some sheet music stands and a television, or TV, the TV is showing a film of three children, a girl, a boy playing the drum and another boy playing the glockenspiel all are singing, a presenter in a suit and tie with dark hair and eyebrows appears onscreen and instructs the viewers to learn the song the children are playing. The teacher sits at the edge of the classroom, on the end of a row of students, all look amused by the TV program, the presenter sings a couple of words, his name is Russel King.

The presenter, his hands raised like a conductor, is telling them to sing after the introduction. The children sit, some behind music stands, and sing along to the tune played on the TV. The words and music come up on the screen of the TV, the notes light up in time to the presenter singing. Two boys and two girls in the front rows look on as the presenter instructs them to sing from the beginning again. A girl with dark hair in a bob singing. The presenter on the TV screen tells them to try again, he raises a finger and tells them to take care with the ending. The notes and music on screen. The teacher, sat next to an older looking child with long hair sing the phrase.

The presenter moves on to the next phrase, he has one eyebrow raised. The girl with the bob and two blonde girls sitting behind her are staring towards the screen, the presenter is asking if the next phrase is the same tune. Then the notes light up as the new phrase on screen is played out by a flute. Back to the girls with the bob and the two blonde girls, they shake their heads slightly, the presenter confirms that the end of the second phrase is different. The presenter now sings it as the notes on the screen light up, he repeats the last bit to emphasise the change in tone and instructs them to sing. The presenter counts them in and the whole class sings it, the legs of the front row of students are visible and the back of the classroom, he asks them to repeat it to make sure the end bit is right. Close up of the face of a small boy with chubby cheeks and his hair combed over singing along. The presenter tells them to put both phrases together. The music and lyrics from the first phrase on screen. The whole class and teacher sing the two phrases.

The presenter informs them that they are going to finish with the wedding song, he is going to introduce the rhythm section. He introduces Robin, a small boy with a fringe, wearing a shirt and a striped tie, the presenter tells the audience that he has a guiro, Robin scrapes the instrument up and down with a metal stick, demonstrating the rhythm he was playing in the song, the presenter asks him how he remembers the rhythms, Robin replies by repeating humpty dumpty in the same rhythm as he has just played. The presenter, hands clasped asks the audience to join him.

The front row of children, four boys in dark pullovers, shirts and ties and one girl, sit ready to copy, the presenter suggests they use an instrument or clap to copy the rhythm, one boy holds a stick in each hand, another boy has two fingers in the palm of his other hand, ready to clap. The presenter demonstrates how to tap out the rhythm, holding up his hands in front of him, tapping two fingers in the palm of his other hand and repeating humpty dumpty. In the front row of the class a girl with a ponytail and a white cardigan holds a scraper or guiro and a boy with a side parting has two sticks, they scrape out the rhythm.

The children face the TV at the front of the class which shows Robin playing the rhythm on the guiro, they are copying him, now Judith is introduced with her instruments, a girl in a pinafore and shirt with a blonde bob is on the screen holding maracas. Judith shakes the maracas in a different rhythm, the presenter asks her what she says to remember it, the girl repeats I can see muffins for tea. The presenter asks the children to repeat it, tapping the rhythm on his hands.

A row of four children sitting in front of the teacher hold maracas, as the presenter suggests, he counts them in. Close up of the hands of a boy in plaid trousers shaking two plastic bottles, made into maracas, in time with the rhythm. The presenter tells them to keep this rhythm going throughout the wedding song. A side view of the class, two rows of girls at the back of the room tap the rhythm with their hands and, the next two rows are doing the same, the front row have maracas and clappers. From the front of the classroom the whole class and the teacher sings and plays along.

TV off, the teacher stands at the front of the class, she is quite young with dark hair done up and a white cardigan, she asks the class to turn to the wedding song. Over the shoulder of the teacher a page of the music book shows the title the wedding song with a picture of a bride and groom and the lines of music and rhythms for the different instruments, she asks them what the real name for the shakers is, a girl with short hair called Linda puts her hand up and responds maracas. The teacher instructs them to say the word, the class says maracas. The class from the back of the room, the teacher asks if they remember the word given to the rhythm, several hands go up, she leans forward to ask Vanessa. The girl with the ponytail and white cardigan replies I can see muffins for tea. The teacher asks them all to say it, counting them in. From the side of the classroom a row of students repeat the phrase and tap in out on their hands.

The class from the corner of the room, the teacher asks the proper name for the scrapers, several hands go up. She asks Suzanne, a girl with blonde curly hair and a dark sweater, she says the guiro. The teacher at the front of the class asks the words for its rhythm. She asks David, close up of the face of a small boy in a patterned woollen sweater, he says humpty dumpty. She asks the whole class to repeat and counts them in. The row of children at the front facing the music stands repeat the words and scrape out the rhythm on their instruments. She starts to point out the third line of music, holding the book open in front of her.

The teacher in front of the class asks them to try the three rhythms together with chime bars, pans across to an older looking girl with a bowl haircut, at the edge of the room playing a large wooden rack with chime bars, she plays out the song to the sound of the class tapping out the rhythm, the teacher says again, pan back across the classroom to the teacher at the front, she asks them to play again but crisper, she leans over and tells Stephen to play the cymbals and instructs the class to sing this time instead of clapping, she counts them in, looking towards the boy playing the chime bars. Close up of hands of the girl playing a simple rhythm on four chime bars with two sticks with balls on the end. The front row of children singing and playing their instruments. Stephen, wearing a cable knit blazer clashes the cymbals, lifting one arm up high. Back to the close up of the chime bars. The teacher stands at the front of the class conducting them with her arms, making emphatic facial expressions and smiling. The children in the front row playing and singing, they reach the end of the song and put the instruments down.

The teacher holds up the book and asks them to turn back to Fernando's song, she turns the pages and the children at the front with the music stands do the same, pan across to the girl playing the chime bars as the teacher tells them to sing it through once. Close up of the hands of the girl on the chime bar as the teacher counts them in. Side view of the girl playing the chime bar singing, it is the same song they were first singing along to with the television programme, across the class and back to the teacher who tells them to put the last phrase right, sounding uncertain. From the front of the class the whole group of children is visible, many smile cheekily, the teacher repeats the last line of the first phrase, emphasising the intonation, the children repeat it, she asks them to sing the full phrase again focusing on the last bit. Close up of chime bars as she counts in. From the front of the class the children singing the first phrase. From the back the teacher conducting them through the second phrase, marking out the end bit with her pointed fingers, she congratulates them saying much better.


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