Outer Space…..

….. has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post! Actually, that’s not even a picture of outer space; it’s a picture of a bruise I sustained on my leg, from falling out of the loft whilst looking for a suitcase, superimposed on a computer generated rendering of outer space!

But SPACE is something I wanted to briefly talk about as it (and more specifically: the lack of it) is a constant issue in many schools.

First thing to point out is that most NÖE Music activities require quite a lot of it: the Poly-Phones are massive, even the smallest set is bigger than most ‘conventional’ musical instruments; the Samba instruments don’t actually take up that much space but it’s very important to spread out when playing them because the sound pressure levels are pretty high, in a small space oppressively so.

The best place for these workshops to be held is in a school hall; sometimes they might be in a dining hall, antehall, dance studio or gym; but for many schools these extra areas don’t necessarily exist.

Often, a Poly-Phones workshop will be held in the same area that lunch will be served, posing an obvious logistical quandary: “How are we supposed to serve X’00 dinners and sandwiches with those things in the way?!?”




Despite the fact that the Poly-Phones take nearly one hour to set up at the start of the day and almost as long to pack away again at the end, they can actually be easily compacted into a corner or side of the hall in no time at all. They slide along a wooden floor without leaving a mark and tessellate beautifully.

In a scenario where lunchtime staff need to start readying the room for dinner service, maybe fifteen minutes before the lunch bell rings; we simply finish the workshop session a few minutes before that, slide all the instruments to one side leaving typically 90-95% of the normal available hall space.

As an example I’ve taken a few ‘before and after’ shots of a school we have visited a couple of times every year for several years now. This school has almost the smallest hall we’ve worked in also, so if it works there, it can pretty much work anywhere!


or this:


or this (I actually had to turn the camera in a little to capture anything in the ‘after’ shot!):


…so there you go: we can work with whatever SPACE you have.*




* would love to do a workshop in OUTER space though! 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *