Tag Archives: food

Using Food to Teach Music

Following on from our previous education blog A Little Taste of Chef Claire’s Musical Soup, our trainee animateur Hannah Bishop wrote about her experience during our food-themed education projects, including some of the techniques the education team came up with to help children learn about music. From musical recipes to tasty-triads, I’m sure you’ll agree that some of the methods used were absolutely ingenious. Read on to find out more!


I was lucky enough to spend four successive Fridays with Claire Bloor, observing and supporting her work with Year One and Reception children in both Lansbury Lawrence Primary School and John Scurr Primary School. The project, entitled ‘The Fantastic Feast’, was designed around the theme of ‘food’, culminating in a concert with the City of London Sinfonia Brass Quintet.IMG_0596

During the workshops, each class designed a recipe to present to the chefs (musicians!) at the concert. Claire encouraged the children to be adventurous with their choices resulting in recipes such as ‘snake and crocodile soup’ and ‘insects and mashed potato’! Each class learned the chorus to The Chef Song, which Claire wrote, plus a verse incorporating their recipe ideas.

The concert involved the CLS brass quintet, dressed as chefs, playing different examples of music from all over the world. Claire was able to use this to link different food-types to different countries. These pieces were interspersed with each class making their musical recipe (with a lot of help from some amazing props!), singing their verse to the chefs and all the children singing the chorus. Multiple performances of the chorus, plus breaking up the music from the quintet, was a great way to ensure that the children were completely engaged throughout the hour-long concert.

“A major triad from one of the chefs meant that the food the children had cooked was good, and a minor triad meant that it was disgusting.”

IMG_0624Throughout the project, Claire had been using major and minor triads to teach the children to recognise the difference between the two. A major triad from one of the chefs meant that the food the children had cooked was good, and a minor triad meant that it was disgusting. In the workshops, Claire and I took turns to play a broken triad and the children sung it back, to either ‘yum, yum, yum!’ (major) or ‘bleugh, bleugh, bleugh!’ (minor). This was used in the concerts and each time the children were correct. It was great to see how simple and fun it can be to teach something like this to young children, without having to explain it using words.

“It was great to see how simple and fun it can be to teach something like this to young children, without having to explain it using words.”

IMG_0618I learned a huge amount working with Claire and she was very encouraging for me to lead
warm-ups and song singing in the sessions, allowing me to experience leading younger children with her support and guidance throughout. She had some great games and short-activities up her sleeve and it was invaluable to observe how she kept a group of thirty 4-6 year old children engaged for an hour each week. Many thanks to everyone at City of London Sinfonia for this brilliant opportunity.


If you would like to find out more about our education projects, please visit our website.




A Little Taste of Chef Claire’s Musical Soup

May has been a busy month for the education team here at the City of London Sinfonia with our ever-popular Crash Bang Wallop! family concert at Cadogan Hall on 17 May and various KS1 outreach projects in Tower Hamlets and Harrow. In this blog post, we’ll be giving you a taste of what these projects have been about, with everything from insect sandwiches to musical instrument soup. 

Led by the CLS education team and animateur-in-residence Claire Bloor, our family concerts and education projects are designed to provide an easy and accessible introduction for 3-7 year olds to classical music and instruments of the orchestra. In this series which was all about food, Claire plays a chef whose task it was to cook up the most extravagant musical concoction. A combination of musical flavours (attained from the musicians playing into the pot!), different cuisines (represented by repertoire from around the world) and the audience’s own culinary contributions (in the form of ‘recipe songs’ and ‘dishes of the day’), Chef Claire’s musical soups by the end of the concerts were certainly…..  eclectic! Sharing is caring so in this post, we’ve included some pictures, some (hilarious) lyrics to some of the recipe songs the kids composed as well as some exemplary “Dishes of the Day” from our Crash Bang Wallop! family concert. Enjoy!

N.B. We do not recommend trying any of the recipes included in this post at home. 


Recipe Songs

♪ This is the special of the day, but it takes like the floor!
A mixture of slugs and smelly pants and arm pits – yuck yuck! ♪

♫ Something is wrenching on my tongue and it feels an ant.
I fit in some bread and it’s very cold, it’s an ant sandwich! ♫

♪ Slimy, disgusting, super gross. Revolting as well.
Slug-tastic dinner for you to try, it’s gooey and cold. ♪

♫ Pea jelly makes you very ill, it is lumpy and raw.
Water and spice add character but it’s not very nice. ♫

♪ Kiara has made you a nice surprise, taste it – bleurgh bleurgh!
It’s sticky and jagged, it’s horrible and it smells like poo! ♪

♫ I can feel an ant on my tongue, there’s some custard as well.
Everything is mouldy – I feel sick. Pass the bucket right now! ♫

♪ Spiders and webs will make you squirm, so will wiggly worms.
Add in some really smelly pants, it’s an insect sandwich. ♪

♫ Snails and slugs with rotten eggs, they smell stinky and gross.
Ants and potatoes and mash it up. Wait there’s one on my teeth. ♫

Dishes of the Day!

Keep your eyes out for more details for our next Crash Bang Wallop! family concert, ‘Magic and Mischief’ on Saturday 1 November. Booking opens beginning of July!