Anyone who read Mojo magazine last month (hero edition) would have seen me waxing about one Gerry Kelly. He taught me at an art summer school called Castle Toward and got me into writing songs. Anyways, at Christmas there, he asked me if I would come to his school and give a talk on songwriting at a lunchtime songwriting club he's set up. So today was the day.
I arrived at Our Lady and St Patrick's secondary school at 12.30pm, just before the lunchtime bell, and was introduced to some of the music teachers that run the club with Gerry.
Pupils had been told that an inspector would be dropping by today to hear a couple of the pupils sing and to talk about this and that, so when I walked into the classroom there were a few puzzled faces. I hadn't been back to school in 10 years so it was freaky to me as well. The folks of Our Lady and St Pats were cool.
A band played an original composition. They were called Jaded and their song was called Fire Escape. They just played their first show in Glasgow at the Cathouse a few weeks earlier. They were great, quite far down the line musically, and so young as well. All the band were 15 and 16 years of age.
Then a girl called Rosanne Cauldwell got up and sang a song by Sarah Mclachlan called Angel. What a voice. Pete was nearly crying. She had quite an effect on us. Her voice was untouched, and natural. Some singers put on a weird voice when they sing, like the telephone voice your mum puts on when she is talking to to school or to her work. I had this weird voice thing when I started but this girl was so natural. Effortless. Beautiful.
Questions were asked by the class like What's your favourite song, and favourite memories and how do you write a song? I babbled for half an hour and then it was time to go. We got our photographs taken and then it was off to the SECC for soundcheck.
Anyone reading this who is at school should take a leaf out of Gerry's book. At every school there are always one or two teachers that are interested in art and music so seek them out and ask them to start a songwriting club for you.
Many thanks to all the staff involved and especially Julie Smart of the school's music department.