Blog / ACO Move

ACO Move

Posted on 21 Dec 2015 by Cristina Maldonado


Nicole Divall with ACO Move students.

The ACO Education Program aims to provide students with the skills and inspiration to explore and continue their artistic journey. As part of the development and growth of the Education Program, ACO Move was created to encourage young adults with disability to learn, practice and develop movement responses to music being played live in a safe and inclusive environment.

The classes are led by movement facilitator Dean Watson, working in collaboration with ACO musicians, percussion (Claudia Chambers), piano (Luke Byrne), photographer (Patrick Boland), Facilitators (Anthea Doropoulos & Sally Crawford), guest artist Emily Dash and invited guests. 

Dean Watson, the ACO’s Customer Relations & Access Manager, tells us more about ACO Move

ACO Move is about access in its broadest sense: access to what we do, who we are, how we work, think and create; access to musicians, instruments, staff, administration and facilities. This broad conception of access helps to encourage inclusive and transparent involvement in the creative process. ACO Move is set up to engage as directly as possible with the best disability arts practice, bringing together young adults with disability and members of the ACO - both musicians and staff.

Inspiration can come from anywhere or anything; as a chamber orchestra, we place a great emphasis on music and sound. It is important to choose music that people feel, and can relate to, on both intellectual and emotional levels. This year we chose music from an array of composers including Mozart, Vivaldi, Barber, Handel, Pachelbel, Tchaikovsky, Bjork and the Dirty Three, as well as exploring and composing a soundscape of our own, using percussion interspersed with string instruments played by ACO musicians.

Over the five sessions we introduced new musical elements each week. We began with percussion in week one, introduced piano in week two and by the time we arrived at our final session, we were engaging in musical and movement interaction with a full string quartet. Along the way we incorporated tactile and sensory elements into our work. Students are encouraged to play percussion, climb under the piano, hold a violin and listen to and feel the sounds all of these instruments make whilst being played.

Along with introducing new music, instruments and musicians we concentrate on developing a new exercise and task each week. During the 2015 sessions we composed and played a percussive composition, devised individual and group choreographies, developed a rhythmic musical piece incorporating clapping, body percussion and strings, sang a contemporary song and presented a short improvised dance solos.

ACO Move is about community and has an emphasis on bringing everyone together, as well as recognising their involvement and worth. For our final session we invite family and friends, arts and disability community workers and all ACO staff and Board members share the collaborative experience with us.

ACO Move is, by design, highly adaptable. As part of our education and access inclusion planning we are now exploring new ways that we can incorporate ACO Move into other communities, arts organisations and venue education programs, as well as our international arts residency programs.

ACO would like to thank the following collaborating organisations for their support: DirtyFeet, Accessible Arts NSW, Murmuration, Shopfront Theatre, Force Majeure, Down Syndrome NSW, Arts NSW and Australia Council for the Arts.

ACO Move Feedback

Congratulations on what was clearly a most successful ACO Move for 2015. It was a perfect demonstration of theory in action. Your event is a perfect example of disability action plans in action, making a difference to lives through access and inspiring the rest of us. Having worked in disability discrimination law and policy in the past and having just joined The Ministry for the Arts, I'm heartened and excited to see these types of activities flourish. Rachel Antone, Assistant Secretary Access and Participation, The Ministry for the Arts

I thought the workshop was beautiful, moving and very disciplined. All involved seem to be enjoying themselves, especially the musicians. I would love my daughter to be part of the program again. There are not many programs that are suitable for kids like my daughter, but the ACO opening their doors and sharing the wonderful expertise is a real treasure. Helen McGrath, Parent of an ACO Move participant

My daughter thinks she is an excellent dancer. This is because she works with such good people. She has a hearing impairment and often finds wearing her hearing aid tiring so doesn’t bother with it.  After the first session my daughter asked for her hearing aid every week because she didn’t want to miss a thing! Tracylee Arestides, Executive Director, Down Syndrome NSW

It’s a great program, ACO Move, and I love being involved. The way that you link the movement and music elements is absolutely the core of this for me. I really like the directed but intuitive responses that you enable the participants to find. A central part of this revolves around the interactive qualities between you, the musicians and the participants, and the way that you run these workshops is inspiring. Julian Thompson, ACO Musician

What a day! (ACO Move extended SOH Utzon Room).The students had the most wonderful time. Thank you for your passion, your humour and your talents. Your ability to engage the students was truly amazing. I hope I get an opportunity to meet up with you again. Karen Houlcroft, St. Edmund’s School for students with Vision Impairment and Special Needs

#ACO15: ACO Move

Movement and music classes for young people with disability.

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