Boot camp
R Factor workshop in full flow

Since January primary school children in the region have been experimenting with instruments made from recycled products culminating in a child friendly "Boot Camp "with professional music charity MusicLinks where they have planned, written and recorded their own unique musical message to promote the 3Rs of recycling.

Katie Palmer from Crosscrake Primary School explains, "The children were given the chance to feel like a real recording artist for an afternoon. Although it was just in the classroom, they said they'd felt like "proper pop stars"! It was very exciting to hear the finished) result so quickly. The MusicLinks tutor was also very flexible with taking on last-minute ideas from the children, such as adding a vocal harmony and an 'answer back' rap in the chorus. He let these children have a go and so they felt they'd contributed something special. The whole workshop had an exciting feel to it and was very well paced, so children didn't get bored and all felt very involved."

Registered schools must have their entries in by 31st March 2009 in order for the panel of judges to shortlist 6 finalists, three from the North and 3 from South Cumbria.

The three finalist songs will be played on Lakeland Radio, The Bay and CFM and listeners will be invited to vote for their favourite over the week, culminating in a winning song for each of the 2 regions. The two winners will have their song professionally recorded at their school, ready to be used as an on air promotional campaign to encourage everybody in Cumbria to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Andy Halsey, MusicLinks, "The standard of work produced by the pupils has been outstanding. Along with their teachers they have worked extremely hard, and feedback from the schools so far has been very positive. Children seem to have enjoyed the process and felt a real sense of achievement".

The on air judging begins on 20th of April 2009, and the winner will be announced mid May, so get ready to vote for your favourite.

Pictured above is MusicLinks tutor Keith Redfern and the R Factor workshop at Crosthwaite Primary School. Image courtesy of the Westmorland Gazette.