Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Young Song Leaders Rock!

I spent a wonderful morning with 60 children from Poplar, Merton Park and Joseph Hood who were being trained as Young Song Leaders. This is a terrific initiative organised by the very talented Soo Bishop.

The training began with a technical explanation about the mechanics of singing. The children learned about intercostal muscles, the importance of good breath control and how the larynx works. Soo was able to show the children how to feel the vibrations of the vocal cords as the voice moves up and down in pitch.

Soo then demonstrated a range of techniques for teaching songs. This included
  • giving clear , strong visual cues
  • using movements to help associate action with remembering lyrics
  • hand signs to indicate pitch
  • using the phrase "off we go..." to set starting pitch.
The children seemed to catch on quickly and were very keen to start teaching the younger children.

The next step is for the children to go back to school and to start putting this good training into place. We plan for them to come into key stage 1 singing assembly tomorrow to teach a warm up to the younger children. In addition the children will be paired up with their own key stage 1 class to support. They will visit and lead singing at pre arranged times (possibly during class assemblies) In addition they will also lead singing games in the playground.

During Merton ArtsBeat2012 the Young Song Leaders will have an invaluable role in running after school community singing sessions where mums and dads and anyone from the local community will be able to join in. We are also planning for them to perform in a local concert involving all the local schools in our cluster.

Soo and I plan to set up a "Young Song Leaders" blog. This will allow Soo a platform to share her ideas, tips and resources. The children involved will also be able to post comments about their experiences and ask Soo for advice on specific problems they have come across.

Soo's enthusiasm and professionalism is infectious and it was a delight to watch 60 pupils really striving for excellence.

Here is a clip of the children singing. Please bear in mind they had only learned this song for about 10 minutes when this was recorded.Young Song Leaders - Bella mama (mp3)

Thank you so much to Merton Park for hosting and making us feel so welcome!

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