Singing is uniquely accessible for all kinds of people. It’s a form of music making that offers a whole range of individual and social benefits to both those who are performing and those who are listening. It is a great way to express faith, supports social cohesion, has many mental health benefits, encourages expression, as well as furthering academic attainment.
Our model of class-based music education and interaction with wider society offers schools a fantastic opportunity to better support their students and community. Over the coming years, well-being and recovery will be central to schools’ work and the National Schools Singing Programme is superbly placed to contribute to Catholic education.
Why is it important?
The educational, social, and health benefits of children’s choral singing are well documented. In areas of the greatest economic deprivation, parents and teachers alike have been delighted at children’s increased confidence, engagement and academic attainment. They’ve seen children’s improvements in literacy, numeracy, teamwork as well as a deeper and lasting relationship with their Catholic faith.
The open-access model of whole-class singing produces demonstrable diversity in take up of after-school choir places. This allows great inclusion for all, unlocking aspirations and broadening horizons across social, academic and cultural divides. These after-school choirs further develop children’s life in the Church, contributing to liturgical music in their parishes and schools.
What about the curriculum?
The Leeds Schools Singing Programme has developed a clear and readily deliverable model of whole class singing. Drawing from years of experience, reflection and external advice, we provide sessions that really engage students.
As part of the new national initiative, we are developing a comprehensive singing curriculum for use by Catholic schools. These programmes combine faith themes and instruction with clear modules and deliver as much of the National Curriculum for music as possible.
With input from a number of nationally recognised curriculum and vocal experts this new model provides:
- Outstanding quality-first teaching which is essential in music delivery to schools.
- A set of core faith and music curriculum modules, with recommended musical content and suggested teaching plans.
- An overview of best practice in leading whole class singing, vocal technique, pedagogy, and reward / behaviour management.
- Guidance for sharing reporting, musical assessment and planning efficiently with schools.
- Guidance and suggested training sessions for choral directors to deliver to school staff, enabling them to reinforce good vocal practice in school and further enrich the paid-for provision, supported by our extensive digital resources.
- Advice and a range of models for starting, recruiting for and developing after-school choirs.