The projects work with young people from a variety of backgrounds and of differing ability and are made up of workshops, teacher training sessions, teaching resource packs and musical performance. The theme of this year’s Big Sing was The Big Sing Marches for Peace, in light of the World War One Centenary. The Theme of The Big Sing for Mini Singers was At the Seaside and worked with the national curriculum. In total the projects worked with 2780 individuals and 54 schools.
The Big Sing enables children and their teacher to participate in a seven-month music programme. During the programme teachers and pupils learnt 17 songs in their schools, supported and inspired by professional musicians from Sage Gateshead. As well as the school workshops, teachers were given a teacher training session at Sage Gateshead and a custom made resource pack in order to disseminate learning beyond the project timeline. The project culminated with a final performance in Hall One of Sage Gateshead when the schools came together.
The teacher training sessions were designed to give teachers a variety of skills and techniques for teaching songs which they can then take into the classroom. The teachers were instructed in warm up techniques, how to break songs into manageable parts to teach youngsters easily, and how to build these layers back up into performance pieces. The teachers can take these techniques with them so it can benefit the whole school, enhancing future experiences for all pupils and staff.
Both teachers and children seem to appreciate the program: “My staff and kids loved it too. Thank you so much. One child told me that it was the best day of his life! I look forward to taking part next year” – Teacher, Throckley Primary School.
The Big Sing for Mini Singers
The Big Sing for Mini Singers was created to extend the reach of The Big Sing and has been running for 5 years. The Big Sing for Mini Singers responds to a need, identified by schools, for younger primary school aged children and those with barriers to learning. Over the past years they have also developed the ability to take the final performance into the schools themselves so more children can be involved. This year the final performance was shown at two different schools.
The Big Sing and The Big Sing for Mini Singers are already making plans for next year’s program and are sending out save the dates emails to schools so that hopefully even more schools, children and teachers will participate.