This project follows from a pilot project in 2014 (Wonderful Things in Song) in which Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings (ie nurseries) in Burnley and Pendle took part. Wonderful Things in Song introduced children, and their families, to music at the atmospheric heritage site, Gawthorpe Hall, in order to develop a rich musical response. The children were encouraged to create and share songs inspired by the Hall’s collection and learn about one another's cultural heritage through music making.
The project had a significant impact on the development of the children who participated, more than we had anticipated.
“I think it has made us even more aware of how powerful music can be to develop communication. We have plans to develop this even more throughout the curriculum this year.”
“Staff have benefited from seeing a music expert in practise and plan to use the songs and techniques with their groups… (They saw that) just by using their voices the children will develop their confidence and communication skills.”
“The project reinforced our value and understanding of music as a tool for communication, we want to revisit this next term for children who have lack of confidence in speaking… it just adds an extra dimension to our work.”
In partnership with the settings and the specialist music leaders involved in the pilot we devised a new programme intended to further develop and extend that successful model to fully embed music making within the core work of the settings and the everyday lives of the children.
Songs from the Singing Ringing Tree aimed to support the development of children at three EYFS settings in Burnley and Pendle, targeting participants at risk of delayed development who are at socio-economic disadvantage and/or speak English as an additional language. We worked in partnership to deliver a sustained programme of music making activity with 150 children aged 3 to 4 years over the course of a full academic year, using Mid Pennine Arts' public realm work to inspire a rich musical response, such as the Singing Ringing Tree.
The work was delivered by specialist Early Years Music Leaders who collaborated to develop and share best practise in early years music.
“Brilliant idea bringing in experts, it helped staff with knowledge and understanding which will feed through to day to day work.”
“It changed my perception of how the children like music, I know now that anything can be a song - washing, tidying etc. and that everyone has a voice – we do voices in group times (loud, quiet, robot.)”
“The staff enjoyed joining in, but sometimes lacked confidence in delivering themselves. One member of staff has since gone on training in music and how it can be used to deliver letters and sounds development, but other staff are sometimes reticent to use it without a music professional.”
“The strategies our Music Leader used has confirmed some of the work that our setting was already doing, e.g. sounding out syllables, but he also showed staff how to use children's ideas and bring music into that, staff were worried they wouldn't get it right but he has shown them how to take the lead from the children.”
The project was funded by Youth Music, Lancashire County Council and the Stocks Massey Bequest Fund.