Essex Music Education Hub invited Friday Afternoons’ champion, Charlotte Brosnan, to give us a guided tour of the Friday Afternoons resource and to share with us some top tips to improve singing in primary schools.

Sarah Goldsmith, our Schools’ Music Curriculum Support Officer, writes about our Friday Afternoons CPD which took place on Monday 26th April 2021.

It is so encouraging to know that singing is creeping back into our schools; with safe practise in place, joyful sounds are beginning to ring around corridors and playgrounds once more.  Anyone who leads vocal work in schools knows how important it is to have new songs every now and again and even better, someone inspiration to share them with you.

Essex Music Education Hub invited Friday Afternoon’s Champion Charlotte Brosnan to give us a guided tour of the Friday Afternoons resource and to share with us some top tips to improve singing in primary schools.  Charlotte’s experience shone through the session as she led us through warm up activities, rounds and raps.  As we sung ‘Old Abram Brown’ as a round with our microphones off (or at least it looked like we were singing in a round but who knows) it reminded me that a simple song can open up so many avenues of exploration in the world of a primary music lesson.

The Friday Afternoons resource is free to schools and currently contains 76 songs of varying difficulty that are ready to use in the classroom.  Many Essex schools will be familiar with some of the content as it is part of the Charanga catalogue but as with so many music resources, there is much more hiding behind the better-known songs.

Starting by sharing the original ‘Friday Afternoons’ songs written by Benjamin Britten, the website has grown over the years to include many new compositions and arrangements of traditional folk songs.  The songs in the resource are helpfully ranked from one to five dots to show the level of difficulty but there is musical challenge and satisfaction to be found at all levels.  ‘Project One Dot’ is a great place to explore if you have limited experience of leading singing.

As with any such resource, it is very easy to lose an hour exploring the music and supporting materials but as you do, I am sure you will find plenty of inspiration to take into your next singing session.  And from there, who knows where the stories and songs make take you.

Open an account and explore the free resources of Friday Afternoons.

Charlotte Brosnan is a professional singer, conductor and workshop leader with a wealth of teaching experience who until recently sung full time with Apollo5, a professional vocal group that perform all around the world each year, mixing classical music with jazz, pop and contemporary composition.

In January 2017 she took up the position of Choral Director at the City of London School for Girls and she enjoys a wide variety of teaching and workshop roles for various schools and national organisations namely The National Youth Choir Kenya, she is also an ambassador for Friday Afternoons. Charlotte is a Musical Director for Monumental Choir and Landmark Sound and is in demand as workshop leader adjudicator.

Charlotte Brosnan is currently studying with Ben Johnson. She has been a soloist in many of the World’s prestigious concert venues including The Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, St Marks (Venice), Disney Hall (LA), National Concert Hall (Taipei) and has sung at the FA Cup final and Six Nations rugby games. Charlotte has recorded the Grammy Award winning Album, ‘Light and Gold,’ with the world-renowned composer Eric Whitacre.

*Friday Afternoons is a year-round singing initiative inspired by Benjamin Britten, encouraging quality in singing with young people. Every year Snape Maltings commissions a new set of songs for the Friday Afternoons project, which are sung by young people at events around the world. Alongside providing fantastic new resources, Snape Maltings supports leaders at all levels to ensure their skills continue to develop.