Sound Connections has been working with Essex Music Education Hub to consult with a wide range of stakeholders from across Essex to develop a new vocal strategy for the county, and in June 2016 we were delighted to launch it.
We have now launched our Vocal Strategy across the county. If your school would like more support with singing, please contact email@example.com.
Sound Connections started by reviewing the wide range of existing resources and documentation related to singing and wider music activity across the county. This included the annual returns to Arts Council England and information from hub partners. Two open roundtables were held, in November and February, and attracted over 50 attendees including strong representation from schools and cultural organisations. A survey was launched at the beginning of January and by the end of April there were 116 responses, with 60% of those from classroom music teachers. As well as finding out about current singing activities in the county the survey asked how better the music service could support singing activates in the future and how a strategy could best support musicians and music teachers who work with children and young people in the county.
An interim report was produced at the beginning of March, and the main findings were:
- There is widespread support for the development of a singing strategy which brings together all stakeholders in a united and collaborative approach
- Recognition by all on the value of singing in schools as a regular and important activity. It was also acknowledged that there were a number of schools who were trailblazers in their approaches to singing and that they should be encouraged to share their practice widely. There was also support for a large-scale flagship event which would celebrate existing activity and encourage more schools to engage
- The flow of information between all stakeholders needs improving, as there is a sense that opportunities are being missed. Suggestions to achieve this include the creation of a centralised information portal where a wide range of information, including events, can be shared. There should also be regular opportunities for teachers and practitioners to meet, share practice and network
- There needs to be the development of shared resources, easily accessible by schools and other organisations, with an emphasis on supporting non-music specialists
- There needs to be a greater awareness of inclusion and accessibility in all the work that takes place
- The music hub should develop a clearer stricture to support the progression of those young people who want to develop their singing skills and opportunities further
- The workforce need to be support through the development of relevant and worthwhile CPD opportunities
- The benefits of working with artists, cultural organisations and venue partners need to be better understood and valued by schools.