Going Digital: Our Covid-19 Response
Although the world has changed significantly over the past few months, our commitment to ensuring children benefit from high-quality music education remains unchanged. Whilst we’re currently unable to physically visit schools, our connection with children and teachers continues. We had already been working behind the scenes on a digital strategy, but the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated plans to provide our programmes online.
We are not alone in re-thinking the role that digital has to play in the education space, not just during the current crisis but as part of a re-shaping of learning overall. Simon Toyne, Chair of the Music Teachers’ Association and Executive Director of music for the David Ross Education Trust, had this to say in a recent TES article:
“The online connections that are forming during this time will create a framework for teachers to collaborate like never before and will put singing back on the curriculum agenda for good…The experience at the moment is that all schools are in this together and we are not requiring students or teachers just to be their own resources. They are looking instead to other schools or arts organisations. The resources are up there and there is a sense of being a community…If thousands of kids are following Joe Wicks virtually, why can’t we have the same thing for music in our primary schools?”
Voices Foundation has successfully adapted to ensure that we can still deliver our award-winning approach to music education in a socially distanced world and make our work even more accessible for the long term too. We’re excited to share our first two digital projects with you: Voices Connect and our Virtual Singing Assemblies!
Voices Connect is our new online learning platform, which currently hosts two of our established courses: Musical Foundations and Choral Essentials. Both courses are delivered as weekly 20-minute video sessions that focus in on unique musical concepts or skills, along with accompanying tasks, to ensure that we can continue to teach educators the best methods to inspire children with singing.
- Musical Foundations is led by VF practitioner Sally Cathcart and teaches foundational skills and an understanding of music (pulse, rhythm, pitch) to help classroom or specialist staff provide progressive and high-quality music education to their pupils. Whether it be learning how to teach a song or encourage children to explore their voice, this course provides the groundwork for music education.
- Choral Essentials is led by VF practitioner Charles MacDougall and helps build teachers’ choral leadership skills. The course works to develop teachers’ confidence through the exploration of their own voice and musicianship, showing them how to apply that knowledge to lead choirs effectively. This is taught through a variety of exercises and techniques, enabling teachers to motivate and bring children together through ensemble singing.
The platform launched on Monday, 11th May 2020 for all staff at our partner schools and will run for 8-weeks, with a new video session released weekly. Teachers taking these courses are also provided with 1-to-1 Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) feedback sessions via Zoom with their VF practitioners, ensuring participants feel just as connected and supported as they would in person.
We’re delighted with the response we have already had from teachers and are excited by the potential for us to expand this resource in the long term.
Virtual Singing Assemblies
The Voices Foundation Virtual Singing Assembly is a collection of 10-15-minute sings for children, parents and teachers, designed to support learning while many children are taught at home. #VFVirtualSing launched on Friday 27th March and in our 30+ assemblies already up online, we've been able to reach a new audience, receiving more than 15,000 views across all videos and platforms! We’re thrilled that so many people are enjoying expressing themselves creatively with us online. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to find all previous assemblies and ensure you don't miss out on what's coming next!
A huge thank you to the funders who have helped make all this work possible and thank you to you for taking the time to find our more about our work. We hope you’re enjoying getting creative safely wherever you are. Keep smiling. Keep singing!