Let’s Sing! engages children and adults of all abilities in active music making centered on singing to improve musical skills and encourage social development. Let’s Sing! is student centred, with an ethos of fun and enjoyment, which applies music education and child development theories to form a practical music education approach. The aim of Let’s Sing! is to improve self-confidence and social skills through singing while also providing a foundation of musical knowledge. This evidence-based music programme was devised by singer and music educator Rachel O’Brien Drew (BA Music, MA Music) who experienced how beneficial singing was in her own personal social development and the social development of the students she was teaching. She recognised that music education was too often academically based and taught in a theoretical way. Rachel developed a musical experience with a foundation in academic research and practical experience which applies music education and child development theories to form a practical music education approach. Let’s Sing! allows students to find their voice, sing in tune on their own and in groups, develop music literacy in a creative way, be self-confident and develop social skills, self-expression and communication skills.
Let’s Sing! uses singing as a basis for social development and musical learning. There is no requirement for students to purchase expensive instruments or equipment in this approach as the main instrument used is the voice (percussion instruments are provided by the teacher). Using students' voices as the primary instrument in the lessons allows the them to realise their own potential and gain self-confidence in their personal traits and abilities.
Let’s Sing! is student centred, with an ethos of fun and enjoyment, thus developing social skills through singing. Students will have the opportunity to sing solo and in groups led by an expert voice in a fun and enjoyable setting. Let’s Sing! engages with students of all levels of abilities, its’ aim is to improve self-confidence and social skills through singing while also providing a foundation of musical knowledge. A key benefit of Let’s Sing! is that it teaches the foundations of music in a fun, creative and active music-making environment. Classes take place in an active music-making environment where student’s sit in a circle on the floor and are also encouraged to move freely around the room for various activities and games.
The Let’s Sing! programme is based upon music education approaches for music teaching in childhood, including methodologies such as those associated with Kodály, Dalcroze and Orff. Students can improve their social skills such as interaction, participation, self-confidence and self-esteem through singing. Students can improve musical skills such as finding and developing their singing voice, inner hearing and memorization, solo singing and group part singing, listening skills, understanding musical forms, pitch, beat and rhythm, moving to music.
Students can improve SOCIAL SKILLS through singing by:
- Increasing their self-confidence through singing in groups and on their own
- Improving self-esteem and independence
- Leaning to understand and regulate emotions and feelings, developing empathy
- Developing imagination
- Improving non-verbal communication skills
- Learning to share
- Learning to take turns
- Learning to pick partners
- Making new friends
- Improving interaction and working cooperatively in a group with their peers and their teachers/parents
- Learning to accept praise from their peers and their teachers/parents
- Processing social information by interpreting what is going on in a social situation and acting appropriately.
Students can develop MUSICAL skills by:
- Learning to sing in tune on their own and in a group
- Singing a range of songs from memory
- Learning to play a variety of percussion instruments
- Learning to actively listen to music
- Responding emotionally to music
- Understanding pitch discrimination through Solfége
- Understanding beat, and rhythm by moving to action songs.
Research has shown that singing can prove highly beneficial to the social, emotional and physical development of children and even adults. Students develop self-esteem through learning how to sing on their own. Receiving encouragement such as peer recognition and praise from adults builds their self-esteem further. Performing a song or completing a musical activity generates a great sense of achievement and self-worth is enhanced. All lessons plans in the Let’s Sing! programme are centered on active music making and experiential learning for children and adults. Group singing enhances social interaction as it brings students from different backgrounds and cultures together and helps build teamwork. Children gain a sense of self-identity by engaging with repertoire based on concepts such as body parts, friends and neighbours. The very act of partaking in singing and music in general contributes to self-identity. Students can learn to relate to the world around them through singing songs which encapsulate cultural awareness of traditions of their own and other cultures. Students learn about their immediate community and develop socialization skills through singing. Music skills can have an influence on “language development, literacy, numeracy, measures of intelligence, general attainment, creativity, fine motor co-ordination, concentration, self-confidence, emotional sensitivity, social skills, team work, self-discipline, and relaxation” (Hallam, 2010, p. 269). Music education does not merely serve the purpose of producing musicians, it can contribute to the social and physical development of children and adults alike.