Through our unique Choir Creation scheme, we have developed a reputation for creating thriving AC Academy choirs in schools where there has previously been little or no music education.
The scheme is aimed at KS2 and KS3 (although we can work with KS1 and KS4 if required) and involves three important elements:
- Establishing new choirs at schools
- Training a teacher at the school to become the choir leader
- On-going mentoring support for the newly trained choir leader
A valuable tool for music services nation-wide to deliver the National Plan Singing Strategy, the Choir Creation scheme aims to create sustainable in-school music education with a reach of 15,000 children every year. One of the core aims of the National Plan for music is for schools to have a singing strategy, ensuring that all pupils sing regularly, have access to choirs both in and out of school, and take part in large-scale performances alongside professional musicians. To this end, all of our Choir Creation schools are invited to take part in our AC Academy Gala Concerts once they have completed the programme.
Working with local authorities, music trusts and Music Education Hubs, we are able to identify the schools where our work would be most beneficial. Some of the schools have almost no music education and others are unsure about the best way to continue with the little musical guidance they had.
The aim of the 5-week workshop series is to work with a school to create a new choir or develop an existing one, train a teacher in successful choir leadership, and create a legacy at the school of a skilfully trained choir and teacher to continue long after the end of the programme. This programme is cross-curricular and can replace National Curriculum music sessions.
Each session consists of:
- 60 minutes with students (we can work with a maximum of 100 children but the optimum is 40), in which the AC Academy leader will teach singing and performance techniques. The pupils will learn songs from across all genres and from all around the world. Gradually, the teacher will be given the opportunity to plan parts of the session and lead as much as possible
- 15 minutes one-to-one with the teacher providing specific guidance and training in choir leadership. The aim is for the teacher to be leading independently, with the right knowledge to plan and co-ordinate future choir activities.
The AC music leader will re-visit the school at a later date to monitor the progress of the choir and to offer further mentoring to the newly trained teacher. Our leaders will be on call to offer further guidance at any point through this time.
We encourage the school to give the choir the opportunity to perform what they have learnt with their teacher at the end of the programme.
The teacher being trained should:
- be enthusiastic, have a passion for music and understand its important contribution to the education of the children;
- have a good sense of humour;
- be willing to learn new skills;
- be confident in their abilities as a leader, as the sessions can be intensive.
Working alongside the AC Academy mentor, Gaynor, has given me as choir leader, increased confidence to deliver rehearsals and have a lot of fun whilst doing it! The children and I always looked forward to our weekly singing workshops, always expecting exciting warm-ups and challenging pieces to sing!
Anna Ghazal, Choir Leader, St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, Coventry