Living Song exists to empower Young Artists and build communities through singing. We challenge limiting assumptions about what all young people can achieve, put young leaders centre stage and create innovative lifelong learning opportunities for all, insisting on diversity and inclusion in their widest sense. In August 2017, Living Song became a Community Interest Community (CIC) to enable us to build wider partnerships with Newham Council and other organizations, develop our funding steams and to create more opportunities for young people and communities to shine through singing. An advisory board was appointed, and we have continued to go from strength to strength.

Who Are We?

The company is directed by an Executive Director, with a board of two Non-Executive Directors and a team of advisors from across a wide range of music performance and education contexts. We have a Youth Board of five young people aged 16 – 25 who meet regularly to discuss and advise of relevant issues for them. We work with a range of tutors, artists and music practitioners, identified for their bespoke skills and experience for each project.

Who Do We Work With?

We work with schools and pupil referral units, community organisations, music education hubs, libraries, local authorities, commercial organisations, businesses and a range of community singing groups and choirs.

What We Do

Living Song has recently reviewed its work programme to see how it can be streamlined to maximise our impact.  During the next 18 months – two years we will focus our attention on delivering three core programme areas which are:

  1. A Young Artist apprenticeship /’future leaders’ programme
  2. Delivering workshops in schools and the wider community
  3. A tailored Living Song Choral Music Experience (CME) 

These work areas are outlined in more detail below. Although distinct projects, the three areas of work overlap and reinforce each other, for example, a core element of the young leaders’ programme is the delivery of workshops in schools or for the wider community, and a handful of participants will be chosen to join Living Song’s CME course. 

For further details about our programmes, please contact us.

1. Future Leaders Apprenticeship Programme

  1. Programme details 

Core to Living Song is empowering young artists aged 16-25, including supporting new leaders in their journey to become facilitators and skilled practitioners as part of their portfolio of work.

Up to 12 young people per year participate in programmes which consists of:

  • 4 half days of direct training
  • 4 half days of coaching through school and community-based workshop delivery
  • Mentoring over a 10-month period
  • A minimum of 3 performance opportunities (attached to local events)
  • Living Song Certification

1.2. Benefits/outcomes/impact

Young Artists continue to feedback about the ‘life changing’ elements of this work, not least their growth in confidence, purpose and growing sense of agency as they are encouraged and supported to take increasingly bold steps in leading in a variety of contexts, community and education settings, choirs, workshops, community groups. They report the value of their growing networks of other young people to collaborate with and journey alongside as they develop and gain:

  • Enhanced musical know-how
  • Workshop leading skills
  • Conducting and vocal technique development
  • Performance skills
  • Rehearsal techniques
  • Song-writing approaches
  • Individual mentoring
  • Introduction to impact of singing on mental health and well being
  • Experience of workshop leading in a range of contexts
  • Performance opportunities in ensemble and solo
  • Signposting and future planning
  • Networking
  • Certification

2. School / Community Outreach Programme

2.1 Programme details

Living Song works in partnership with primary and secondary schools, youth, community groups, libraries etc…  to deliver singing and/or song writing workshops, one day or as a series, leading to a celebratory sharing event. Broadly the training can be delivered in two ways:

MODEL 1 SINGING: children, young people and their leaders, plus the artists delivering the projects are provided with bespoke tools and repertoire to enrich and upskill participants in singing, building positive singing cultures.

MODEL 2COLLABORATIVE SONG WRITING:  This model is structured as MODEL 1 (leader and teacher training, workshops, sharing event), but the workshops in schools or community groups focus not only on singing, but on the group being facilitated to write their own song together during the workshop, or workshop series.

Living Song has considerable experience in leafing both models, which are flexible and can be structured in any way from a one-day event, to a series of trainings, workshops and celebrations of outcomes of any size. We can curate deliver bespoke programmes to specific communities or across a group of schools, by arrangement.

2.2 Benefits/outcomes/impact

For all programmes the students benefit through this project by:

  • leadership amongst students of more advanced level
  • raising their levels of singing in primary and / or secondary schools, specifically focusing on the healthy voice, musical interpretation and technique
  • exploring interpretation between pop, jazz, world and classical choral styles of singing
  • having fun together while increasing learning skills and engagement

The artists and / or teacher benefit by all of the above, plus:

  • attending specialist training in leading singing and creative facilitation
  • raising confidence and skills in leading singing activities and choirs both in the classroom and community
  • creating opportunities for teachers to work with artists offering specific vocal leading practice
  • creating opportunities for freelance artists to build their portfolio of work and connections
  • challenging and raising the quality of singing in their schools
  • developing resources to use with their singers in assemblies, concerts, events
  • exploring ways of introducing inspirational, popular, folk and choral styles of singing to all students and community groups
  • introducing a variety of methods for creative work with choirs

Future young leaders benefit in the following ways… whether delivering large or small scale?

  • gaining leadership and workshop experience in a safe, learning environment
  • gaining confidence and insight into their own future pathway possibilities
  • having an opportunity to explore their strengths and weaknesses while receiving bespoke and group mentoring
  • observing a wide range of teachers and artists in different contexts to broaden their reference base
  • receiving training, as well as mentoring and coaching
  • building community of professionals and peers to collaborate with in future

3. Choral Music Experience (CME) (Tailored by Living Song for Local access)

3.1 Programme outline

The CME Institute for Choral Teacher Education (CME) is a professional development program for conductors and choral teachers. The repertoire-based curriculum emphasizes the essential elements of singing and conducting, score study and rehearsal planning, choral pedagogy, and performance practice.  Living Song hosts an annual CME Course in Newham, East London since 2012, building-in relevant materials suited for a broad range of choirs and school settings in the UK.

The advantage of attending a local, London based course is that we have spent ten years honing and shaping the course to be fully relevant to London and the wider UK experience, taking the essence of excellence provided by the aims and mission of CME and interpreting into the UK schools and community contexts, in terms of repertoire, building blocks of learning and relevance across written and aural traditions. This makes the course accessible and impactful to all styles of practitioner, be they Gospel, World Music, School or Community choir or church choral conductors. It also saves expensive travel to the USA for an Institute, as London is highly accessible for UK and EU participants.

Participants will receive:

  • 1 x taster session (online)
  • 3-day in person training, which includes: 
    • Comprehensive Music and Study pack
    • Conducting and Vocal Technique Classes
    • Score Marking and Analysis
    • Reflective Rehearsal Pedagogy
    • Demonstration Choir
    • Conducting Master Class option with Choir
    • CME Certification at levels 1, 2, and 3 with pathways to Artist Teacher Certification.
    • Saturday eve special workshop (optional)
  • 1 x follow up session 6 months later (online) which will include feedback from participants on how they have used the training they received and what they have done since the course. 

3.2 Benefits/outcomes/Impact

Teachers and Community leaders working with young people report raised musical expectations about what children and young people can achieve and enhanced empowerment about how to facilitate these enhanced results in less time and with more fun. Through CME they gain insights into engaging, kind, respectful, collaborative ways of working to enrich the learning environment and achieve better results in shorter time. Participants return year on year to continue their journey.