"It must be love, love, love, nothing more, nothing less, love is the best…"
With Valentine’s Day at the heart of February, you will hear a plethora of love songs on the radio, television, in restaurants and in shops. And whether you’ll be spending a romantic evening with that special someone on Valentine’s Day, or whether you’d rather just curl up and hide alone on your sofa, there is no denying that music and romance go hand-in-hand.
As humans, music and songs evoke strong emotions and memories, from the first album you ever bought, to the first gig you ever went to, or the first dance at your wedding. Why is it that from blues to jazz, songs of every genre and from every time in history have touched the human heart? And why is it that when we hear that “certain song”, we are transported back to a place and time and all those feelings and emotions come flooding back? Or that we can recall lyrics to our favourite songs but only if we sing them, for example, attach the words to the melody and rhythm?
The health benefits of music and singing have been well documented. When we sing we release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel uplifted and happy. Singing improves mental alertness, concentration and memory, and by improving blood circulation it allows more oxygen to reach the brain. The Alzheimer’s Society has even established a “singing for the brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s maintain their memories.
Fundamentally, singing is good for you and if singing is good for you, then singing as a group is even better. Singing brings us together, whether it be as part of a community choir, singing in church or singing football chants on a Saturday afternoon when watching our favourite team.
It is this philosophy that supports the idea behind our annual Singarounds. Taking the principal that singing as a large group is uplifting and emotionally rewarding, the first Singaround took place at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) Concert Hall in 2003, under the direction of Maurice Walsh.
The idea was that schools would be provided with songs to support their learning, they would sing in their classes on a daily basis and then come together to perform with other children. The Singarounds are now in their 15th year and over these years, thousands of primary school children have had the opportunity to sing in culturally important venues across Manchester.
This year, the Singarounds are being held on Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th March at the iconic Royal Exchange Theatre. During the two days we will see - and hear! - more than 1000 children from Year 1 to Year 4 sing a range of songs which they have been learning over the term. Not only will children get to sing and visit venues they may have never had access to before, but over the last few years we have also worked in partnership with young musicians from the RNCM to give our school children the opportunity to listen to live classical musicians at such events.
“The Big Sing”, which is being held on Friday 29th June at the Bridgewater Hall, has been going strong since 2002 and invites Years 5 and 6 and any KS2 or KS3 choirs to come and sing accompanied by a live band. Each year we have a different theme; in the past, themes have included: gospel, musicals, and Abba. This year we’ll be singing classic 80s pop songs. To enhance the experience we will be encouraging all children and their teachers to dress in their lycra and leg warmers or similar 80s fashion!
Not wanting to leave out our youngest children, nursery and reception classes are invited to attend the Early Years Music Celebration held at the RNCM on Monday 11th June 2018. As well as inviting children to sing, we also encourage classes to dress up and bring along their own percussion instruments in order to play along with our musicians.
If you’d like more details of any of our singing and music events or support in kick-starting singing in your school, whether it be creating a school choir or repertoire for singing assemblies then please contact Jo Buckler from the One Education Music Team by calling 0844 967 1116, or fill in the form below.
The Singarounds, Big Sing, and Early Years Music Celebration events will see over 4,000 children across Greater Manchester come together to sing in unison over the next few months, proving that music and singing really is good for the heart, and soul.