Find your voice and share the joy of singing
The Primary Singing Toolkit is a free digital resource for primary music teachers. The resource is brought to you by the ISM Trust, in partnership with the Voices Foundation and supported by the Schools Music Association (SMA). Discover inspirational and practical singing strategies to enhance your music curriculum, and feel empowered to share the joy of singing with your students.
Why teach children to sing?
Everyone has a voice. Singing is integral to musical learning and is a powerful way for children and young people to become proficient musicians.
Singing on the curriculum
The National Curriculum for Music in England requires that all pupils at Key Stage 1 and 2 ‘learn to sing and to use their voices’. England’s National Plan for Music Education states that, during primary years, singing should be the ‘golden thread’ to ensuring high quality classroom music provision. Singing is also a focus of the Model Music Curriculum, the National Plan for Music Education in Wales, the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland and the Arts Area of Learning in the Northern Ireland Curriculum.
The benefits of singing
Research has shown that engaging with music may enhance cognitive functions that are key to children's learning.
Singing has been shown to alleviate stress and improve children's alertness, behaviour and self-esteem. It helps them bond – whatever the song or language. Through singing, children can share emotions and express themselves non-verbally.
Finding your voice
To effectively teach young people to sing, you first need to find your voice as a music teacher. If you are nervous, remember you are not alone! There are tools to help you.
The Primary Singing Toolkit will enable you to build your confidence in teaching singing, so that you can sing regularly with your students, and normalise singing in your school.
Content and key learnings
Take your students on a journey from curriculum to group performance with the Primary Singing Toolkit.
The resource is made up of 14 videos (almost two hours of video content), plus accompanying downloadable lesson plans, which encompass seven full music lessons. It will help you explore:
- Call and response
- Pitch and composition
- Healthy singing practices
- Leading a choir
- Part singing and leading a round
- Refining a song
Primary Singing Toolkit webinar
The ISM Trust and Voices Foundation held a webinar explaining how to effectively use the resource, which you can watch back for free.
Who has created this resource?
The resource is brought to you by the ISM Trust, in partnership with the Voices Foundation and supported by the Schools Music Association (SMA).
The singing strategies are led by Voices Foundation Choral Director Charles MacDougall and Musicianship Director Jenny Trattles, and the videos were filmed with teachers and students from Winterton Junior School, a state primary school in North Lincolnshire.
The Primary Singing Toolkit is designed to complement the ISM Trust’s award-winning, free resource, the Primary Music Toolkit.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
You have completed of 14 videos
Introduction to the song
In the introduction to lesson 1, we introduce the resource and meet the teachers who will be learning alongside you.
Teaching a call and response song
In lesson 1 part 2, we start by teaching the song 'Essequibo River' to the class.
Playing with the song
In lesson 1 part 3, we develop our learning by playing with the song.
Dancing with the song
In lesson 1 part 4, we play with the song by dancing whilst singing it.
How to use a song to teach music elements
In the introduction to lesson 2, we discuss how to use a song to teach specific music elements.
Using the song to teach pitch
In lesson 2 part 2, we use the ‘response’ phrase to identify pitch level changes using body percussion and a clapping game.
Using the song to teach me, ray and doh
In lesson 2 part 3, we use the song to teach the singing names 'me', 'ray' and 'doh', and to compose using 'human notation'.
Game to notation on a stave
In lesson 3, we use 'human notation' as a tool to teach the beginnings of written notation.
Creating a composition using blob notation
In lesson 3 part 2, we create compositions using 'blob notation' on a three-string stave.
In lesson 3 part 3, we introduce the five-line stave and expand on our understanding of rhythm and pitch.
In lesson 4, Charles and Jenny reflect on the sessions so far and we move on to vocal and choral development.
Getting started with leading your choir
In lesson 5, we look at the key concepts of conducting and choral leadership, with a toolkit to start every song and some things to watch out for.
Building to part singing and leading a round
In lesson 6, we move from singing in unison to leading a two, three and then four-part round.
Refining a song
In lesson 7, we think about how to refine a song, using the three Ps - Posture, Precision and Performance.
We hope the resource has been helpful, and has empowered you to share the joy of singing with your students.