As a headteacher in a primary school, you are likely to be well aware of the importance of music in your school’s curriculum, especially in light of the revised National Plan for Music Education, which comes into force in September 2023. You probably also know about the many benefits that singing and music can bring to your school: from increasing wellbeing and self-efficacy to supporting curriculum learning in and outside of the music classroom. However, have you ever really considered the full benefits of whole-school singing?
At Out of the Ark we have a long-standing passion for bringing the power of singing to every pupil and every teacher in every school. We have more than thirty years’ experience of writing songs to inspire and educate and we know just how impactful singing can be on individuals and organisations alike. And this isn’t just about singing for the sake of singing (though this alone is reason enough!), but rather the broad and deep impact it can have on students, teachers, classes, the whole school and even surrounding communities. This might sound grand and overstated, but we’ve done our own research and seen first-hand just how powerful singing can be when fully integrated into the school day. You can read about our Singing School research here.
Why is Whole-School Singing So Important?
Where to start?! The benefits of singing on student wellbeing are significant. Singing has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, increase self-esteem, and promote positive social connections. When students sing together as a group, they develop a sense of belonging and community that can help combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Whole-school singing takes this a step further, creating a school-wide culture with a cohesive sense of belonging. By incorporating singing into all aspects of school life, you create a safe and supportive environment where students can feel comfortable expressing themselves and connecting with others.
Singing can also help with language development, listening skills and phonics, spatial skills, mathematical skills, memory, communication and social confidence. It aids recall and engages and develops parts of the brain that have been shown to be important in language processing, reading and maths.
These effects are most positively seen when singing is fully integrated into all aspects of school life, beyond just the occasional assembly, the music classroom or a Christmas nativity. Singing should be happening during all curricular lessons. We know that maths songs and English songs have been shown to be particularly effective – they’re great for aiding recall or providing stimulating brain breaks and, for example, trigger the same areas of the brain associated with phonetic awareness and spatial reasoning. In fact, singing has been shown to improve learning in almost every curriculum subject, adding an extra spark to enrich the learning experience.
Routines And Signals
Songs are an incredibly effective way of instilling routines, or acting as a signal; singing on a minibus, or in the playground encourages a sense of unity and belonging.
From the classroom to the lunchtime queue and the playground to the assembly hall, it is difficult to think of a place in school where singing would not bring positive benefits. During our Singing School project, I had the pleasure of visiting many schools that were successfully integrating singing, and one of my greatest joys was walking into schools and hearing singing coming from somewhere almost all of the time. As one school receptionist said to me: ‘It just makes the whole place feel so alive and happy.’ And as one head told me: ‘When children are singing, they’re happy; when they are happy, they are learning better; when they’re learning better, they make more progress – it’s a win-win all round.’
Singing For The Sake Of Singing
At Sparkyard, we believe that singing is something that should be enjoyed for its own sake. While there are many academic benefits to incorporating singing into the curriculum, it's also important to recognize the joy it can bring to the school community.
Singing together is a fun and engaging way for students to express themselves and connect with others. It can be a way to create special moments and memories that students will cherish for years to come. By embracing whole-school singing, you can create a school culture that values the joy and beauty of music.
Why Do You Need Sparkyard?
No two schools, teachers or pupils are the same. To obtain the results seen by the participating schools in our Singing School project, any school would need access to the whole range of topics, themes, ideas, inspiration, fun, colour and life that is contained in our complete catalogue.
So we created Sparkyard, with the ambition to provide primary schools with a comprehensive resource that would enable every school and teacher to harness the power of singing, regardless of their prior experience.
It is packed with more than 1000 songs, but more than that it is full of helpful resources, ‘how-to’s, tips, creative ideas, videos and more – all wrapped up in a beautiful-looking design and brimming with Out of the Ark’s trademark ‘can-do’ attitude.
Whether you are looking for a complete and flexible music curriculum, inspiring assembly plans, a brilliant song calendar or just somewhere to find a song for every reason and occasion, Sparkyard is where you start.
But Sparkyard is more than a start – it’s a journey, an exploration. It is your path to becoming a truly ‘singing school’ and reaping all the associated benefits for every single teacher, pupil and parent in your school.
If you haven't already, start your FREE, 30-day Sparkyard trial now! It only takes five minutes to get set up and there's no obligation to subscribe – no credit card details required.