I was flicking through this week's Guardian education section and my eye was caught by an advert for 'Sing Up'. It couldn't be missed really, as the advert covered four full pages of the paper. Sing up, it appears, is a programme that has been devised to put singing into the heart of every primary school. The reason for this is that singing, they say, improves confidence levels and can be used to improve literacy, numeracy and motor skills.
I have to say, I used singing a lot in my secondary school language lessons – if nothing else, it created a fun environment and a great deal of laughter when the kids realised just how untuneful I am! Better than that though, I found singing to be a great way to get them to actually remember new language. It is certainly true that our brains remember more if there is a tune put to words (think of all the song lyrics you can remember from your youth, or even the number of nursery rhymes you can remember from your childhood).
The advert was enough incentive for me to look at the website, www.singup.org, where I was told that singing can also improve behaviour, health, listening skills and can reduce agression and foster a sence of community. But of even more interest, perhaps, were the resources available.
There is a songbank with great sample songs and also a selection of complete lesson plans that involve singing, including one which encourages Year 6 children to compose their own songs (this section is separated into year groups).
One song that looked particularly amusing and fun was 'Boom, chicka boom'
You can also get information on events in your local area, how to get a singing leader, how to sign up for a free termly magazine for your primary school and how to apply for funding for your music projects. There is even a section for parents and carers. Brilliant.