We are the champions!

Year two of the music champions programme is underway.

At The Spark we believe that 'everyone is musical.' At a key time in their development we want children to have access to high quality musical, playful encounters.

To help with this vision we have enlisted 12 Music Champions who are ready to build upon the 'community of practice' that has already been developed during Year 1 of our Music Champions programme.

In November, Project Mentor Nicola Burke led a professional development day at De Montfort University to kick start the 2nd year of the programme.

As well as working in and working with staff and children in libraries, children's centres, pre-schools and nurseries the champions will continue to share learning through a further series of network events and at an end of year Symposium.

The champions range of musical backgrounds and instruments is rich and diverse, from the fascinating sounds of the hurdy gurdy to the majestic harp; a range of strings, voices, flutes, drums and even everyday objects you might find in your home or garden, like sticks and twigs, and wooden spoons! They are currently busy choosing new instruments for the children and families to use when they go into the early years settings for 12 weeks in January 2022.

Look out for our updates to find out how the children, families and champions develop their musical skills, creativity and well-being over the course of the project.

Highlights from the programme so far:

We're Going on A Bear Hunt

In 2021, Stuart Beard (Philharmonia musician) and Emma (Early Years Practitioner) delighted us with their tales of musical play with toddlers and pre-schoolers based on Michael Rosen's classic children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt.

Imagine the children searching for the SOUND of the bear in the leafy green garden at the children's centre, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city centre; and imagine Stuart (the bear!) hiding with the tuba in the shrubbery, matching the children's footsteps by playing the tuba, step by step, getting louder, and louder and LOUDER as they crept towards him!

This story perfectly demonstrates the project principle – "Music education begins with musical play".

Parental feedback from Year One of the programme in 2021

"I never appreciated how little one's noises can be used to make music and we didn't know how to do that at home - you value what children are saying and their voice counts"