Our Taiko Development Project continues in Leicester City Schools. Bullfrog Arts work in partnership with Kagemusha Taiko to deliver specialist Taiko sessions in schools identified by the Virtual School Team and LeicesterShire Schools Music Service. Taiko is very engaging and can be accessed on many levels making it an ideal activity for young people who are in challenging circumstances. Feedback from the Taiko project is always very positive and has really demonstrated progression in many areas for the young people involved, specifically building self-confidence, managing stress and modifying behaviour. We are currently working on an exciting partnership project which will be taking some of our young people on a Taiko Residential in Devon which will be an incredible experience for all involved. Taiko groups have been used to ensure 2 of our year 6 students make a smooth transition into their new secondary schools. This involved running Taiko workshops in their old schools and we will be setting up Taiko groups in each of their new schools.
Funded by LSMS and the Leicester City Virtual School Team The Singing Project is a partnership project which continues to embed singing into the lives of foster children by ensuring the adults who care for and teach them are equipped to use singing to improve emotional health and get ready for learning. The Singing Project works with class teachers to impart knowledge about how singing can really make a difference in the classroom. Whole class singing sessions are delivered in partnership with LSMS to introduce the teacher and students to 10 songs specifically chosen to improve self regulation, ability to deal with high levels of stress, reading emotions and body language. These are key areas which our Looked After Learners may find challenging in a classroom situation. We support the class teachers to build their own confidence singing in a whole class setting and with small groups, something that is often found to be difficult and avoided if you are not a natural confident singer. Evaluation of the project so far has been incredibly positive from teachers, support staff, foster carers and social workers and we look forward to sharing a detailed evaluation shortly.
The Bullfrog Arts Young Leaders Participation Project made up of 3 care leavers continue to meet on a half-termly basis to discuss the work of the Every Song Matters Partnership and help steer Bullfrog Arts company business. These young people ensure the quality of our work as well as jam and play music together with Bullfrog’s professional musicians. The challenges our Young Leaders face in their daily lives mean that we need to take an innovative and completely young-person centred approach to our participation work. This has lead to a participation project that is continually evolving to meet the changing and challenging needs of our Young Leaders.
Fostering Voices is the name of our Foster Carers Choir who have been meeting up now for over three years. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Foster Carers to meet up weekly in term time to catch up and discuss any issues they may be experiencing over coffee after some soothing group singing and the positive emotional impact that this brings. The group have performed at a wide variety of city based events including the Christmas Lights Switch on and have been interviewed and performed on BBC Radio Leicester.
These sessions were led by professional musicians and experienced community musicians who worked within a Residential Care Setting operating a ‘find the key methodology’. Equipped with a variety of approaches we discovered that a few of the young people across the homes we worked in were keen musicians and were keen to meet up regularly to rehearse and then perform at events across the city. This project led to the young people going into the studio to record a self-penned song. A truly inspirational and amazing experience for all involved.
Working in partnership with the Virtual School Team we were able to offer an inspirational education plan for a young person who was a school refuser at the time of our intervention. We were able to contribute to their Personal Education Plan by creating a musical education programme that contributed to their compulsory educational provision. This involved one-to-one student led music lessons, an inspirational visit to London’s Barbican Theatre and opportunities to go behind the scenes at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to see them at work. This particular project led to incredibly positive outcomes for the young person involved.
This was born out of our Curve Sessions which are outlined below and was a fantastic opportunity to bring together all of those young people who’d enjoyed the previous sessions and form a 15 strong choir that would go on to perform at the prestigious DeMontfort Hall to an audience of over 1000 people. The sessions were more focused on singing and the group developed a wide repertoire of songs for their inspirational performance.
Working within the internationally renowned Curve theatre and incorporating elements of craft, theatre and singing these sessions were bursting with creativity and energy. Those who took part benefited from the positive emotional health and promotion of well-being that group singing brings. There were three groups of themed weekly sessions. In ‘Time Travellers’ we created a time machine and composed songs based upon characters we’d met using the contraption whether that be friendly Caveman Dave through to Silent Sue from the 1920s. The focus of ‘Stage Spectacular’ was a journey through the golden era of musicals from the Lion King, Singing in the Rain through to Mary Poppins. We met characters who were affiliated with the stars of the shows. Lastly ‘Musical Mayhem’ was a journey through the decades of pop starting in the 30s and working our way through to the present day. Along the way we met a series of musicians who each represented a decade in popular music.
One of our first projects and a fantastic example of the early partnership developing between ourselves, LeicesterShire Schools Music Service and the City Council. Foster Carers and their Foster Children were given the opportunity to take part in a daylong workshop in which they created a ‘Carnival in a Day.’ Everyone had a great day creating a Carnival Dragon, penning an original song and getting together to have fun, enjoy some craft and benefit from music making together. This was a taster workshop to gauge interest for our upcoming Curve Sessions.