Song and dance, and of course Glee, should be at the heart of any school.
Over 100 schools agree with us and here are some reasons why:
1. Contributes to enhanced wellbeing
Anecdotally the benefits of song and dance are well known but the research also confirms the benefits it brings. Various research studies show that dance brings physical and physiological benefits to children and benefits including improved esteem and confidence. Singing in schools also dramatically improves self-esteem (particularly for vulnerable and children with special educational needs), helps children to be more calm and focused, and increases enjoyment and engagement in class, according to a report by the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education
It could be argued according to Logan, G (Scottish Learning Festival 2017) that ‘literacy and numeracy are the outcomes of good health and well-being.’
2. Increases confidence
‘This is the first year our school has ever had a choir and the difference it has made to so many pupils confidence has been overwhelming so a huge thank you for that too’.
Parents, teachers, friends and supporters all tell us that one of the biggest impacts of Glee is the increased confidence that comes from being part of the Glee choir.
3. Has broader educational benefits
There is clear evidence emerging of the links between singing, numeracy and literacy. Song and dance can help with language development, reading, rhyming, diction, timing, numbers, fractions, ratios and problem solving. It is well known that singing can help with language development such as phonological awareness, auditory discrimination, auditory memory, vocabulary development and English language acquisition
4. Engages students in their own musical styles
‘Thank you again for organising ….. It really has made such a difference to our whole school. Children and parents are all excited and eager to contribute whether they are actually involved in the choir or not. When I look out to the playground there are pockets of children all over trying out new dance ideas and I regularly have a knock on my door to show me what they've come up with’
In one research study Teachers reported that 74% of students who participated in vocal strategy projects in the classroom continued to sing/vocalise in their own time – either in extra-curricular activities or informally. Why? - because they were learning how to vocalise their own music, which they saw as relevant and engaging.
5. Has physical health benefits
There are obvious physical health benefits from dance including improved heart and lung condition, muscular strength, muscle tone and weight management. Singing too brings significant health benefits and a recent study (Sept 2017) highlights the benefits that singing can provides for those who suffer from breathing conditions such as asthma. Other benefits of song and dance include boosts immune system and reduced stress.
6. Builds social skills
One of the strengths of being a part of any group is the bonds that form. Choirs help children share experiences and bond. It helps build social skills, teambuilding skills, interpersonal skills including self-awareness, communication skills, and resilience. Many schools report how their choir has a positive impact on motivation and behaviour. Children also learn the value of effort and practice and the rewards of that hard work.
7. It is free and inclusive
Anyone, anywhere can sing and dance. It is that simplicity that makes it inclusive there are no barriers to participation.
Not sure how to start then we can help you start your school Glee choir and we will provide you with a choir workshop and a CPD session. All of which is free. Attendance for the children at the heats and finals and the chance to perform in some of the biggest theatres in Scotland is free. Anyone can take part.
8. Supports wider music understanding
Glee uses contemporary song, pop and rock, which helps to bring in children who may not have previously been interested in music. Through their involvement with Glee they are exposed to other genres of song, dance and music widening their knowledge and understanding. Studies have shown that singing and dancing in school engages pupils with music and that many continue their studies moving onto musical instruments and other music and dance genres. Taylor, one of our first Glee alumni, performed as a member of his primary school Glee Choir in 2014 and is pictured above performing on his own at the 2017 Scottish final in Perth Concert Hall.
9. Engagement with the Community
‘What we know - Family engagement in school has a bigger influence on a pupil’s achievement than socio-economic background, parents’ education level, family structure and ethnicity’ SLF2017
Singing helps to strengthen the identity of the school and makes pupils feel proud to be part of it. The feedback we get from parents, carers and supporters of schools is tremendous and we know from many of our schools that participation in Glee has provided an amazing catalyst for wider engagement across the school community. While there is a charge to come and support their schools (we try to keep the cost as low as possible) people turn out in their droves over 10,000 people watched the performances last year.
Singing brings a strong sense of community to school life that children, teachers and parents/carers enjoy. The Glee Challenge is much more than just the heats and finals. It is about the journey and more e.g. parents/carers support their Glee choirs perform at local homes, shopping centres and at Christmas events.
This year we have helped to build links between six of our Edinburgh Glee Choirs and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children for a series of Christmas performances.
10. It is fun
It sure is. We could say more but we'll let the quote and video speak for themselves
‘I could clearly see the benefits across the school in terms of ethos and contentment. I am not musical or a talented singer but could really see the benefits a 'singing culture' had brought to this school. I would love to gain some knowledge and skills to lead a similar culture within my new school'
Can you afford for your school not to take part?
(This item has been adapted from an original blog from Musical Futures (2015))