The workshop on singing for pupils aged between 8 and 11 year olds was led by soprano, Rebekah Coffey at The Model School, Enniskillen on March 24th from 11.15am -12.45pm. There were 22 pupils from 3 different schools involved namely, the Model, The Erne Integrated and Jones Memorial Primary School, accompanied by their teachers who stayed for the workshop. Joanna McVey and Evelyn Hassard, both Members of the MiF committee also attended.
The pupils and teachers were warmly welcomed by the Principal, Mr Glass, who showed them into a colourful room with lots of space.
Rebekah took charge right from the beginning by singing a part from an opera in Italian and by getting the pupils to guess what was happening in the story. She demonstrated how body language and facial expressions and the actual music itself can convey the meaning of the story even if the language is not known. Pupils then had to create their own interpretations of different emotions and scenarios with pupils having to guess what they were trying to convey.
The 22 pupils were encouraged to take part by the teacher in charge of music in each school so there was a lot of enthusiasm, a good atmosphere and a willingness to take part. They were a lively and attentive group who thoroughly enjoyed the activities which were very varied and involved using their voices, their imagination, and lots of movement around the room. The pupils also had to make comments, work in groups, produce their own ideas, follow one another using the space . Rebekah made them so interested in what she was doing that they opened up, and were singing and acting with abandon.
Towards the end of the session they learned a round (Viva la Musica) and were really making progress with their listening and voice skills!
Everyone felt the morning was extremely productive but that it was only a start and another workshop later in the term could be beneficial and could lead the pupils to explore their voices and interpretation even further.
The teachers present felt that they themselves had been inspired by Rebekah and had learned a lot and been given ideas about voice production, group work and how to encourage the pupils to open up their voices.
It was agreed by everyone concerned that we should aim to have a follow up workshop in order to progress ideas already covered and to make the project more fulfilling for the pupils.