CME Choral Conducting and Teaching Course

CME 2016This summer Living Song organised an inaugural Intensive CME Leadership weekend for Artist Teachers and advanced conductors with Dr. Doreen Rao. The University of Cambridge Primary School hosted twelve delegates in the beautiful new build school. We are hopeful that this will become an annual, or biannual opportunity for advanced choral leaders to collaborate and share deep learning through extraordinary repertoire.

The 2016-17 CME Course for level 1,2 and 3 choral conductors and teachers is now open. Please find the flyer and booking form here.

Fallen Heroes

Fallen Heroes15 of The Vocal Collective of young artists from across East London were brought together once again in July by Living Song to perform for the Summer In The Square event in Mayfair, London. They brought energy and beautiful harmonies and enthralled audiences with their two forty minute sets of a cappella singing and dancing. The event was produced by Go2Musicians who booked The Vocal Collective after their successful introduction at a Christmas Market last year. The young artists sang a range of classics by David Bowie and Prince including Heroes, When Doves Cry and Purple Rain, arranged for a cappella performance by the group with Jane Wheeler, one of their mentors.

Speak Out! Sing Out! Anti Bullying Project 2016-17

Speak Out! Sing Out! is an innovative, creative, one-day workshop devised to work with a whole class, or group, yr 5, 6, or 7 to compose a song collaboratively, developing language of emotional literacy. This special day has been developed and extended to wider London schools after its popular success in previous years. Click here to download the flyer and booking information (PDF).

Comments from both primary and secondary schools who have received this workshop include:

“Thank You SO MUCH for yesterday. What a fantastic day and what a fantastic song! I’ve got the ‘pin popping your ego’ hook stuck in my head right now”.

Hannah McWha, Head of Music, Rokeby School for boys, Newham

“Our Year 5 children worked on the Speak out! Sing Out! project with Living Song. They all engaged immediately with this creative approach during Anti-Bullying Week to produce a very thoughtful song. The children were very excited and were able to concentrate throughout the day on producing their lyrics and putting them to music. They, along with everyone at Grange are very proud of their recorded song!”

Susan Carter – Head Teacher, Grange Primary School

‘To The Future’ PRS for Music Foundation Composition Commission

PRS for Music Foundation logo

Link to PRS for Music Foundation article.

Living Song has been awarded £8500 by PRS to bring together a team of artists with a wide range of experience, including Errollyn WallenShammi Pithia, Amina Gichinga, Joseph Adelakun, Naomi Scarlett, Mohan Dhar and Stefan Vitalis. This is in partnership with Solid Harmony also funded for this project through Newham Council’s Go For It scheme. The artists are commissioned to work collaboratively to create a new choral piece for massed choir, which will be performed by NewYVC UNITE, based at Stratford Circus this summer 2017.

NewYVC UNITE Progress

Young Mayors ElectionIn partnership with Stratford Circus and funded through Youth Music, our young NewYVC UNITE workshop leaders have now finished leading workshops across 16 East London schools for this academic year. Rehearsals and preparation are now well underway for the singing celebration at Stratford Circus on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July, when the north and south clusters of schools will raise the roof in celebration of their singing community and the wonderful music they have been learning, including Dig Deep by Peter ChurchillRise Up by Ayyanna Witter-Johnson,  Handashwani Tarana by Ranjana Ghatak and Une Moto Di Gioja by Mozart, published through CME.  Wish us luck!

CME 2015-16

CME Institute logoThe CME East London 2015-16 choral teaching course has come to a close. 18 teachers achieved their level 1, 2 or 3 certification and 4 more are due to complete after one more day of participation. We also celebrated one certification at Artist Teacher level.

Dr. Doreen Rao led the fourth and final day, with Simon Werner and Jane Wheeler, contextualising the course into the bigger picture. During much practical work, delegates were reminded of the importance of choosing really great music for young singers and choirs, preparing the music and rehearsals in depth and with care, developing experientially oriented teaching techniques and nonverbal rehearsal methods and demonstrating performance practices that ‘embody the skills of adaptability, cooperation and respect’ in our ever changing world. Watch this space for the next course, beginning in November 2016.

A few quotes from delegates this year…

“As a first time delegate I have gained so much, not only as a conductor and leader but as a singer.”

“Keep going – this programme transforms lives.”

“An enjoyable experience where I have been stretched and challenged to improve my conducting technique and choral rehearsal processes.”

“It will influence my leading monumentally, especially the quality of listening.”

“It has been such a journey that has enabled me to grow.”

“It is so great that this course gives equally to the beginner and the most experienced musician and teacher. I always learn something new about theory or practice and I highly value this. For me this was the perfect progression from last year’s Level 1.”


The New Young Voice Collective Choir (NewYVC), our youth choir run in partnership with Stratford Circus, will be performing at the CHORUS Festival, Southbank, London on Saturday 19th of April at Midday. Come along to the Riverside Cafe Stage and enjoy a FREE concert. There are many other free events through the day to enjoy. See you there!

World Voice Programme

News flash:

Jane Wheeler from Living Song continues as one of the team on the World Voice Programme, directed by Richard Frostick, managed by the British Council. Her recent visit to Cuiabá, Brazil, where she worked alongside Paulo Buzelle and Luiza Morandini was celebrated in a TV news item our readers may enjoy.

Forest Voices Adult Community Choir 2016

Forest Voices adult community choir continue to grow and inspire their audiences. Over Christmas they sang for Forest Roots folk club and for the switching on of the lights by Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham. This year they are set to perform and join in the fun for the CHORUS Festival at Southbank, London, over the weekend of 18th / 19th March 2016.

Forest Voices is not only a singing group but a community of East London people with a zest for life and adventure. As one of the choir’s newer members explains, “Joining Forest Voices has hugely increased my social life and my connection with local people. I’m not sure I’ve fully found my singing voice yet, but it’s rapidly improving!” Nicola Samson, PhD and Newham resident.

The choir meets every term-time Thursday from 7 – 8.45pm @ Woodgrange Primary School, E7. There is always room for more singers of every level with Forest Voices. Just turn up!

Teach Through Music 2015

Teach Through Music 2015Shaping the future of KS3 music in London, Teach Through Music embodies the ethos of music as the dominant language of the classroom and teachers and pupils behaving as musicians, being empowered through creative ownership. We want to support teachers to invest in their leadership skills and subject knowledge:

VOICE WORKS: Singing & Co-Design – a film
This film features Amy Haynes from Lister Community School in Newham and others involved the Voice Works short course, talking about the development of singing as a musical learning activity. They discuss her development in the area of singing for Lister, and her learning of working in partnership with colleagues. Voice Works was a Teach Through Music short course delivered by Sound Connections and led by Jane Wheeler of Living Song. It supported teachers to develop skills in vocal leadership and consider strategies to get every child singing at KS3.