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COVID-19 has had a huge impact on children’s wellbeing. Public Health England’s COVID-19: mental health and wellbeing surveillance report (2021) found that children are reporting higher levels of anxiety, stress, and loneliness. The impact on their education and social development has been severe, with many struggling with the transition back to school. Amongst those most adversely affected include children from BAME communities and those from families on lower incomes (Mental Health Foundation, 2020). The pandemic has had a devastating impact on music in schools, causing children to miss out on a vast amount of important learning and experiences.
Due to COVID-19, The Bach Choir’s community engagement programme, Vocalise!, has been paused since March 2020. The ethos of Vocalise! is to share the joy of singing as widely as possible through a series of interactive singing workshops in primary schools which culminate in an annual performance. As a delivery partner of the Tri-Borough Music Hub and Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Education Service, we identify schools with little singing provision, where children are largely eligible for Pupil Premium and the need is the greatest. Vocalise! has received positive feedback from children, teachers and parents, with the final performance being highlighted for improving children’s self-esteem and confidence. Read about our previous performances here.
It is well-evidenced that participation in group singing supports children’s education (The Fabian Society, 2018), social and teamwork skills (British Council, 2015) physical health (UCL Institute of Education, 2012) and mental wellbeing (The British Voice Association, 2014). We are very much looking forward restarting Vocalise! and are working alongside schools for a safe return to singing in September 2021, with the necessary COVID measures in place. Such support will be vital in the wake of the isolation and uncertainty of the last 15 months. The theme for the 2021/22 programme will be ‘Our Planet’ – this aims to promote a sense of global community, acknowledge the part we need to play in caring for our environment, and recognise the comfort that connecting with nature has brought us during these difficult times. Stay tuned for further updates on Vocalise! in the Autumn!