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Creating Singing/Voicing with Mindfulness or other wellbeing activities such as Yoga

Singing opportunities, in groups, do not need to automatically sit within a music department or be led by a choir leader/singing...

Singing opportunities, in groups, do not need to automatically sit within a music department or be led by a choir leader/singing teacher. Many people enjoy singing and have the skills to set up a singing-based group. Perhaps a nurture or wellness group, working with pastoral care staff can combine the use of relaxation, meditation or mindfulness techniques along with some singing/voicing. This could be as simple as singing mantras (that don’t have to have religious or spiritual connotations), exploring breathwork and humming/vocal toning along with instruments. You could even explore working with Yoga or QiGong to combine singing/voicing and breathwork.


  • A multi-modal approach can offer something for everyone to access – if they don’t want to sing, they can join with the other activities and still be an active participant.

  • Using simple mindfulness or relaxation techniques can help children to manage anxiety and offer something more gentle in their school day.

  • It can be a gentle way to introduce singing to children who may not be otherwise be accessing any singing activities.

  • It can provide a nurturing safe space for children to unwind and experience embodied practice (movement with voice/breathwork etc).

Things to Consider

  • Safety and support is important, so that it is contained and children feel able to relax.

  • It can be really challenging for some children to be able to fully relax, so there is a need to be patient and flexible, and take things step by step – introducing ideas gently.

  • Facilitating a group such as this can require more resourcing in terms of staffing, to ensure safety and support to all pupils and manage potentially different needs.

  • Consider setting out and agreeing group boundaries and rules together at the start and ensure that expectations are managed.


A project with Music for Good in Cornwall worked in both primary and secondary schools with 12 children in a group. The children were referred to the 10 week programme due to their emotional, social and mental health needs. The sessions incorporated gentle movement alongside breathing and voice exercises which were designed to be fun and encourage an embodied experience. Children were invited to contribute ideas to the musical games and exercises and even take the lead at times (e/g call and response activities). 

The space was set up as an enriching and nurturing environment with soft lighting, blankets and yoga mats, so they each had their own space. We used props such as feathers, balls and beanbags to encourage creative play. We composed songs with the children on themes they either chose, or to accompany a book (we used therapeutic stories in the sessions too). 

The children came up with movements to accompany the song lyrics. A great way to help with song ideas is to draw around your hand and draw/write something on each digit, as a way to mindfully consider what is important to you, within a theme – eg a song about singing!

Feedback included:

“This has helped me to calm myself. I have been able to cope with different situations.”

“The sessions have helped me relax. For example, when I had exams I relaxed because of this session. Thank you. I loved this session.”

For more information:

The young people that are attending music sessions at the moment, I know are benefiting massively from it.

Lizzy Watkiss, Occupational Therapist

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