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Taking things forward

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Project Lead Baz Chapman updates on progress and consultations around the Foundation's work to create a platform to support singing for children & young people's mental health & wellbeing.

I’m working with the Sing Up Foundation on a project funded by Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund. We aim to take major strides in supporting singing for mental health & wellbeing in children & young people, by creating an infrastructure which helps anyone looking to develop their work in this field to find what they need and be part of the change.

Bringing together such huge areas as children & young people, mental health & wellbeing and music-making poses major challenges for where to find focus and ensure that the Foundation can be of most use. So we’ve been consulting with a diverse range of professionals to help us refine our approach.

Over the Summer 2022 we recruited an Expert Advisory Panel to act as a sounding board and critical friend – you can meet them in a forthcoming blog. Then in September we convened 2 days of roundtables, attended by community music practitioners, music therapists, teachers, project managers, mental health professionals and Sing Up staff. The aims were:

1. Practice & Pedagogy

  • To understand the deeper context of singing pedagogy and practice to support mental health conditions amongst children & young people

  • To understand effective practice in this context and how to disseminate it amongst a wider workforce

  • To consider the role and requirements of research in informing this work

2. Repertoire & Resources

  • To understand the deeper context of singing repertoire and resources to support mental health conditions amongst children & young people

  • To review Sing Up’s current repertoire and resources – what/how to repurpose/renew

  • How to present the new platform

  • Any new materials/commissions required?

There was inherent value simply in bringing these influential and expert people together to converse; however the emerging themes from the roundtables will greatly help to guide our next steps. These include:

1. Emerging themes - Practice & Pedagogy

  • Focusing our support and resources on schools, aiming to complement existing provision with expert guidance, and to promote work which can celebrate children & young people’s music making for its own sake, as helping them find ways to prevent or cope with more serious mental health conditions

  • The need for guidance on how much a practitioner needs to know about the people in the room – specific conditions, triggers, etc.

  • The huge importance of creating a ‘safe space’ in its widest sense, so that the work can have maximum impact

  • How to support better connectivity between music participation and music therapy

  • The need for further exploration into the function of group singing to support a range of inter-related outcomes (e.g. musical, psychosocial, clinical)

  • The importance of bringing theory, research and reflective practice into intervention design

  • The need for practitioners to look after their own mental health & wellbeing, and be part of a supportive community of practice

2. Emerging themes - Repertoire & Resources

  • A digital platform which offers a wide range of resources, training, etc. but which can package content into courses for particular types of user, such as guidance for non-expert singing leaders, or specific topics, e.g. neuro-divergence

  • Resource packs which can be both physical and digital, and which can be flexed to suit particular users

  • Recognition that creative music making (e.g. improvisation or song-writing) is usually a key aspect of work in this field, and needs effective planning and expertise

From here, we will begin to plan our digital platform to support leaders & organisers of singing for children & young people's mental health & wellbeing, which will be housed on the Sing Up Foundation website. Over time we will build up a bank of resources, information & guidance, training and a network of practitioners and partners to create something which will be of long-lasting value, and will facilitate more high-quality work taking place which leads to more positive outcomes for children & young people.

If you’re working in this field and feel you might have something, either to contribute or to request, do get in touch with us at

Special Thanks to those who attended our roundtables:

Day 1: Pedagogy and Practice

  • Sangeeta Ambegaokar - Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

  • Shelly Ambury - Sing Up

  • Jonny Amos - songwriter, producer

  • Celi Barberia - Sing Up Foundation

  • Baz Chapman - Sing Up Foundation (facilitator)

  • Gail Dudson - Yorks Youth & Music

  • Sharon Durant - Sing Up/practitioner

  • Clare Edwards - Young Voices

  • Alex Evans - Kazzum Arts

  • Alice Hale - Mytime Active

  • Dougie Lonie - Sing Up Foundation Expert Adviser/TIALT

  • Beth Millett - Sing Up

  • Phil Mullen - music practitioner

  • Aga Serugo-Lugo - music practitioner

  • Jeremy Sleith - Sing Up Foundation trustee/St Helen’s Music Service

  • Ben Turner - Rap Club

  • Jane Wheeler - Living Song

  • Sarah Wiltshire - Place2Be

  • Jenny Young - Blue Cabin

Day 2: Resources

  • Shelly Ambury - Sing Up

  • Baz Chapman - Sing Up Foundation (facilitator)

  • Sharon Durant - Sing Up/practitioner

  • Sophie Garner - music practitioner and writer

  • Beth Millett - Sing Up

  • Alice Nicholls - Chiltern Music Therapy

  • Jeremy Sleith - Sing Up Foundation trustee/St Helen’s Music Service

  • Keith Sykes - Lewisham Music



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