Reviewed in British Federation of Young Choirs Newsletter October 1997
Singing Matters is an excellent pack of resources for singing at Key Stage 3 (S1/S2).It assumes teachers work in ‘ordinary classroom situations, faced with differing abilities and experiences. Patrick Allen’s inspiration for this pack was his experience of inappropriate courses on singing in schools which were too technical and suggested impossible repertoire, and the reality of pupils who were too timid or raucous to achieve a meaningful musical experience.
He created a collection of thirty projects, plus numerous rounds and other songs, which should enable any teacher to get a mixed bunch singing successfully. It comes as a folder with photocopiable sheets for pupils, and begins with support notes for teachers, games and warm-ups to loosen up the pupils, spoken vocal ice breakers(rap etc.), layered pitch ostinati and a few more standard exercises. Each project has a pupil sheet with words and suggested backing, chord and rhythm patterns. The song material is an admirable collection of popular songs, spirituals, folk songs, ‘classical’ material in the form of two Schubert songs and some renaissance pieces, and a comprehensive collection of ethnic pieces from Africa, America and eastern Europe. The final collection of ‘social songs’ for those cultural occasions, is a useful addition.
There is definitely something for everybody in this pack. It is deliberately not sequential to discourage people slavishly working from cover to cover. This is an essential publication and will do musch for classroom singing, particularly if teachers find their own material and arrange it with the same practical, simple approach.