Review in Primary Music Today

Developing Singing Activities at Key Stage 2


Review by Joy Hill in Primary Music Today. Summer 1999.


Patrick Allen presents his ideas on vocal activities in schools from a refreshingly realistic and creative standpoint, based on the up-to the-minute experience of teaching in schools today. He makes reference to the need for singing to be associated with “ a range of musical styles, including pop music and in more imaginative context than just a choir standing in rows”. Singing Matters is produced in a ring binder pack form which is intended as a ‘resource book of ideas and activities rather than a cure-all which can be followed slavishly from beginning to end’


Patrick Allen also has some encouraging advice on how to use ICT and new technology in order to facilitate the teaching of singing. He explains how using a computer can help teachers to:

Record and play professional sounding accompaniments

Provide looped ostinato backings for improvising, echo games and composing

Play instrumental or vocal prompts or provide parts which are missing from your class

Provide a reliable rhythmic support to your activities

His ideas on incorporating ICT into singing activities, I feel, might inspire music teachers who have resisted the idea of using computers in singing activities so far to ‘have a go.’

Many sheets in the pack may be photocopied-an obvious bonus to this valuable material. I like the range of music represented in the projects which include renaissance songs, traditional songs from many cultures and pop songs such as those from many cultures and pop songs such as those by Michael Jackson and Oasis. All music presented considers the appeal of the material to students today and sets out inspiring activities based on NC principles that can be used in class group situations and possibly be developed for use with a choir or ensemble.