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Primary Robins

Robins Summer 2021: End of term report

This term has been fantastic as all but three schools have been able to return to face-to-face teaching. We have continued to send weekly videos to those that have not.

All the teachers have different warm ups and the children really enjoy these, particularly those that make them laugh. A favourite is the ‘Magic Fly’, in which an imaginary fly is held between the fingers as it buzzes around, ‘splatted’ between the hands, and finally swallowed – all with appropriate sound effects. The song ‘Alive, Alert, Awake, Enthusiastic’ is also very popular, with class groups often competing to see who can manage the tongue-twisting lyrics and actions that accompany them the fastest.

To warm up the muscles in the face, the children would open their faces like a lion and then screw them up like a mouse. To help breath control they had an imaginary birthday cake. Each week it would have more candles and, by the end of term, they could blow out twenty candles in one breath.

Songs have included Down by the Salley Gardens – this prompted a discussion about great poets as the lyrics are by W.B. Yeats. It even taught the children a new word “WEIR”. This song requires lovely legato singing and encourages the children to do lots of story-telling with their faces.

The aptly titled Red, Red Robin is always popular as it is such a lovely cheerful song with lots of rhyming words and great alliteration – “live, love, laugh and be happy”. It also illustrates off- beat rhythms and octave intervals. Another song with off-beat rhythms is When I’m 64 by The Beatles – many of the children were delighted to learn that Ringo Star also did the voice over for Thomas the Tank Engine.

From a traditional folk song, via The Beatles and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Oh! What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma!, the Robins have learned a real variety of songs and musical styles.

“I just wanted to say thank you for your amazing efforts this year with the videos – they have literally been a Godsend to my teachers! It is joyous to hear Rosie’s beautiful voice echoing around the school at different times of the week.” Annette Bamford, Bisley Primary School.

I am delighted to say that, from September, we will have double the amount of Robins and 4,000 children will have a weekly singing lesson at no cost to the school or parents. We are expanding the project in the North-East and starting Primary Robins in Essex at eight new schools. I am really looking forward to the new academic year and cannot wait to work with all the new schools and teachers to bring the joy of singing to all the children involved.

Annabel Larard, Project Leader