Primary Robins end of year report
2022 Primary Robins end of year report
It has been a fantastic year for Primary Robins and wonderful to be back to face-to-face teaching after the restrictions of Covid.
This year, 4110 children in schools across the country have had a thirty-minute singing lesson every week of the school year at no cost to the school or their parents. This is made possible by the generous support of many individuals, trusts and foundations.
I asked the children how they feel about singing and here are some of the responses:
Singing makes me feel so happy.
Singing helps me concentrate.
I love singing now, I sing all day even in the bath!
Singing calms me and helps me let out my stress.
I like singing together with my friends.
During the year the Robins have learnt a variety of music – songs from great musicals, to traditional folk songs, via Disney songs and songs by The Beatles.
Favourite songs include:
Do Re Mi
Charlie is my Darling
A Spoonful of Sugar
My Bonnie lies over the Ocean
A Windmill in old Amsterdam
Songs like The Muffin Man and Three Blind Mice are both great introductions to rhythm and pitch.
Danny Boy requires lovely legato singing and a greater vocal range and My Favourite Things needs lots of contrasting dynamics and storytelling.
The older Robins learn songs in two parts – teaching them about harmony.
I am told that, for many children, Primary Robins is the highlight of their week and the children can be heard singing songs in the playground or lunch queue.
In May I was delighted to be able to hold the first Primary Robins orchestral workshop for more than two years. Members of The Berkeley Ensemble introduced and spoke about their instruments and, for many of the children, it was the first time they had seen or heard a bassoon or double bass. It was a joyful day of learning and music-making.
I was thrilled that this summer we could once again have a Summer Concert at The Theatre in the Woods – again accompanied by The Berkley Ensemble.
The concert was fantastic and the Robins’ singing was joyous – particularly Bare Necessities and Let’s Go Fly a Kite. Somewhere Over the Rainbow was beautiful and they did a brilliant three-part rendition of Frére Jaques. When Ailish Tynan sang O mio babbino caro, it was wonderful to see the children’s faces – they were mesmerised. When Sophie and John played a piece by Milhaud, the children all bobbed along in time to the music.
Hearing them all sing together, after not being able to have a concert at the theatre for three years, was wonderful. One Robin told me that it had been the best day ever, he had enjoyed every minute of it.
The Summer Concert is a great performance opportunity for the children and I am delighted that so many parents were able to attend.
This September we will take Primary Robins to even more children and 6000 Robins will be involved. We are starting the project at nine schools in Lewisham and expanding in all seven other counties.
The impact that Primary Robins has on the lives of the children who benefit from it cannot be overestimated. Singing, as is well documented, challenges the more able, encourages the less able and gives confidence to the shy. It is a vital part of education that is so easily overlooked.
As one of our favourite songs, Red, Red Robin, says:
“I’m just a kid again, doing what I did again, singing a song”
Primary Robins is making sure that children get the opportunity to sing.
Annabel Larard – Project Leader