Singing for health and wellbeing: The SingWell Programme with St Cuthbert’s RC Academy Trust

Singing for health and wellbeing: The SingWell Programme with St Cuthbert’s RC Academy Trust

Picture of Guest Writer

BY: Guest Writer
22 February 2023

This month we’ve been highlighting how performance practice and working towards your Trinity exams can help improve mental health and wellbeing. In this blog, we hear from one of our Trinity Champion Centres, St Mary's College, who have launched a singing for health and well-being project, the ‘SingWell programme’, which gives young people across a Multi Academy Trust the opportunity to sing as a group on a weekly basis. Andrew McIntosh, Director of Music (St Cuthbert’s MAT, Hull), explains the benefits of bringing the children together to sing and how it has positively impacted those involved: 

“Hey Mr Miller…you can hear it all through the land!” was the cry from 600 singers across our Multi Academy Trust (MAT) last week…and they weren’t wrong. This month saw the first massed gathering of students from across our Trust who engage in our SingWell programme, an innovative project that sees our students have dedicated time away from their studies to focus on some other creative key priorities. From humble beginnings in just two of our schools, the SingWell programme has grown into something that we are incredibly proud of and which holds great stock in all of our schools.

The roots of our project can be traced back several years. A headteacher with a love of singing and a school needing a little ‘reinvigorating’ saw two of our instrumental staff leading a 30-minute singing session each week with Years 3 & 4. This soon became a highlight of the week for many of the students and was attributed by the headteacher to bringing much needed light and joy back into the school.

 So, we began to wonder, why exactly was this the case?

We of course, knew the answer. The answer wasn’t a secret! Nor should it have been a surprise. We all know that making music makes people happy, that singing is good for the heart, the soul AND the body. So really, it’s the obvious thing to do more of isn’t it?! So we set about formalising a programme, pitched it to the Trust leadership and thus the SingWell programme was born.

Roll forward to 2023 and for the last 18 months, all pupils in Years 3 & 4 across our 8 local Trust primary schools have participated in a protected-time 30 minute SingWell session every week, led by one of our instrumental staff. The sessions are designed to give students a chance to experience success as part of a group, singing in a healthy manner whilst also learning a little bit about ensemble skills along the way. Repertoire is chosen carefully to engage and enthuse and resources are bright and lively. More technical concepts like dynamics, articulation and call and response can also be cleverly embedded but sessions are never ‘music lessons’ (even though they obviously can’t help but being so!). Reports abound from each school of students singing songs down the corridor during the week between sessions and choirs are back up and running to give the most enthusiastic singers further opportunities to shine.

The fact that the programme is being delivered by our peripatetic instrumental teachers has had a huge impact on our instrumental tuition participation. Staff have been able to build great relationships with whole classes at a time and become real musical inspirations. This has resulted in record high numbers participating in weekly instrumental lessons in all of our schools; more students beginning their instrumental journey and heading towards a Trinity Grade 1 in the not-too-distant future we hope!

It was always our aim at some stage to bring the singing groups together to share their work and this month it happened, with our 300-seat theatre filled, morning and afternoon by excited students from across our MAT; whether they were there to sing about Ancient Egyptians, Boudica or do the King Kong Konga, they had a whale of a time.

And you could hear it all through the land!

Check out this recent blog, for more ways to improve mental health and wellbeing through musical learning.

Does your centre run interesting projects, regularly deliver and act as an ambassador for Trinity College London exams? If so, you may want to consider applying to become a Trinity Champion Centre. In return, we celebrate achievements, profile your success and promote your work as part of our support offer to teachers and centres. Applications for 2023-2024 open on the 7 March 2023. Contact for further information.

Sign up to receive emails from Trinity College London

Sign up for emails
Comments & Replies

Related posts