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What we do...



Drop-in adult and child music sessions
(see "Session locations" page for further details)

Our sessions create the opportunity for every child to make and enjoy music, and also to learn wider skills through music.

The fact that our sessions are led using live music - acoustic guitar - has many advantages. Each session is in effect a demonstration of live music-making, which encourages a curiosity and enthusiasm for music-making and sound in our children.  Also, we are able to to vary our delivery in terms of tempo/pulse, volume etc in response to the needs of the individual group - meaning each session is unique. 

We are very much child-led and child-focused, and will musically follow our children's topics of conversation and curiosity....for example, on a rainy day we will talk about weather and sing our "Splashing in the Puddles" action song!

Don't worry if you can't sing (our voices aren't great!!) - the important thing is to get involved and to have fun with your child, learning through music.

Babies

In a typical session for babies, we sing a range of songs, including well-known favourites (eg Twinkle Twinkle) but we also introduce new songs and rhymes which you can use at home, giving you a new repertoire to share with your little ones at home.

We provide plenty of instruments for your child to explore, and we focus on including contrasting styles, tempos and dynamics; experiencing pulse; introducing different rhythms in different musical styles; and vocal play to encourage communication skills. We also sing lots of action songs to encourage your little ones to clap, stretch, nod etc, and we always include movement songs to encourage those who are just starting to crawl or walk. Don't forget Mums, lots of bouncing songs will help you keep those bingo wings in trim!!

We bring along lots of props such as puppets, soft toys, hats, balls to make the session visually stimulating too.  Most weeks we will include  a sensory activity, with scarves or feathers or bubbles for example, and we always use the parachute in a variety of ways as a sensory stimulus.

  This is George, getting into character for "5 Little Ducks"!

Toddlers and older children

Again we deliver old favourites - repetition is the foundation of learning - with plenty of new and often quite high energy songs and activities - sometimes songs we have composed "off the cuff" in response to children's interests as above. We have a wide variety of instruments available, and again plenty of props which we use to introduce an element of drama - eg 5 Cheeky Monkeys and a Very Scary Crocodile!

Our delivery at this level consolidates pulse, set through the steady beat of the guitar and echoed by the children, whilst beginning to explore tempo, pitch and note duration through playing instruments, movement and vocal play. 

We include lots of numeracy songs and activities, and also encourage children to extend their range of movements - eg jumping, spinning, hopping. 

 We also ensure that we provide opportunities for co-operative play - eg rowing boats together, sharing instruments and props, choosing and turn-taking, circle dancing etc.

Amelia and monkey show John how to play the guitar     


Parents/Carers

Our aim is to encourage and empower adults to make music with their children at home, thus continuing children's learning (as per EYFS guidelines). But we also aim to create a sociable and enjoyable environment for Mums and carers to meet with friends, network with new people etc, and for this reason we try to stage sessions in an environment which supports this where possible, eg with refreshment facilities. 


Early Years Providers

We currently deliver sessions in both public sector and private nurseries, and in Children's Centres. Delivery options and costs are flexible depending on the requirements of the unit - if you are an Early Years provider/practitioner please contact us for details. 

We have developed and delivered a "Tiny Talkers" programme, specifically to support and encourage communication and language skills in under fives, based on the new Early Years curriculum.

We frequently support parties and special events for organisations; this is some feedback we had from a Bury Children's Centre after their Christmas party:-

"Hi Wendy and John, 
Just to pass on the comments from parents and staff after your visit to the Centre for our Xmas party.
"The shake rattle and roll was brilliant and it was great how they interacted with the children" 
"Loved the interaction, even the babies were included and made to feel part of it" 
Christine Holt (Project Support Worker, Stepping Stones Children's Centre" )

Organisations we have/are working with include:-
Bolton LA - Tonge, Bright Meadows and Oldhams Children's Centres; NHS (Greenways Pram Club); Bolton Music Services, Bolton Under Fives Forum, Johnson Fold CP school, St Joseph's CP School
Bury LA - Butterstiles, Besses and Stepping Stones Children's Centres
Private nurseries - Playdays (Blackrod), Educare, Daisy Chains and Eagley Schoolhouse 
Bury Catholic Prep School
Elmsbank Special School

Other projects

From June 2016 we have been working with the Carers Trust in Bolton to deliver weekly music sessions for dementia sufferers and their carers. The sessions have been really well received, and are always well attended. The benefits of music for dementia/Alzheimers sufferers is well documented, and carers also benefit from the company and the positive and uplifting effect of communal singing. We have a go at all types of music - from war songs to the Beatles and Elvis - and have a great laugh while doing it!

In summer 2012 we delivered a series of 6 workshops for Bolton Kidz2gether, providing opportunities for autistic teenagers to experiment with music....to explore instruments and music-based technology, to compose and record music etc. The end result was a CD produced demonstrating their musical (and comic!) talent.
The sessions were very well received by the young people involved, and this is what Steph Sherratt, Kidz2gether Outreach Manager, had to say:-
"Big, big BIG K2g thanks to John and Wendy for making the Fox Street music sessions such a roaring success. Everyone involved had a fabulous time and thoroughly enjoyed making their own CD xxx"
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