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Young Voices

Discussion in 'Music' started by garethmoss, Jan 22, 2017.

  1. garethmoss

    garethmoss New commenter

    Hey all,

    Just interested in hearing anyone's opinions of Young Voices. I took children along for the first time this year on Friday and we are having a debrief later this week which is causing me a lot of thought.

    Sadly, due to the situation I'm in (part of a Federation in the early stages of working together), it's not been a massively positive experience for me. Huge amounts of music to learn in very little time, a lack of effective communication, parents with children in both schools (one infant, one junior) receiving different information, no real overview of the project from the outset, and more. I appreciate that, with better (or some) collaborative planning, these things can be avoided. What concerns me more is I'm not sure of its worth musically.

    Because of the volume of repertoire, I found all my time was spent teaching dots and very little was on vocal production or technique, as it was we didn't know the words correctly of at least half the songs. While I feel that some repertoire was excellently chosen, there were parts of it which struck me as odd choices and unnecessarily complex; also, we didn't know which parts we were allocated until the day which meant some of our work was in vain. Finally, being so far from the band and conductor meant that my children had no engagement with them and therefore weren't really learning about collaborative performance. One of the heads even said (in a positive way): "it's not like you could see or hear the children so it didn't matter if they didn't know what they were doing."

    I can see many positives of the event, particularly the experience for the children. I'm just struggling to see the worth of a huge amount of admin, plus a great expense for parents and added stress for me when I'm not sure it aids children's musical development.
    pollycake likes this.
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I would describe it as a "musical experience" rather than a "musical education". I would agree about the complexity and range of the pieces chosen, it did become "learn by rote" rather than by understanding. But as a musical spectacle, it is hard to beat for primary children.
  3. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    You might find it interesting to put "Young Voices" in the forum search to see what others have said, both this year and previously.

    (It's the magnifying glass next to your name, top right)
    garethmoss likes this.
  4. garethmoss

    garethmoss New commenter

    Thanks, Geoff.

    I did a quick search but it seemed more to do with resources than opinion but I shall check again more diligently.
  5. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    @garethmoss I don't have any personal experience of Young Voices, although I've read about them and we get invitations to join in with many similar projects. For me, I think it is the quantity of material for these events which is off-putting. I would rather do a few things really well than many things to a mediocre standard. I think they choose a large number of items in order to justify a whole day of rehearsal and a concert. As you say, with so many children involved, some are so far away from the conductor that they don't gain that sense of engagement you might hope for. Yes, it's a musical experience of sorts, and the children get quite buzzy about it all, but for all the time, cost and effort I'm not convinced it's worth it. A gathering of pupils from different local schools to sing some songs together at a venue with the opportunity to contribute a song of their own in the concert would probably be more worthwhile.
    pollycake likes this.
  6. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    I absolutely agree.
    pollycake likes this.
  7. gogglehead

    gogglehead New commenter

    Costly, mediocre singing, some repertoire not suitable for children, I take ear plugs. I hate it, I hate the time I have put in on flogging THEIR merchandise, chasing up endless letters from parents, trying to find what I need on the YV teacher centre and dreadful Yammer forum was annoying - they don't simply send an email with all the details anymore.
    We did this on Friday in Sheffield and I am still exhausted. It wouldn't matter if the kids know the songs or not, 5300 kids are overpowered by the 'band'. The inflated prices of merchandise on the day was disgusting.
    We do LOTS of music at my school, good quality 2 part singing and ensembles but parents are totally taken in by the celebrity culture that is Young Voices. I can't do it again next year, I just can't.
    I found this thread because I googled for opinions on YV before I write my report for governors about music in my school.
    I am please I am not the only person who thinks this event is not musically nutritious.
    My head and dep head wanted to come for the performance and sit with us, to help us with getting kids back to their parents at the end. If they wanted to come and sit with us (not an audience member as such!) the school would have been charged £19.50 for each of them. Add the £10 parking.....
    pollycake likes this.
  8. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Funny , isn't it, because I loved it! The children enjoyed the spectacle, joined in with enthusiasm and even my "on the point of permanent exclusion" child was perfectly behaved for the 7 and a half hours we were there. They sang songs they probably would never have sung before, listened attentively to the professional performers and loved the street dance!
    Yes, it has its drawbacks. the sales pitch annoyed me, the merchandising and expectation that everyone had the t shirt and the light fob, the slog learning all the songs and the rather overwhelming band. But I would go again next year!
  9. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I loved it too! (Not done it in the last couple of years, but been twice before with groups of secondary school years 7-10).
    On the downside, there are an awful lot of songs and words to learn, and if you're trying to do it in 20 minute lunchtime rehearsals and work out who has been to them, it's hard work. I think it would be difficult for a non-music specialist to teach some of it too, which would often be the case in primary. There's a lot of admin, a coach trip is not cheap, and it's a nightmare getting out at the end of the show. And it's a late night - I don't know how primary kids cope with it!

    But it's a fabulous experience, the children get to watch a great concert as well as be part of it, and they learn songs from a very varied repertoire, some of which I wouldn't have dreamt of teaching them. Some of them won't have seen a live band or dancers before, and it shows them a range of different styles at a high standard. I really didn't push the t-shirts, or dvds and only a few were keen enough to buy them. So the only cost to parents was coach travel for the children.

    I think you've got to see it for what it is. If you're thinking about developing a high quality of performance, then I'd pick a few songs from it to perform at a school event and do them really well. Or take your children to a really good vocal workshop. As an experience of seeing and being part of a large-scale performance in a professional environment, and raising the profile of music, it's great and very engaging, and not at all the same as doing a workshop in the school hall. I'd never been to the O2 arena, let alone performed in it, and I found it a bit goosebumpy!
  10. nical73

    nical73 Occasional commenter

    It is exactly what you make it. We do it every two years therefore we keep the cost minimum. We do not purchase the Tshirts (we just wear our plain white school Tshirts). We also do not purchase any tickets on behalf of parents - we learned the hard way one year when parents did not send money into school and we were left having to pay. We only have twenty minute lunchtime rehearsals so it is difficult to learn the amount of songs but I have learned to teach the easy ones first and important parts of others. We never get it all done but it is a fantastic experience for our children. Sadly, many of them would never have the experience of an arena otherwise. The children love it so I will continue for them.
  11. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    My own child went to this a few years ago and as a parent I enjoyed it but I thought it was dreadfully unfair on the teachers. They had worked a full day and then travelled all the way to Sheffield not getting back to school til quite late and then had to see the children were collected before travelling home to be back at school in a few hours time. It really was too much to expect of them.
  12. vhl36

    vhl36 New commenter

  13. pollycake

    pollycake New commenter

  14. pollycake

    pollycake New commenter

    Hello all, I don't quite know how to use this forum. I just need help buying merchandise from Young Voices. We need 17 torch lights but this item does not appear in the merchandise section. I can only see DVD and ticket choices. Can anyone out there help with this please. There is no point phoning Young Voices as they do not answer. Their chat room system on their site doesn't work. I really don't know any other way of getting in touch. As for their Yammer system.... just pointless. Thank you very much.
  15. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    You can buy them when you arrive, they have a stall set up and time during the break in rehearsals for you to spend your money!

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