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Singing and Wellbeing for Children and Young People

Jeremy Dibb.HEIC

Jeremy Dibb

Warwick - a Singing town

I am Leamington born and bred and live five doors away from my mum in Lillington. I started playing cornet in Leamington Spa Silver Band when I was 12 and that was it really. I loved being part of a music group and that joy of sharing music-making has stayed with me ever since.


I obtained my music degree at Manchester University and then went into a teaching career that included 23 years with the local music service – the last five years as Director.


I retired with impeccable timing in April 2020 and, whilst I am kept perfectly busy with my four children and four grandchildren I am absolutely delighted to be able to continue my passion for music and singing in my role with Warwick – A Singing Town.

Prof Graham Welch

Graham F Welch studied education 3-13y, as well as music, at the Froebel Educational Institute and University of London prior to completing his Masters in Music Education and Doctorate at the same institutions. He taught in London Primary schools for 14 years, and also spent over two decades as a part-time professional singer in London.

 

He has held the UCL Institute of Education (formerly University of London) Established Chair of Music Education since 2001, is Chair of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE), and is a Past President of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). He holds Visiting Professorships at universities in the UK and overseas, is a former member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Review College for Music, and now a reviewer for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

 

Publications number over four hundred and include lead editorship of a major Routledge music psychology book series and the Oxford Handbook of Singing (2019), as well as co-editorship of the updated Oxford Handbook of Music Education (2018, five volumes,) and the new Oxford Handbook of Early Childhood Learning and Development in Music (December, 2023). Key research themes embrace musical development, music education, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, and music in special education and disability.

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Rebecca Ledgard

Ex Cathedra - Singing Medicine

In 2004, Ex Cathedra created Singing Medicine in response to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s invitation to develop their Singing Playgrounds project for children isolated in hospital.

 

Since then the award-winning, 20 strong team (Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Arts in Health, Royal Society for Public Health, Outstanding Music Education Resource, Music and Drama Education Awards) has delivered c.150,000 Singing Medicine sessions bringing the wellbeing effects of singing to babies, children, young people and adults in hospital. The team is passionate about how singing can be a powerful force for wellbeing and their Singing Medicine work now influences, in return, Ex Cathedra’s work in schools (Singing Playgrounds, SingMaker, and ChoirMaker).

 

Singing Medicine and Singing Playgrounds were First Flagship Projects for the National Singing Programme (2008 – 2011) . The team have presented and delivered sessions across the UK and beyond in Singapore, New Zealand, Belgium, Thailand, Hong King, Uganda, and mainland China. During the pandemic they made thousands of videos while hospitals were closed to external staff. Every child is offered their new special singing teddy bear, Noah Bear.

ann wright

Director of Education, VOCES8 Foundation`

Ann is the Director of Education with the VOCES8 Foundation where she oversees a programme of work with singers of all ages in the UK, France and America.

Born in Canada, Ann attended the University of Toronto and established a freelance singing career performing with choirs and touring across Canada and the United States.

 

After gaining her PGCE at UCL’s Institute of Education, Ann taught Music at Canada’s National Ballet School before returning to the UK and taking on the role of Director of Music at Bradfield College. While at Bradfield she developed a programme of partnerships with local primary and secondary schools helping to support these schools with singing and wider musical opportunities.

In 2014 she joined the VOCES8 Foundation where she works with VOCES8 and Paul Smith, Apollo5, the Foundation’s newest ensemble Lyyra, and a team of freelance singing leaders. The Foundation reaches over 40,000 people each year and Ann’s role includes curating and delivering programmes, collaborating with a wide range of partners, leading workshops, training and supporting singing leaders and mentoring teachers.

In 2021 Ann began working with VOCES8 Foundation partners in Albuquerque, New Mexico to develop ‘Sing Together’, a project involving singing leaders in Albuquerque, members of the VOCES8 Foundation’s US Scholars, Albuquerque’s choral ensemble Quintessence, the Albuquerque District School Board and elementary schools, Hackney Music Service in London and Hackney primary schools, and the VOCES8 Foundation’s singers including Apollo5 and Lyyra.

 

Now in its third year, ‘Sing Together’ is a model for engaging children in singing, involving local communities, providing teacher training for both music teachers and generalist classroom teachers, cross cultural exchange between children and teachers, and ensuring children from underserved areas have opportunities to meet and perform with professional ensembles. Ann and Dr Cathryn Booth-LaForce at the University of Washington were recently invited to share their research about this project at the ACDA’s International Symposium on Research in Choral Singing.

During her time with the VOCES8 Foundation Ann has commissioned Professor Graham Welch to evaluate two of the Foundation’s school-based projects in London, ‘Sing Every Day’ and ‘Sing Together for Wellbeing’. ‘Sing Every Day’ was published in 2019. ‘Singing Together for Wellbeing’ began in January 2024 and runs until March 2025.

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Cerys Purser

Warwick - a Singing Town

I have worked as a singing teacher, conductor and music educator and am passionate about working with people choosing to explore singing to help recover from illness or to find a greater sense of wellbeing, those pursuing a career in singing and those who simply need to experience the joy of singing.

My professional career began as a mezzo soprano after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, taking lead operatic roles in productions in the UK and abroad. As a singer and vocal specialist I have led workshops with national opera companies, schools and in universities.

My belief that everyone should have a ‘voice’ and access to life enhancing, high quality singing opportunities which is why I am so pleased to be part of Warwick – A Singing Town.

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