Have you got a Little Singer in your house?

Published: Wednesday 10th January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

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A fantastic way to encourage your baby to sing, play instruments and enjoy music is coming to a venue near you.

Run by Opera North, one of Europe’s leading arts organisations, Little Singers is a weekly session for children and their parents. We spoke with Early Years Manager, Alex Bradshaw, to find out more about this heartwarming workshop.

Thanks for chatting with us, Alex. Can you tell us a bit more about the event?

Little Singers is a series of musical sessions for the under fives. It’s suitable for babies from birth up to preschoolers and everyone in-between. Our 45-minute sessions are led by professional musicians and involve lots of singing, as the name suggests.

We also recite rhymes, play games and do sensory and movement activities, as well as introduce the children to musical instruments. There’s a lot of familiar nursery rhymes, but also a lot of new stuff too.

Why do you think introducing children to music at such a young age is important?

Encouraging children to use their voices is excellent for language development. It boosts their confidence and the more they are allowed to use their voices in this way, the quicker their speech develops.

If nothing else, it’s good fun, and it’s vital for parents to have fun and bond with their babies.

Young children are innately musical and love the sound of their parents’ voices. We have many reluctant mums and dads who think it’s not for them as they “can’t sing”. Kids don’t care about that, they just love hearing your voice.

What makes Opera North’s Little Singers different from other children’s music groups?

We’ve been running weekly sessions at the Howard Assembly Room in Leeds for a number of years now and recently we branched out to local community centres and theatres. I think what makes us stand out is the fact you don’t have to commit to a full term.

Many parents are apprehensive to pay upfront for a set of music lessons that they may not be able to make. We all know what it’s like having young children; you don’t know who is going to be ill or what is going to happen from one week to the next.

I would also say that it’s unusual for a group like this to be suitable for such a wide range of ages. A parent or carer could bring a baby and their three-year-old, which isn’t always possible at other places.

Little Singers is great for both beginners and those who come every week. Everyone can join in but there’s also an element of progression for regulars, too.

Can the Little Singers join another group after they turn five?

Little Singers doesn’t directly lead on to any other group that we run. However, for children aged 7 and upwards, we do have an Opera North Children’s Chorus in both Leeds and Hull. So if we managed to inspire a budding vocalist, this group is perfect.

Lastly, why should parents bring their babies along?

It’s a lovely thing to do with your family. The activity benefits everyone and it’s a great atmosphere. Everyone in our sessions is always friendly and welcoming.

Opera North’s Little Singers takes place at East Riding Theatre in Beverley every Thursday until 15 March. You can find more information and other venues on their website.

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Published: Wednesday 10th January 2018 by Courtney Farrow

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