Find Your Voice #mfpilot2013: Explore Vocals 1


Don’t forget to get your students to complete the SURVEY if they haven’t already done so!

Session Aim:

Realise the capacity of teacher and student voices by exploring the sounds they can make and by vocalising a variety of instrumental parts of a current song known to them. Take as many lessons as you need to complete this session.

Plan collaboratively with other teachers via:

Twitter: @musicalfutures, Facebook groupMusic Teacher Network discussion thread

Read pilot teacher Stephen’s notes that accompany the video on this page HERE

 The 4 Chord Medley

Warm ups-Workshopping-Create-Perform-Share

Warm Ups

Selection from #mufu2013 Conference

Selection from #mfpilot2013 Training

Plasticine Man and more!

Dippity Doppity Day

Move through recommended warm-ups to explore different aspects of the voice. Choose from our bank of vocal warm ups, or make your own and share on our WALL

Workshop (a song medley based on I, V, VI, IV chord pattern)

Gradually build up a sung groove of rhythm, bassline and harmony parts, over a loop of the four chords I-V-VI-IV. Song suggestions can be found HERE, double click to add yours!

All students learn to vocalise:

  • A simple rhythmic line
  • A bassline
  • Guitar riffs/harmonies

Vocalising riffs from #mfpilot2013 Training


Break students into groups to create their own versions of songs that they know over the 4-chord pattern groove. Challenge them to come up with as many songs as they can in small groups. Students take it in turns to sing the songs, and to vocalise the groove.

Filmed at #mfpilot2013 Training


Record the final performance: Filmed at #mfpilot2013 Training

Group Performances:

Mass 4 chord jam!


Links To Musical Futures Approaches

Classroom workshopping approach

Links to MF pedagogy:

  • Focuses on aural learning
  • Integrates listening, performing and improvising
  • Starts with music that students are familiar with.

Session plan Explore vocals 1

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Find Your Voice #mfpilot2013: An Introduction



Creswick Monkey Choir - 3057

Find Your Voice is a practical, hands-on approach

to embedding singing and technology in classrooms, specifically targeted at the 11-12 (Year 7) age range. Delivered by classroom teachers it aims to engage all students in meaningful and sustainable activity that directly builds on Musical Futures principles and pedagogy.

 Musical Futures has had well-documented success with the 12-14 age range. While the approaches have been successfully applied with younger students, it is not commonplace. In the Ofsted report Wider Still and Wider, it was reported that ‘good singing is scarce in secondary schools’, and that ‘music technology is underused’

In Musical Futures lessons students aren’t afraid to try out instruments, explore, make mistakes, and create from the start of the lesson. However, using their voices can be a different story – singing in school is not always cool, can be associated with primary school music, and alongside adolescence and self-confidence issues, vocal work is often the domain of the more confident students – others fear the exposure it brings.

At the same time, students are digital natives. They carry around powerful pieces of technology in their pockets – mobile phones, ipods – and in their own time are not only constantly exploring the technology phones and tablets have to offer, but are consuming, creating and producing music. Yet this is rarely a recognised tool for classroom learning, and in the majority of cases mobiles/tablets are banned from music classrooms.


  1. To help students and teachers to feel confident about using their voices to create and explore music
  2. To engage all students with singing in the classroom setting
  3. To break down barriers with using mobile technologies in the music classroom, by drawing on the interest and expertise of students, and showing the creative potential for using mobile phones / tablets
  4. To enable students to create music using methods (vocalising and mobile technology) that are immediately accessible to them and are fully inclusive
  5. To target the Year 7 (10-11) age range to improve the quality of secondary music teaching and learning in Year 7, and to build on the successful practice and pedagogy from primary schools (i.e. Sing Up)
  6. To build teacher confidence with facilitating vocal work and using mobile technology, and for teachers to embed the ideas across their music departments

When is a transition project not a transition project?

What will teachers need to do?

  1. Assess what mobile technologies you have available, and prepare students by asking them to download suggested apps
  2. Deliver the Find Your Voice in your classrooms over the course of approximately one term (exact length is up to you)
  3. Adapt the strategies as necessary, feedback to the project team on these, and most importantly with other teachers through our various online communities (see below)
  4. Students and teachers to complete short online surveys throughout the pilot



The minimum that is needed is for students to have access to:

  • A mobile phone, ipod touch, ipad or equivalent
  • Set of speakers and jack leads for connecting them to phones/tablets
  • If students are working in pairs or groups they will need headphone splitters and headphones
  • Some form of recording device (either on mobile phones, MP3 recorder or similar)

Where possible it would be useful for schools to have access to sequencing software such as Garageband, Audacity, Ableton live or other technologies that can sequence, edit, remix and produce music, and have the means to fully amplify their mobile devices.


This approach can be delivered entirely in one space (as long as there are no desks!). Ideally however students may need to have access to break-out spaces for some of the tasks.


Use of mobile phones in the classroom

It is likely that in a few years time, the use of mobile phones and tablets will be commonplace in secondary schools as a powerful learning tool. However that is not necessarily the case during the trialling of these approaches, and we fully appreciate that some schools will struggle with (a) students not having phones in the first place (b) school policies banning the use of mobile phones (c) school policies not allowing students to access Wifi. For this pilot we ask that music teachers do all that they can to break down these barriers and overcome the problems, then share ideas for how this can be done! If this approach to creating music is deemed successful, you will have been the pioneers who made it possible!

A few suggestions:

  1. All of the apps we are recommending will work offline, so can be pre-downloaded (as a homework task etc) therefore eliminating the need for Wifi
  2. Phones can be switched to airplane mode in the classroom
  3. If logistics allow, students could forsake their sim cards to you at the beginning of the lesson as all apps we are recommending will work without sim cards (although this may be used as a last resort)
  4. Headphone splitters could be used to enable students to work in pairs on phones, tablets or ipod touches to support students who don’t own their own
  5. If another department in the school has a set of ipads, beg, borrow or steal them for this project!

We recognise that using mobile technology to create music and enhance musical learning in the classroom may present challenges to teachers. Any cutting edge project will inevitably do this. We hope that you will communicate to us problems as well as solutions and successes as we believe that embracing this available technology will enable greater access for all students to music making. We can never be the experts in music technology but we must facilitate the opportunities it affords our students

Statistics and Success

Evaluation and resources

We will be asking schools (teachers and students) various questions about the impact this project is having – particularly on their confidence, enjoyment and musical progression, and we will share findings as the pilot is unfolding. Furthermore, we are aiming to produce a ‘teacher toolkit’ as an outcome which will be freely available to any teacher and practitioner. All the schools involved will be able to contribute and feedback about what they feel would be useful, worthwhile and most effective for other teachers to deliver the approach in their school.

Online sharing

We want you to not only trial the approach that we are suggesting to let us know whether it works or not, but also want to encourage you to share successful strategies with singing and music technology that you have tried in your schools. We have various vehicles for this:

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Find Your Voice #mfpilot2013: Meet the Team!


Find Your Voice is a practical, hands-on approach to embedding singing and technology in classrooms, specifically targeted at the 11-12 (Year 7) age range. Delivered by classroom teachers it aims to engage all students in meaningful and sustainable activity that directly builds on Musical Futures principles and pedagogy.

Here, members of the team introduce themselves, their reasons for wanting to be involved in the project and their hopes for what can be achieved.

Abigail D’Amore, Musical Futures Project Leader introduces “Find Your Voice”

5 Minutes with Phil Heeley: What makes him tick about tech?

Rob Kitchen on why he loves singing and what he feels a new approach to singing in the classroom can achieve

Sharon Durrant on the voice and engaging young people with singing in secondary/high school

photoSocial Media obsessive Anna Gower can be found glued to her laptop/phone/iPad for the duration of #mfpilot2013 welcoming people to the co-pilot, Facebook group, Music Teacher Network (Ning), posting the occasional tweet as @musicalfutures and live blogging our training in Feb.

Anna wants to know whether we have too many ways for teachers to share during the pilot. Do you have a preference? Use the comment box below or tweet so we can find the most effective way to own this pilot. Take an idea, use it, innovate with it and share. And help change the face of CPD in music education for the 21st Century!

Watch Anna’s video HERE

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Imagine the possibilities….come on our co-pilot journey

…and they said I’d never get this school singing… pah…

In our recent call for schools to pilot new approaches to learning through singing and technology, we received over 100 applications of an incredibly high standard for just 15 places. This got us thinking. With this level of interest, could we possibly run a second pilot, managed through online networking and support via our various forms of social media so that many more students could have the chance to experience what we are sure will be an innovative and exciting new approach for use with year 7 (age 11-12) classes?

The approaches

It’s Your Voice: students will deconstruct music that they are familiar with, and rebuild it entirely using their voices (replicating melody, bass, percussion etc). The approach will aim to build student confidence with how they can use their voices in a variety of ways, and also develop teacher confidence with delivering vocal approaches that build exclusively on Musical Futures principles

It’s Your Choice: an exploration of the creative possibilities of using mobile/tablet technology in the classroom. It will involve students creating music exclusively using mobile devices – not attempting to replace instruments, but to show how this technology can contribute to a music classroom.

Both approaches will be delivered exclusively by classroom teachers, testing their feasibility and replicability.

How the co pilot will work

  • The co pilot will be open to any school, anywhere (UK and beyond!) and there is no selection process. Sign up and you will be sent all the information and resources you need to get started.
  • We will make video and guidance from the training day available via our website and blog for teachers to plan the project in their schools
  • We will make all resources from the pilot available to all members of the co-pilot. Co piloters will have access to webinars, live chat, the #mfpilot hashtag on twitter, a closed facebook group hosted by a member of the core MF team and a discussion thread on our teacher network
  • We will invite everyone involved in the pilot and co pilot that has tried the approaches to a national CPD and networking event at the end of the year

What you need to do

  • Identify a block of time when you can run the project with a year 7 (or equivalent) class.
  • Sign up for the co pilot and you will be emailed details of training materials as they are released and instructions for how to sign up to the various online resource areas you will need to be able to access
  • Watch the video and read the guidance from the sessions that will be taking place at the training for the pilot schools on Feb 14th and 15th
  • Check your email for updated information and guidance as the project progresses
  • Watch email and Twitter for details of live webinars and chat you can participate in to meet other teachers and get advice from the core team including from singing and technology specialists
  • Feed back to us about how you are getting on and we will add any video or recordings to the galleries on our website


David Price OBE blog

Taster Video: What’s the fuss about?Image


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The Musical Futures Movement #mufu2013


Musical Futures is a movement to reshape music education driven by teachers for teachers.

What a fantastic way to relaunch the Musical Futures blog: a new slogan, new pilots and for the first time ALL our champion teachers from across the UK in one place.

If you follow us on Twitter you won’t have been able to miss the buzz surrounding #mufu2013 which is still going on as teachers share the ideas they have already been trying in the classroom and reflecting on the interesting and lively debate that continues to surround MF in these times of uncertainty! Over the next few weeks, we will be blogging about the sessions, sharing ideas and video for those that weren’t there but who would like to know what the fuss is about and profiling the work of our champion teachers driving MF forward.

Reflective practice and the sharing of ideas is what keeps our teachers ticking and Martin Said, Champion Teacher from Cramlington Learning Village has been blogging about the keynote given by our Project Consultant David Price. Read his summary of the session and where he feels this will take him HERE and don’t forget to follow our blog for many more exciting new ideas, resources and things to think about coming very soon!

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