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Junior Choir director Janey writes……..

Music is at the centre of my life and it’s a joy to be able to share this passion with families and young people at St. George’s. As the profile of music in schools declines, I’m keen to ensure children are introduced to music at every opportunity. This short article is to let people know of the children’s musical activities I’m involved in at St George’s Church.

I’ve been leading the Junior Choir at St. George’s since May 2016.  The Junior Choir lead the music in the Family Service in St George’s on the first Sunday of the month. On the other Sundays, the choir rehearse in the choir vestry from 11-12, with my husband, Ian as accompanist. The children in the choir currently range between nine and thirteen years of age, but some children have joined as young as six.

We always start with vocal and physical warm-ups and then we turn our attention to the music for the next Family Service. We usually have to perform ten pieces of music for each service: two anthems; four movements from the chosen Mass setting and; four hymns.  In recent years the almost daily exposure to traditional hymns has declined so rehearsal time has to be devoted to ensuring the hymns are known and these young people can fully participate in the Family Service.  We use musical scores, but as most of children do not read music, the music is taught phrase by phrase.  We also focus on various performance aspects of the musical notation to expand their musical understanding and knowledge.

It’s been a pleasure over the past three and a half years watching the young people of Junior Choir develop as individuals and musicians. We are keen to expand the number of choir members and thus the repertoire we can perform. The choir is free to join and all that is needed is enthusiasm and a desire to develop your singing voice.

In June 2020 I will be leading the third Junior Choral Festival as part of the Arts at St George’s week. I spend the summer term visiting various local primary schools, rehearsing about twelve songs with them. The culmination of this project involves an early afternoon massed rehearsal and a late afternoon concert.

In July 2014 I set up Maxwell Mini Music, my independent pre-school music groups. This was created as desire to provide a nurturing, caring environment for babies and young children to enjoy their earliest educational experiences.  As a school music teacher I was becoming increasingly concerned at the number of children who arrive in school unable to listen and focus. Listening is vital to every child’s education and I believe music is the perfect medium to start developing these skills. In the right environment music has the potential to develop confidence in every child. My lessons are inspired by Zoltan Kodály’s philosophy of music education with an emphasis on using simple unaccompanied tunes of a limited range and tone set, suitable for young voices.  Last academic year I studied for the British Kodály Academy’s ‘Certificate of Professional Practice in the Kodály Concept of Music Education for Early Years’ and was awarded a Distinction.  Further details about Maxwell Mini Music and Zoltán Kodály can be found at maxwellminimusic.co.uk and kodaly.org.uk

If you would like to discuss Junior Choir or Maxwell Mini Music,  contact Janey on: maxwellminimusic@gmail.co.uk or 07762 102732.