The charity Live Music Now (LMN) has been short listed for a Royal Philharmonic Society Music Education Award. The Awards recognise the UK's finest live music making with LMN being acknowledged for its imaginative Vocalise education programme.
The Vocalise project establishes singing and signing choirs in special schools to engage pupils in group singing activities, whilst enhancing their communication skills through signing. Children with learning disabilities rarely get the chance to interact in this way, due to lack of music teachers with the specific skills to engage them, a shortage of resources within special schools and the misconception that young people with communication difficulties will not be able to participate.
The project involved a strong element of specialist training for the young LMN musicians and the creation of a resource pack to assist special schools in the UK to set up their own singing and signing choirs.
Rosemary Johnson, Executive Director, The Royal Philharmonic Society said;
"The RPS Education Award, sponsored by the Musician's Benevolent Fund, reflects inspirational outreach work of organisations around the country which both pushes creative boundaries and excites and engages audiences.
"Live Music Now's singing and signing projecct Vocalise provided a unique musical experience, so often denied children in special education, as well as enhancing communication skills and visibly improving confidence and self esteen. As in all the best educational experiences as much was gained by those leading the project as those participating."
Sarah Derbyshire, MBE, Executive Director, Live Music Now said:
"We are delighted to be short listed for an RPS Award which highlights the considerable benefits of live music in education. Live music energises and inspires people and is a great communicator as our Vocalise project proves."
The final deliberation of the jurors will be announced on Tuesday 12 May.
The Vocalise project was led by Live Music Now Yorkshire & Lincolnshire in a partnership with York based Accessible Arts and Media and their 'Hands & Voices Choir' of learning disabled adults. LMN artists Debbie Bennett and Liz Keetley (a professional soprano & piano duo) were joined by a member of the 'Hands & Voices Choir', Martin Hodgson, a learning disabled apprentice, and his mentor Mollie Taylor to support the signing element of the project. The project was made possible through funding from Youth Music and the Mayfield Valley Arts Trust.