In September 1939 a new BBC radio program was broadcast to schools across the country. Singing Together was an hour long radio program that provided pupils with an entertaining, informative, educational musical experience. Singing Together was a response to the difficulties of teaching children during the conflict of world war two, and aimed to unite children around the country in song and boost morale during troubled times. It was hugely popular with an estimated eight out of ten schools tuning at its height.
Folk songs, nonsense songs, everything was included to appeal to the children that took part. Pamphlets were included with the lyrics and musical score of the songs in each broadcast. They were completed by some beautiful illustrations of the stories within the music.
The program continued through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and the last programmes were made in the mid-1990s and despite an attempted relaunch in 2000, Singing Together finally stopped being broadcast in 2004.
The history and relevance of Singing Together is documented by Jarvis Cocker has presented a really interesting and informative program for Radio Four. It’s a great and I would recommend a listen if you are interested in finding out more.
What is the relevance to us today and how can it be used in the work we do?
• It is inspirational. Groups of children learning through song is part of our work at Musica
• The pamphlets are a great resource to dip into for song ideas to Sing with both children and older adults.
• It can be used as a reminiscence tool for older adult work.
• Singing together unites and bonds groups
• It is a program designed for children, therefore the songs are simple and children can learn them quickly.
• The songs are light-hearted and enjoyable to sing.
• Singing together has been a part of so many peoples musical education at school. It is a part of our educational heritage.
• Many of the songs could be described as folk songs, which talk of our lands and culture. This is educational tool for children.
• There are also songs from different cultures such as France and America. This is also a great educational tool!
The importance of singing is highlighted through the broadcasts of Singing Together. This message is as relevant today as it was then. There are so many reasons to talk about and include the program in work with both older adults and children. It really was a super program that has provided us with a legacy which can be beneficial to both young people and those in the later stages of life.