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Singing: The halls are alive with the sound of music

Drop in the Ocean
Youth Music's Song for Youth

Having trouble with maths? Or English? Struggling in class? Ten-year-old Leah Grimshaw has an internal coping mechanism when the going gets tough. She sings - silently, to herself; losing herself for a moment in one of the songs from a wide repertoire sung at school. She says singing puts things into perspective and makes her feel better.

This summer, Leah's head has been full of song, as the children of Lindley junior school in Huddersfield, where Leah is a pupil, have been rehearsing a powerful pop ballad, "Drop in the Ocean". This celebratory song for the Queen's Golden Jubilee has been distributed to schools, youth groups and choirs nationally by the National Foundation for Youth Music (NFYM), and has so far provided a focus for more than 100 singing and music events involving thousands of young people, with more dates reaching into 2003.

Written by composer and conductor Tolga Kashif, "Drop in the Ocean" is an emotionally charged, uplifting yet simple ballad intended to help children view themselves as a unique part of the whole "ocean" of human consciousness.

"Drop in the Ocean" is the latest in a series of NFYM "singing challenges" to encourage young people to take up singing. Projects include adult choirs working with children, help for schools to compose new songs, choreographers improving school singing by encouraging children to move, and the establishment of a repertoire of boy-friendly songs.

Tom Meredith, assistant principal at Kirklees Music School, trained teachers in the authority for its performance in using the pack. "We have a strong choral tradition in the authority but `Drop in the Ocean' has been a catalyst for some schools to get involved," he says. "It's about building confidence for teachers and pupils. Singing together is life-enhancing."

Apply for a free `Drop in the Ocean' pack at www.youthmusic.org.uk , or telephone: 0845 6021996.

The next large-scale performances of the song will be at Grimsby junior schools' music festival on June 18 and 19, London's String of Pearls festival, Berkeley Square, on June 23 and North Warwickshire's schools' Intercultural Festival, Bedworth Civic Hall, on June 24.

To read this story in full see Friday Magazine in this week's TES.nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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