Music therapy

Voices around the world in International Teacher Magazine
Singing in a global choir

Young people in schools around the world are fighting back against Covid-19 with music. Laurie Lewin invites your school to join in.

 The Voices Around The World Annual Project

Voices Around The World has been running now for nine years. Each year we make an international music video with schools recording the voices of thousands of students using an original song often written by a well-known person in the music industry. We put mp3 choir parts up on our website available free of charge for schools around the world. They learn these, send us their vocal recordings and we do the magic of mixing their audio and video recordings together into a final full music video of all the schools who choose to join in. It’s been a great journey over the years, creating a lot of fun for a lot of youngsters and hopefully the teachers too. In last year’s song video, we involved more than 7,000 youngsters from 65 countries with the song ‘What Kind Of World Are We Trying To Make?’ If for some reason you have not seen it, here is your chance now ….

This year’s project

We changed our plans radically for this year’s project, when Covid struck, because we rapidly came to understand that most of the schools we work with were struggling in so many different ways and music departments in particular were really having a hard time, if they were managing to operate at all. We decided to make our project a very special Voices Around The World ‘Fight Back Against The Corona Virus Project.’ We enlisted the help of old friend and pop legend Howard Jones who wrote a special song for us ‘With This Hope In My Heart’ and our in house team wrote ‘We Are The Change’ – two really uplifting songs for the students to learn. We then began working with schools and youth organisations worldwide to get students to learn these songs, record the vocals and send the tracks and the videos to us to mix using our well tried and tested methods. Here is what we just told schools about the project:

What has been different in 2020?

The BIG difference for the project this time is –  whereas in the past teachers would have recorded choirs or choir groups, now – with social distancing – they are recording students individually or students are even recording themselves on phones, computers or tablets at home.  Audio and video recordings are usually made at the same time. Results sent in so far have been surprisingly good.

Keeping music alive

It has been interesting to hear from music teachers we work with in different parts of the world,  At the moment. In Harlem, New York, they tell us they are really struggling just to get back into school and music is generally not seen as any kind of a priority. In Malaysia the teachers show enthusiasm to get music up and running and the green light was given for limited choir work until the time when another lockdown was announced.

 

Sanitised instruments

In South Korea, as you can see in the photo above, they have valiantly carried on singing, albeit fully masked up, while in Bahrain they tell us of the rigors, or rigor mortice of constantly sanitising instruments and trying to find any alternative ways of doing inventive forms of hand percussion work on desks.  Talking to schools in the UK, music and the arts do not seem to feature very high on the agenda. All in all, keeping the music curriculum alive seems to be quite a challenge.

Encouraging schools with music

Of course, many schools and students are still struggling and there are many barriers to normal working routines, interruptions and constant changes because of the virus.  We will continue to do our very best to encourage all schools and youth organisations and all of those with whom we work. We will do all we can to help schools overcome obstacles to get their recordings made.

Giving staff and students a boost

We remain convinced and determined through the feedback we have received, that involving students in a positive project such as this Voices Around The World Project gives students and their teachers something meaningful and uplifting to hold onto. It may be, as you are reading this, that you are thinking that your music department or one that you know of, would benefit from joining this ‘Fight Back Against The Virus Battle.’ If so, please do not hesitate to link them up with us. As we have mentioned, all the resources are readily available on our Voices Around The World website including the downloadable guide mp3 choir vocal tracks, the backing tracks, the music score along with karaoke lyric practice videos making it super easy for the students to learn the songs.  https://voicesaround.com/2020-song-project

It’s not too late to join us for 2020 – 21

It is definitely not too late to join the project. We are giving schools plenty of time, with a fairly elastic deadline in the light of the constantly changing circumstances with the pandemic. The eventual music video that we make from this will be incredibly magical and something that we are sure will help to lift the spirits of people around the world and put some hope in their hearts!  Lets’ make our students into the ones that really make a difference in the world RIGHT NOW!

 

Former international school music teacher, Laurie Lewin, is the Founder and Project Director of Voices Around the World.

Become Part of the 2020-21 Voices Around The World Song Project – ‘With This Hope In My Heart’ and ‘We Are The Change?’

 

To join the project, click the link! https://voicesaround.com/2020-song-project

Images kindly provided by Laurie