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“The Heroes Inside” Building Communities in Community Choirs Evan Dawson Head of Development, Making Music CULTURE, HEALTH & WELLBEING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE,

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Presentation on theme: "“The Heroes Inside” Building Communities in Community Choirs Evan Dawson Head of Development, Making Music CULTURE, HEALTH & WELLBEING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE,"— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Heroes Inside” Building Communities in Community Choirs Evan Dawson Head of Development, Making Music CULTURE, HEALTH & WELLBEING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, BRISTOL 2013

2 OVERVIEW 1. INTRODUCTIONS Making Music, Sound Sense and the TSRC 2. BACKGROUND Community choirs 3. VOCALITY What was it? What did we measure, and how? What did we find? 4. WHAT NEXT?... THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

3 INTRODUCTIONS The Partners THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS MAKING MUSIC Making Music is the UK’s number one organisation for voluntary music. Our 3,000 members include choirs, orchestras, music promoters, jazz and wind bands, community festivals, samba groups and more.

4 INTRODUCTIONS The Partners THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS MAKING MUSIC SOUND SENSE The UK professional association promoting community music and supporting community musicians.

5 INTRODUCTIONS The Partners THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS MAKING MUSIC SOUND SENSE THIRD SECTOR RESEARCH CENTRE The Third Sector Research Centre aims to enhance our knowledge of the sector through independent and critical research.

6 INTRODUCTIONS The Funders THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

7 BACKGROUND Community Choirs in the UK THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

8 BACKGROUND Community Choirs in the UK THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1935 – choral societies Making Music formed to support amateur choirs

9 BACKGROUND Community Choirs in the UK THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1935 – choral societies 1970s – community choirs People sing “without worrying about having a ‘good’ voice or ‘getting it right.’ Singing has been a part of life, a way of binding communities.” (Natural Voice Network)

10 BACKGROUND Community Choirs in the UK THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1935 – choral societies 1970s – community choirs 1990s – community music “Active music creation, equality is central, and the music making itself somehow tells the tale of the community that’s making it.” (Macdonald 1995)

11 BACKGROUND Community Choirs in the UK THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1935 – choral societies 1970s – community choirs 1990s – community music 2000s – reality tv and medical evidence

12 VOCALITY THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS RESEARCH QUESTION: “Does a singing group in an area of disadvantage contribute to community and personal development in that area; and if so, how?”

13 VOCALITY THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS EVALUATION OBJECTIVE: “To investigate the benefits and challenges of community choirs operating in areas of disadvantage as a tool for community development; and identify the best strategies for success of such choirs.”

14 VOCALITY the 8 places THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire Brent, London - Chalkhill Estate Gloucester – Barton and Tredworth East Brighton – Whitehawk and Woodingdean Torbay Newport, Gwent Cardiff – Riverside and Grangetown Kirklees

15 VOCALITY participants THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS Elders from a deprived London borough, one with a high population of people from black and minority ethnic groups Adults with learning difficulties Refugees and asylum seekers Communities in the lowest 30% of multiple deprivation Young parents in an area of mixed ethnicity and deprivation People of mixed language, religion and ethnicity, on a single high-crime street Patients at an inner-city GP surgery Parents at a poorly-performing school

16 VOCALITY Evaluation framework THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.MONITORING 2. QUANTITATIVE 3. QUALITATIVE

17 THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS Dealing with problems Feeling energetic Interested in other people Interested in new things Feeling healthy Making decisions Feeling cheerful Singing skills Feeling confident Feeling relaxed

18 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

19 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun “I really look forward to the group, it cheers me up. Tuesdays can't come around quick enough. You sit in the house and you think, tomorrow we'll all be singing together, it's a wonderful feeling.”

20 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing “The reason we do it is that fits with our philosophy about the... prevention of the deterioration of mental health and wellbeing. We work with people on that basis – not as therapists but because we believe singing has therapeutic benefits.”

21 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing 3.Builds confidence “I think that raising aspirations and wellbeing is key for me. I really saw that with all the people that came. And a real sense of achievement. I've heard a little of their stories and what's going on in their lives, and for them to come to something for a positive experience and for those things to be put on the backburner is really important to them. And to network as well. And showing all of these things is important too.”

22 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing 3.Builds confidence 4.Appeals to people that other activities don’t “I haven't seen [housing association] residents in any other project before so it was a new set of people, new in that other things hadn't quite sparked their interest.”

23 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing 3.Builds confidence 4.Appeals to people that other activities don’t 5.Builds inclusion “I think they found connection to others, awareness of their wider community, feeling a bit more secure with those around them on the street. Breaking down barriers in terms of perception of other people.”

24 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing 3.Builds confidence 4.Appeals to people that other activities don’t 5.Builds inclusion 6.Builds respect and trust “When she sings a Kurdish song, Kurdish people love it more than if I sing it. Because it is a connection – singing in their language shows they don't hate you, they want to live with you, they are human, there is no difference between you and them.”

25 VOCALITY What singing did THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Fun 2.Wellbeing 3.Builds confidence 4.Appeals to people that other activities don’t 5.Builds inclusion 6.Builds respect and trust 7.The visible voice “For these [refugee and asylum seeking] communities it is an incredibly powerful tool as so silenced. Da said, you know we feel invisible but you made us feel visible.”

26 VOCALITY Conclusions THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS Can you set up a choir in a community of disadvantage and sustain it? If so, how?

27 VOCALITY Conclusions THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS YES! Of the 8 projects we funded, 5 developed singing groups – in most cases from nothing, and in areas of severe disadvantage – and found pathways to at least the start of continuing the group after Vocality funding had finished. All these 5 projects could identify a range of impacts the singing had produced; and all of them could point to tangible benefits the activity had brought to participants, to the singing leaders, to organisations directly involved in the process, and to the wider community. Can you set up a choir in a community of disadvantage and sustain it? If so, how?

28 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

29 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion

30 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker

31 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader

32 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader 4.Enough time and money

33 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader 4.Enough time and money 5.The right venue

34 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader 4.Enough time and money 5.The right venue 6.A Plan ‘B’

35 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader 4.Enough time and money 5.The right venue 6.A Plan ‘B’ 7.A meeter and greeter

36 VOCALITY 8 essential ingredients THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.A champion 2.Community development worker 3.A singing leader 4.Enough time and money 5.The right venue 6.A Plan ‘B’ 7.A meeter and greeter 8.Food

37 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS

38 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Singing groups can have a large impact on the wellbeing of participants in a relatively short space of time, as well as deliver a range of other benefits to the participating organisations and the wider community.

39 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Singing groups can have a large impact on the wellbeing of participants in a relatively short space of time, as well as deliver a range of other benefits to the participating organisations and the wider community. 2.It is possible to create sustainable singing groups in very challenged communities, provided that sufficient time is spent in developing relationships and support from local people, and partnerships with local organisations and community workers.

40 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Singing groups can have a large impact on the wellbeing of participants in a relatively short space of time, as well as deliver a range of other benefits to the participating organisations and the wider community. 2.It is possible to create sustainable singing groups in very challenged communities, provided that sufficient time is spent in developing relationships and support from local people, and partnerships with local organisations and community workers. 3.The qualities needed by the singing leader for such groups are diverse, embracing far more than just musical skills.

41 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Singing groups can have a large impact on the wellbeing of participants in a relatively short space of time, as well as deliver a range of other benefits to the participating organisations and the wider community. 2.It is possible to create sustainable singing groups in very challenged communities, provided that sufficient time is spent in developing relationships and support from local people, and partnerships with local organisations and community workers. 3.The qualities needed by the singing leader for such groups are diverse, embracing far more than just musical skills. 4.Participant numbers for singing groups in challenged communities can be quite small at the outset, but this can still have a strong impact, and form the basis for a sustainable group to continue. This work can take a long time to generate momentum, and short- term project funding may not be appropriate.

42 WHAT NEXT? THE HEROES INSIDE BUILDING COMMUNITIES IN COMMUNITY CHOIRS 1.Singing groups can have a large impact on the wellbeing of participants in a relatively short space of time, as well as deliver a range of other benefits to the participating organisations and the wider community. 2.It is possible to create sustainable singing groups in very challenged communities, provided that sufficient time is spent in developing relationships and support from local people, and partnerships with local organisations and community workers. 3.The qualities needed by the singing leader for such groups are diverse, embracing far more than just musical skills. 4.Participant numbers for singing groups in challenged communities can be quite small at the outset, but this can still have a strong impact, and form the basis for a sustainable group to continue. This work can take a long time to generate momentum, and short- term project funding may not be appropriate. 5.There is a powerful case for singing groups to be established in disadvantaged communities. Further research is needed to examine different models of delivery.

43 “The Heroes Inside” Building Communities in Community Choirs Evan Dawson, Making Music Kathryn Deane, Sound Sense Prof Angus McCabe, Third Sector Research Centre Download full report from CULTURE, HEALTH & WELLBEING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, BRISTOL 2013


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