3 weeks into Singing for Fun – Reflecting on the Content

I love singing and this project is so much fun for me, let alone the participants! Watching older people engage in a creative experience is very rewarding. Seeing them smile and laugh, and ask to take the song-sheets home at the end is such a joy, for me, and for them. But what else? The Silver Song Club model, run across the South-East region by the charity Sing For Your Life has pioneered singing for older people and have developed, from extensive evaluation of its clubs, a set of criteria:

  1. Initiate one-to-one welcoming

  2. Invoke memories

  3. Stimulate fine motor skills

  4. Stimulate grand motor skills

  5. Encourage social interaction

  6. Encourage client leadership

  7. Provide progressive learning outcomes

  8. Provide platforms for reminiscence dialogue

  9. Give free choice

  10. Cover multicultural material

  11. Encourage shared performance

  12. (from the Sing for Your Life website)

These criteria help shape workshops which engage with individuals through physical and mental stimulation, no matter what their circumstances/abilities, as well as helping facilitate interaction between the participants, and develop community. Having been involved for a little while with a Silver Song Club, the intentionality of some of these criteria can be fantastic to shape what could simply be a sing-along into something with more structure and purpose. However, it can run the risk of being formulaic, lacking in spontaneity as well as being a little bit patronising. Despite this, it is an extremely good checklist for workshops, particularly thoseĀ  for older older people.

The group I work with in Witney is a younger group, and on the whole everyone is still physically fit, living independently and not really needing a lot of the above criteria. Most of the participants stay on for a gentle exercise class afterwards, so I try and focus on singing new songs, on engaging their creativity by asking them to come up with new verses or actions, and on harmony singing which many find takes a lot of concentration.

It is my hope to develop my own tools and frameworks to help me when planning workshops for groups that have different needs.

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