Notes from a visiting Choir Leader

“This half term, I was fortunate to travel to Mumbai and meet all of the groups ran by Songbound volunteers each week. Meeting each of the choir leaders and leading them in a days’ workshop; meeting all of the children and then conducting the final concert.

I was welcomed by all of the children who were from aged 3 to 17. Some spoke fluent English, others didn’t speak any English and yet had learnt some of the English songs beautifully. We all celebrated together with a range of songs; from ‘Snap, snap, snap’ – a very simple nursery rhyme through to Louis Armstrong’s ‘Wonderful World’ as well as two Hindu songs from Bollywood Movies. I am teaching the same songs to the children of The Lyceum to then try and set up a video link to share with the schools that have access to YouTube.

My experience with the Songbound groups was life-changing. The facilities of some of the schools were eye-opening. Some groups meet in empty concrete buildings – where children are at ‘school’ on building sites as their fathers are construction workers. Some children are in run-down buildings because they are the children of mothers who work in the red-light district. There aren’t the funds to send them to government schools.

I was so impressed by how polite all of the children were while I was in Mumbai. They were so pleased to be learning and to have the opportunity to take part in singing. The concert at the end was a joyful celebration of how music can bring people together from all walks of life and how singing can bring happiness and fun above language, cultures and financial challenges.

I return to the Lyceum, grateful for the resources that we have and happy to be working with such talented children. I aim to stretch their brains even further for the rest of the term!”

This article was originally published on the Lyceum School website.