On the blog this week, Snape Maltings tell us about their ‘Friday Afternoons’ project and a new guidance resource they’ve created for advisers to use in their settings for delivering Arts Award Discover based on activities around singing.
Inspired by composer Benjamin Britten, Friday Afternoons is a project run by Snape Maltings which encourages quality and creativity in singing with young people. Our ever-growing Song Bank contains new music and support material to help teachers develop their students’ skills – as performers, listeners and composers.
The Friday Afternoons initiative began in 2013 as part of the celebrations for Benjamin Britten’s centenary. What was initially just a Suffolk project became regional, then national and finally global. Over 80,000 children across the world have been involved in the project since it began and we now have a collection of over 60 songs available for free in our Song Bank, including an all new set for 2018 by Errollyn Wallen. There is a whole host of resources available for free on the website, including teaching and accessibility resources to help as many people as possible engage with the songs.
Friday Afternoons and Arts Award Discover
The mission of Arts Award to support young people to enjoy the arts is wholly aligned with our ambition to encourage the next generation to embrace the world of song. Because of this, Friday Afternoons has encouraged participation in Arts Award since the very early days of the project. At Snape Maltings, the Learning and Inclusion team are all trained advisers, and we support Arts Award delivery through our programmes, as well as actively delivering it ourselves. Our advocacy and support for Arts Award comes not just through the alignment of our ethos, but the vision of Britten himself, whose legacy continues to inspire our organisation.
Britten is known for his strong vision for the role of music within a community, and for his thoughts around the importance for children and young people to have a positive and relevant relationship with music. He said:
'It's futile to offer children music by which they are bored, or makes them feel inadequate or frustrated, which may set them against music forever.'
His pioneering work in music education with young people saw them being placed at the heart of their own creative journeys, just as they are with Arts Award. Each year when commissioning songs for young voices, we ensure that the people the songs are written for are involved in the writing process. Once the songs are delivered, we actively encourage the songs to be used as a starting point for creative projects. We strive to make young people’s musical experience relevant to them, something that Arts Award also encourages by focusing on individual achievement.
Exploring the world of composition alongside performance is key to the Friday Afternoons project and stems from Britten’s belief that:
A musical experience needs three human beings at least, it requires
and a listener,
and unless these three take part together there is no musical experience.
Arts Award Discover encourages young people to actively engage with the arts through taking part in arts activities, finding out about artists and their work and sharing what they enjoyed and learnt through the award. Delivering this musically involves participation in the arts as each of the ‘human beings’ Britten spoke about: composer, performer, listener. This makes Arts Award a brilliant way of helping us ensure young people across the country have the opportunity to engage as each of Britten’s ‘beings’.
Within all artforms, including music, there is an enormous range of styles, genres, and ways to engage and enabling young artists to discover as many of these as possible is crucial in helping them define their creative futures.
The Friday Afternoons project aims to encourage healthy, creative and quality singing across the board through the repertoire we commission, not to confine young people to singing one type of music. While all the songs in our Song Bank are inspired by Britten’s original set, the commissions include music from composers working in a huge variety of disciplines. From folk to jazz to minimalism, part of a healthy musical upbringing is discovering as many genres as possible from the rich world of song.
New guidance resource
Through our experience of delivering Arts Award using singing we have launched a guidance resource, walking advisers through how to deliver Discover using our resources. The guide takes you through each section of the Award, providing links to materials and starting points for working out how delivery would work best for you and your young people.
Showcasing your young people’s achievements
As well as accessing free materials through the Song Bank, our Showcase section can be used as a way of evidencing and sharing your young people’s participation, through video or audio uploads.
The Friday Afternoons materials are not limited to Discover level - they can also be used to deliver some elements of the other Arts Award qualifications.
Discounted rate available for Discover certification cost
Until November 2018 you can apply a special discount on certificates if you deliver Arts Award Discover using the resources available on the Friday Afternoons website. To find out more about the project, access our new resources, and for details of the discount, please visit the Friday Afternoons Arts Award page.