Impact and case studies
7th Apr 2016

Teacher Spotlight: Shelley Cohen

Top tips and singing inspiration from Shelley Cohen, Sing Up Member and teacher from Sacks Morasha Primary School

Sing Up
Teacher Spotlight: Shelley Cohen

Position: Year 4 class teacher

What do you think singing brings to everyday school life?

The children come into the classroom in the morning and they are really focused. They come in, see new lyrics on the desk and are keen to find out what we’re learning next! When we sing throughout the day, they seem to be able to concentrate more, as the singing provides them with a brain break. They are so excited for our singing assemblies and can’t wait to share their music with others!

What impact has singing had on the pupils in your school?

Daily singing brings a positive energy into the classroom. We are developing a culture in the classroom where singing is part of our routine. Children become part of a team when they learn and sing the songs together. They feel empowered through the songs - starting each day by joining together in harmony or by thinking about the important messages of some of the lyrics.  Pupils have told me how they feel a sense of achievement and pride when they learn a new song and that they feel very musical now! They are surprising themselves every day by realising what they’re capable of.

What kind of skills do you think singing – particularly performing in front of an audience – equips pupils with?

Singing has meant that children are working towards something together- they have recognised talent in themselves and in each other. Singing promotes teamwork, boosting self-esteem and giving them confidence to share their performances with others. When they see people enjoying their music, they feel proud to be part of it.

What are your favourite songs on the Sing Up site and why?

Songs that we have really enjoyed singing as a class are Wish, Believe, One and a million, A Keelie and Oleo. The children enjoy learning about different languages and cultures, so the African songs have really been fun to learn! With Wish and One and a million, children had an opportunity to explore harmonies, which was challenging for them but exciting. The messages of the songs have been fantastic PSHE discussion points and have boosted their self-esteem.

What are your favourite singing resources and why?

I really think that the song sheets with the lyrics under the notes are fantastic for introducing a new song to the children. They are seeing the music in print and are learning to follow it. The performance tracks also help us to perform the songs and listen to how they should sound, before tying it with a backing track!

What are your top tips for getting your colleagues leading singing confidently?

I think it is about showing children that you are enjoying it! Even if you’re not at first because it is daunting, smiling and showing them that you’re giving it a whole hearted attempt is the best way. To start with, it’s less about being a good singer and more about enthusing the children about the music. Also, singing daily and finding regular slots for the singing in your timetable. I like to start every day with a song!

Is there anything else you would like to mention about singing in your school?

The children in Year 4 are not singing/ standing as a choir. Often, when we sing together, the children find a space in the classroom or hall and fill the room. When we sing in front of others, we think of it not as performing, but as sharing! We are simply sharing what we do every day in our own classroom.

Sacks Morasha Year 4 singing One and a million for Sing Up Day.

We'd love you to be our next Teacher Spotlight- Get in touch at [email protected] and let us know what you have been up to! Make sure you see more of our Teacher Spotlights for inspiration.