057: Young Voices with musical director Craig McLeish

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The largest school choir concerts in the world Young Voices is in full swing for 2018 and I chat to their musical director Craig McLeish.

Craig wants to know your questions, thoughts and experiences of Young Voices. Get in touch and you may get your questions answered and a mention on the follow up show!

email mark@educationonfire.com

Composer, arranger and director Craig McLeish began his musical life as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral. He has worked with a wide variety of groups in several genres, and scored a hit with the cult pop band ‘Fat & Frantic’.  Recently, Craig has collaborated with composer Tolga Kashif writing orchestrations for the RPO’s Seo Taiji Symphony, the Classic FM chart-topping CD by saxophonist Tyler Rix, and the Genesis Suite which was premiered at the Barbican.  He is musical director of Young Voices UK, bringing large school choirs together to play with a live band and solo artists, and conducts the Milton Keynes Community Choir, Hart and Soul Community Choir and the Milton Keynes Youth Choir.



Young Voices

Craig was invited by Young Voices to become their Musical Director in the year 2000. Since then he has chosen and arranged all the music for each annual show, which now lasts a month and plays to packed arenas in Manchester London Sheffield and Birmingham. This year over 2500 schools took part and there are more joining for next year.

Craig takes months researching and arranging the music each year, producing a learning CD with comprehensive backing tracks and sheet music with notes to help the teachers in the classroom. The whole pack is designed to assist both musical and untrained choir leaders and there are further study notes to enhance the experience for the children involved.

Craig also directs the live band for the performances and he has assembled some of the most versatile and capable session musicians in the UK. They are always praised by any visiting artist, and over the years they have accompanied the likes of Beverley Knight, Joss Stone, Lemar, Heather Small, Jocelyn Brown, Matt Cardle, Lucy Spraggan, All Angels, Katherine Jenkins, Lee Ryan, Keith Semple and Connie Talbot.



Moo Music

Craig is the composer behind Moo Music’s very catchy songs with clever tunes and simple yet effective lyrics. Moo Music is a great fun and interactive regular music session for 0 to 5 year old children and their parents, grandparents or carers too, where the children sing, dance and play. Music is an essential part of every child’s development and the 100 original Moo Music songs used at the sessions are positive, uplifting, fun and educational. The interactive sessions help children gain confidence and develop memory, language and coordination skills in an exciting, enjoyable and multi-sensory way.



Choir Community

The choir scene in the UK and around the world is experiencing something of a ‘golden age’.

More and more people are recognising the joy and fulfilment that can be derived from the simple activity of singing together.  A community choir is a place not only to share a love of music, but also to form friendships, share life’s ups and downs and perhaps escape to a place of perfect positivity every so often!

It is estimated that the number of choirs in the UK alone has risen to over 40,000 in recent years, a large proportion of which have been formed purely to share the enjoyment of singing – and perhaps performing – music within a local community, workplace or other environment.

Find out more at www.choircommunity.net

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056: One Dance UK with Claire Somerville – Head of Children & Young People’s Dance

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One Dance UK is the national Sector Support Organisation for Dance and the lead Subject Association for Dance in Schools in England. We have a growing membership of teachers and schools, who all benefit from advice, resources and discounted conference/CPD opportunities.
I chat with Claire Somerville – Head of Children & Young People’s Dance, One Dance UK




We discuss

  • How dance is used as part of the P.E curriculum
  • How to use the funding available
  • U.Dance
  • Support for Governors and Trustees
  • Bridge organisations – How to get in touch with people from arts companies to support you in your school
  • Development of video to aid teachers

Website: www.onedanceuk.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/onedanceuk/

Twitter: @onedanceuk and @youthance (our school and youth dance twitter feed)


Useful links

Out PE & Sport Guidance: http://www.onedanceuk.org/resource/delivering-dance-through-the-pe-and-sports-premium-funding/

Bridge Organisations: http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/children-and-young-people/bridge-organisations

U.Dance Information (For dance performances): http://www.onedanceuk.org/programme/u-dance/u-dance-registration/

Dance Education: Guidance for Governors and Trustees: http://www.onedanceuk.org/resource/dance-education-guide-governors-trustees/


One Dance UK is the national body for dance in the UK, formed by the merger of Association of Dance of the African Diaspora (ADAD), Dance UK, National Dance Teachers Association (NDTA) and Youth Dance England. Our organisation represents dancers at all levels of the dance industry, and champions excellence in education, youth dance, dance of the African diaspora, performance, health and well-being, management, leadership and career development.

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055: Growing with Gratitude

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Growing with Gratitude – Learn how to change the culture of your school & classroom.


The Growing With Gratitude Program aims to help teachers, students and families easily develop the habits of gratitude, kindness and mindfulness that have been identified as the stepping stones to greater happiness and success.

Teaching children these skills as early as possible in their journey helps them develop greater resilience, builds their emotional and physical wellbeing, and promotes positive thoughts and habits.

The program is based around learning the Five Habits of Happiness, and can be completed by children in every primary year level with their teachers or with their parents at home (see the Families page for more information on the Home Grown Gratitude program designed especially for parents).


LISA AVERY is a positive psychologist, with over a decade of experience in educational settings. She’s particularly passionate about empowering young people through positive psychology, helping them uncover previously hidden strengths and tap into deep reserves of resilience.

Growing with Gratitude


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054: Funding Music Education in your school with UCan Play

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Jonathan Savage is Managing Director of UCan Play and we talk about Funding Music Education in your school.

We discuss the benefits of working in partnerships and making the most of the opportunities around you both on a local level and through the internet.

Jonathan has great experience from his role as Chair of Trustees for The Love Music Trust music hub in Cheshire. He has enjoyed a long career in music education, working for two high schools and co-leading the largest PGCE course in the UK at Manchester Metropolitan University.

He is a published author and editor having written for Routledge, the Open University Press and Sage.




Follow the links below to find out more about Jonathan and get his guide to Funding Music Education.

Twitter @jpjsavage

Listen to all the podcasts from the ‘Music and the Arts’ season please visit

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053: Events made easy with TryBooking

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TryBooking is UK’s most innovative event ticketing, booking and registration platform. We provide an all in one system that helps you manage everything online.



Streamline your events by selling tickets online.


Create smart forms with custom questions and online payments.


Grow your business with online bookings.


Build a stronger community with events and online donations.

Here is a few examples of how schools use us:
1.  Parent Teacher Meetings:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/404
2.  Nativity Concerts with Open Seating:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/2132
3.  Concert with Seating Plan in Tiered section only:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/2138
4.  School Trips: Trip to an Aquarium:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/1256
5.  Fundraising eg Quiz Nights:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/2100
6.  Fundraising eg Masked ball at a Prep School:  http://www.trybooking.co.uk/nw
All details about our costs:  https://www.trybooking.co.uk/pricing/
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