Give your child the confidence so that that they can sparkle this year in the Nativity at school or the annual Christmas show?

The silly season is fast approaching and for many parents the diary contains the nativity at school, a Christmas Carol Service or a festive production. This is either the highlight of some children’s time at school or in the blink of an eye it becomes a dreaded event every year and permeates into adult life.

For the teachers in schools across the country they are tasked with the job of getting a minimum of 30 children to learn a script, learn song lyrics, perform with ‘A loud voice’ enter and exit the stage in an orderly fashion and give the school audience of parents, governors and fellow staff a show to remember. Teachers are fraught as of this needs to happen alongside ensuring that your child has completed the basics of literacy and numeracy each day. The individual confidence of each child and being able to embed the specific skills of helping that child to embrace the entire situation with confidence and learn skills for life from this event are likely to be a distance dream. Its impossible for school teachers to work with each child and help them to shine as an individual and ensure that it is a positive experience standing on that stage in front of all those people. Its an event in the school diary, it must happen, and it does but often with unknown and unintentional long lasting detrimental effects for the children involved.

The script comes home containing the lines that your child must learn or the character that they must play and before they know it they are on the stage in front of a hall full of faces eagerly watching them to perform.

This experience for a child can either be the moment that you realise they need to nurture their natural talents and hunt out a drama school or it can be the most terrifying event for a child ever and they dread it every year. If they trip up, end up saying something hilarious and the laughter erupts across the audience or they forget their line it can be so damaging to a child’s long-term confidence. This latter situation is all too common and makes my heart bleed. It can go on to affect any public speaking an adult does in later life, a job interview they attend, a presentation they must execute at college or a pressurised situation i.e. father of the bride speech, a eulogy.

As adults we all have to ‘perform’ and present in our lives often not through choice and it may not come naturally. This could be such a difference experience, a positive one, if as a child the foundations are laid. So many adults now talk about experiences in school choirs and in public performances that haunt them for the rest of their lives. It could all have been so different.

At an early age and throughout primary school children are forming their views on the world and their comfort zones. One awful experience on the nativity stage can have a lasting and damaging effect. However, a positive experience could set them up to shape their future.

Wouldn’t you prefer to give them the mechanisms and skills to handle public performances and presentations so that they have the foundations to cope with whatever happens in performance in front of lots of people. Would you like to be comfortable in the knowledge that your child has the skills for life to handle any moment that they are in spotlight!

Drama and singing training is fun but it is not just there to nurture the talents of those wishing to pursue a life on the stage. Some organisations are about the talented few and creating a triple threat (a dancing, acting and singing superstar) set to take the West End Stage by storm however Little Voices exists to give EVERY child the confidence to be the best that they can be. Yes we have taught West End success stories but this happens for a small minority of children/adults. Little Voices believes that every child has something special to share and that life skills such as confidence, good eye contact, excellent posture, creating a good first impression, handling  and self-belief are crucial to success in any walk of life; be it a solicitor, a shop assistant, a dentist or a doctor…the list is endless.

SO, give your child or a child that you know the chance to shine this Christmas and find a Little Voices lesson near to you!

Ali Hartland

 

 

 

 

We are so proud!

My blog for this month has been written by our founder Jane after being nominated for a national award.

“There are lots of moments throughout the last 10 years that have filled me with pride and every child’s experience with Little Voices and the numerous stories that hear about on a daily basis fuel me to drive forward with Little Voices year upon year. I know what we do through our singing and drama lessons has such a positive and fundamentally important effect on a child’s all round education.
Helping children to achieve their dreams and secure places at university to study law or accounting or a place at drama school is so fulfilling. We then keep in touch and I remember hearing about the first pupil we had ever taught that landed their first TV role another that got a job in the media with Sky TV, someone else that had started their own business and hearing from pupils who have gone on to study so many different subjects; veterinary surgery, law, business studies, not just performing arts. We like to celebrate our pupils GCSE and A Level results, the secondary school that they are accepted into, how their hard work in their SATS has paid off. At Little Voices it is really important to us how a child is progressing in all areas of their life. We get to know our pupils really well and as a result share their successes. Its thrilling to see the youngest Mini Voices children enter the LAMDA exam room with a spring in their step and a confidence to show the examiner their poem, chat about their favourite toy and highlight their big voice, excellent posture and high level of communication skills that are so important to everyone at any age! We can lay those foundations for life and it is all learnt from a fun drama and singing lessons each week.
Tutors learn so much from their pupils too and I imagine that every tutor has an abundance of stories and anecdotes to share with you of children they have taught at Little Voices and how they have felt proud. I have so many proud moments that it is hard to pin point one or two as they have all been special in their own way.
I am incredibly proud of our tutors. All of the tutors share one passion and one goal and that is to care for each individual pupil that attends Little Voices. I witness how keen they are to equip the pupils for the big wide world and handle whatever life throws at them. They aim to be the teachers that pupils remember far into their adult life – we all remember those teachers!! This is achieved through the medium of lessons, the way we collectively care for the pupils as individuals and the excellent delivery of vocal and dramatic techniques.
I have spent the morning talking to parents and it is really fantastic to hear about all the other activities that children take part in and their achievements and development through the years. Lots of parents are keen to express the benefits of Little Voices and what they feel that their child has got out of the lessons, why they see them continuing for years to come and what sets us apart from other organisations. They talk about how much fun their child has, how they feel looked after and special, that it is the one activity that they can arrive feeling flat after a long day at school but come out after their lesson jumping with energy and a beaming smile on their face, the one activity that they know as parents has a knock on effect to all areas of their child’s life and development and they are gaining such valuable life skills to help them in whatever job role they go into!
It is great to hear all of this feedback and I am so flattered, we all are. However for us we do what we do because we care. We know that every single child is unique and has something special to share. When a child feels safe and comfortable they will flourish and we want to play a role in helping each child to be the best that they can be. There is no better feeling than seeing child’s face light up when they receive their examination result, or they tell us that they have got a role in the school play, that they used their knowledge of breathing taught to them by our singing teachers in biology at high school, that they knew how to handle nerves in the audition or taking their SATS wasn’t so scary because they have done loads of exams with Little Voices.
Every parent wants their child to be happy and to succeed in life. It is a pleasure to be part of that journey for each and every child and family. I am blessed to have proud moments every day in my job!!”

Would love to hear your thoughts on this too…

Ali x

New drama and singing school for budding musical theatre stars launches in Altrincham

A professional performance artist has launched a new drama and singing school for budding musical theatre stars in Altrincham.

Little Voices, part of the award-winning national franchise, will provide drama and singing lessons to children aged 4 to 18 in small groups of six to eight pupils. It will be based at  St Georges Parish Centre on Church Walk.

It’s been set up by Ali Vale, who has worked in major international and West End shows, as well as dancing tango alongside Madonna in Alan Parker’s movie ‘Evita’.

She’ll be joined by Altrincham-based tutors, Liz Simmons and Kate Nelson, who are both professionally trained.

Little Voices was originally set up 10 years ago by professional singer Jane Maudsley

Little Voices was originally set up 10 years ago by professional singer Jane Maudsley

Children work towards L.A.M.D.A. Musical Theatre and Communications Examinations, in which Little Voices has a 98% success rate.

Jane Maudsley, the professional singer who founded Little Voices 10 years ago, said: “We’ve long been planning a presence in Altrincham but we had to wait patiently for the right location and the right person to become available. Ali, Liz and Kate are the perfect trio of experienced teachers to launch what we see as a keystone operation for our business.”

Ali Vale, of Little Voices South Manchester, said: “We welcome children of all ages from the South Manchester area including Altrincham, Timperley, Hale, Hale Barns and Bowdon.

Liz, Ali and Kate from Little Voices South Manchester, together with founder Jane Maudsley (second right)

Liz, Ali and Kate from Little Voices South Manchester, together with founder Jane Maudsley (second right)

“We’re very excited to launch and provide an opportunity for local youngsters to get inspired by musical theatre, learn new skills and equip them with social confidence as they develop into young adults.”

The classes launch with three age groups:

  • Mini Voices – lessons are 30 minutes and designed for 4 to 7 year olds
  • Little Voices – lessons are 45 minutes and designed for 7 to 12 year olds
  • Voices – lessons are 45 minutes and designed for 12 to 18 year olds.

A no obligation free trial is being offered to local children on February 22nd – parents should apply via www.littlevoices.org.uk/locations/altrincham