What makes Little Voices different to any other Performing Arts Organisation?

For those of you who may not have come across Little Voices before, we are a company that leads with our heart and genuinely cares for every individual that walks through our doors! Little Voices is an organisation that’s been nurturing children and guiding them for 13 years! We use drama, singing and performance skills that equip children for life! At Little Voices you will find outstanding tuition, expert guidance, support and traditional methods of teaching drama and singing, so that children can pursue a life on the stage or increase their confidence in all areas of their life.
At Little Voices we pride ourselves on traditional and inspirational yet fun filled lessons, which are taught by passionate and highly qualified tutors so that your child can excel in a happy environment.

So, what makes Little Voices different to any other Performing Arts Organisation?

 

LAMDA

In lessons pupils are taught and prepared for their LAMDA exams (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts). These exams are widely recognised and do eventually go towards UCAS points. These UCAS points can assist with our pupil’s University applications, so essentially pupils are building their CV from an early age! LAMDA have high standards and outstanding worldwide reputation. We do teach this is an extremely fun and up lifting way filled with positive reinforcement and encouragement! Little Voices is the second biggest customer, globally, to LAMDA with thousands of pupils across the UK achieving exam success each year! We are proud of our 100% Pass Rate and from this year our pupils even feature on the LAMDA website!

Giving Parents Peace of Mind!

Children’s activities in the UK are UNREGULATED.. Did you know that?! So parents have no idea whether the classes are safe! Activity providers don’t have any set standards to benchmark their services against, so anyone can set up a class with no safety standards, health regulations, training even – in place! Shocking, isn’t it?!

However, here at Little Voices we have been awarded 5 Gold Stars by The Children’s Activities Association, for compliance in everything from paediatric first aid, to GDPR to safeguarding, fire marshalling, and with the current circumstance, infection control and COVID 19 training- meaning that parents who enrol their children with Little Voices have FULL peace of mind that the

y will be looked after by full DBS enhanced tutors and that they have passed all Health & Safety & First Aid Qualifications.

Little Voices is the FIRST Performing Arts organisation to proudly pass this.

 

Small Class Sizes

At Little Voices we follow a very unique lesson structure of Drama and Singing. These lessons alternate each week, pupils have a full lesson focusing on their drama skills one week, and a full lesson concentrating on their vocal skills in singing the next week and so on. 

But, One of the biggest differences at Little Voices to any other organisation, is our super small class sizes. We work with children in groups of no more than 8! There are SO many benefits of this. Firstly, pupils get a lot more focus and attention from their tutors. Tutor are able to adapt lessons to suit the needs and strengths of our pupils. Not only are pupils receiving expert tuition, but a tutor is able to really nurture each individual personality and build a bond that promotes a child to feel 100% comfortable and safe in their lessons. In order for a child to grow and develop skills its important they feel both these things! As well as growing each individual personality, our small groups also encourage team work and all the skills to work as part of a team! From listening skills, to problem solving and being part of a ‘cast’! These are skills that are important throughout life.
We love our small class sizes! It ensure NO child gets left at the back, no matter how shy or confident, and children are able to make friends, some that may stick with them for life!
Although we do work towards exams, building a child’s confidence and nurturing each individual personality is our main focus!

              

Children’s Mental Health & Well being

Here at Little Voices we are passionate about creating a safe environment for children to feel safe and comfortable in their own skin! We are always promoting positive reinforcement and encourage children to talk through their feelings, and use their time with us to truly express themselves!- That’s what theatre is all about after all!

Did you know anxiety affects 1 in 5 children in the UK?  We know children go through lots of ups and downs in their lives, they can be open to nerves and anxieties, and this may be even more heightened with the current pandemic. At a time when children’s confidence is quite low, they’re struggling with emotions & feelings, performing arts lessons, particularly those taught in small classes, really help with positive mental health & help create a happy child!

At Little Voices we thrive on building a child’s confidence, and this is done by building a very special bond between tutor & pupil, they trust their tutors and are encouraged to give anything a go, with no fear of making mistakes! Each child is on their own little journey & have different needs, it’s up to us to nurture their own personalities and help them grow!! The skills they learn to help cope with emotions, nerves, changes in life, are skills will stick with them throughout life.

Critical thinking skills and creative problem-solving abilities are goals for children’s development, as well as exploring different emotions! Not only that, but singing and drama actually have SO many health benefits too!

 

Schools

We recognise the tremendous work teachers do for our children. At Little Voices we work very closely with school teachers to help provide this tuition that may be missing in the school. With cuts to the curriculum, we understand the pressure schools may be under to provide a taste of the Arts to their pupils. We have had many conversations with Head teachers over the past year, who simply don’t have the time or the expertise to give pupils this option, and we completely understand this! We are an external organisation that works very closely with each schools needs to create a programme that’s right for their pupils and school, enabling schools to give their pupils chance to explore their imaginations, build confidence and develop life skills. We currently have school partnerships and have been helping schools to create super happy children and creating a safe space to talk through their feelings and have fun!

 

If you would like to book free trial lesson at any of our centres across the Fylde Coast, or to arrange a phone call with your school please email or phone on 07599709306

WHY IS PERFORMING ARTS SO IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN?

There are so many benefits and core skills Performing Arts teaches children. Performing Arts plays a huge role in helping children to develop their creative skills, language skills, social skills, decision making, risk taking, emotional intelligence and how to communicate effectively with others with CONFIDENCE!

Performing Arts is all about self-expression and exploring alternative options, learning how to work with different people and ideas and embracing individuality! There is no right or wrong answers, it’s all a matter of perception and expression and this helps to improve self-confidence and self-belief, leading onto a natural pathway for children to master many more skills that will support them through life!

Performing Arts gives children a space to explore different ideas and concepts and try out different point of views- which is SO important in this day and age! Most importantly Performing Arts allows children to be playful and creative. To explore curiosity and try out new things and new ways of thinking! Children learn to trust others and build relationships as they learn to share their own ideas and thoughts with confidence, and to listen to others with respect.

Whether or not children decide to go on to pursue acting or singing professionally, participating in drama and music lessons will help them to develop life skills that are a growing necessity in the modern workplace (sometimes this is the difference between getting the job over someone who is great on paper but in person lacks confidence). Performing Arts inspire creativity, and increasingly valued skills in most workplaces!
Every child at some point in their life will experience a job interview, or a situation in which they will have to speak and present themselves. With  an experience of performing arts and the confidence and communication skills that this equips children with, children feel empowered in whatever career path they decide to follow as they become adults!

Performing Arts is a brilliant way of allowing children to express their feelings and emotions. Its a place for them to express themselves and to work through their emotions in a safe environment. It’s a way of letting off steam, reducing frustrations and dealing with anxieties, which is VITAL for good mental health! If they have already experienced the nerves and anxieties when performing, children are more likely to recognise these feelings in later life and able to cope with them!

Performing Arts teach children to never give up! That they can achieve their own goals and gives them life skills that will help them flourish!

Little Voices in Lockdown!

Did you spot us in the Blackpool Gazette on Sunday? Take a look at the link below 🙂
https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/business/consumer/fylde-coast-performing-arts-teams-online-success-lockdown-2923524

We have been helping children through this strange time.
As we teach in groups of no more than 8 children. This helps our expert tutors to really get to know each individual child, help guide and nurture them as well as building group skills and encouraging friendships.
Our small class sizes helped us to immediately move our weekly classes online, with no change to time and day, lesson format, class mates or their tutors. Children have already had so much change, we wanted to change as little as possible!

It has been so important to us that children kept some kind of familiarity & consistency with their weekly lessons. At Little Voices they are used to receiving such focused attention in a safe setting and can completely be themselves! We didn’t want them to lose this, so made the decision to continue, using online lessons! We really had no idea what our online lessons would look like! But we are so happy to say 17 weeks on, and pupils are still attending and absolutely love it! We have been overwhelmed by parents comments and feedback.

 

“Without putting too fine a point on it, Little Voices put more effort into staying in contact, planning and providing lessons online during lockdown, than my daughter’s school did! It was fantastic, well done Ellena and team”
Little Voices Fylde Parent

 

 

Little Voices has kept us going through “lockdown”. I, as a parent, can see the effort Ellena and Kerry have put into the lessons and its definitely lifted spirits in our house during and after the lessons
Little Voices Fylde Parent

Children are the most important thing to us. Our regular lessons help keep a little bit of normality in their little lives and create a little bubble away from the crazy world to talk about their feelings and have a good sing song! Performing Arts is a great way for children to express themselves, have a sense of routine, encourage team work and  keep their minds sharp!
To truly show how unbelievably proud we are, each pupil received a unique hand delivered Little Voices medal last week, for powering through the 17 weeks of online lessons! We had these specially made for each pupil! This medal represents the resilience, bravery and determination each pupil showed through lockdown!

Our lessons usually run during term time, however we have made the decision to continue throughout summer with weekly online workshops. We feel children (and parents) need us more now than ever! We would love to spread the word and help nurture any child across the Fylde!

Mondays- Freckleton
Tuesdays- St Annes
Wednesdays- Kirkham
Fridays- Kirkham Grammar Junior School (KGJS) After school Club

Follow us on Instagram & Facebook!

 

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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!

Ellena

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!

Ellena

If At First

You Don’t Succeed…

 

I always loved to sing. My mum was (and still is) an avid member of the Church choir and an outstanding singer in her own right. From an early age I would sing solos at Christmas and try to be the loudest singer in the congregation! My first main role came at the end of Primary School where I was selected to be Joseph in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’. I remember everything about that performance, from the costume to the stage directions, but my overwhelming memory is of feeling an amazing buzz from being in front of an audience. It was clear to me at 10 years old that my future lay in performance.

As I entered secondary school, I was already learning to play the cello and piano and continuing with singing wherever I could. I joined the choir and music was my absolute favourite lesson of the week. I was confident and loved singing with a passion.

Then disaster struck.

During Year 8, there was an opportunity to be in the choir for ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’ at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, performing with Philip Schofield every night! This was obviously fate! I’d already performed the lead role at my primary school and I was confident that entry to the choir would be a breeze. I attended my audition and sang my heart out. The school selected the best 30 singers from Years 7-9 and I eagerly awaited their decision. When the list went up, my heart sank. My name was there, but on the reserve list! I hadn’t made it! How could this be?

After what seemed like an eternity of tears and tantrums, I picked myself back up again and decided that someone would drop out and I would be offered their place. It didn’t happen and so I watched my friends and peers go off to rehearsals and performances and listened to their amazing stories of the professional world I so desperately wanted to join.

Although this was absolutely my first experience of failure and disappointment, to this day I am so glad I experienced it. This business is fickle and hard hearted at times, and as a performer you have to develop a thick skin. This wasn’t the last time I would experience disappointment in this world, but in going through something like that at 12 years old, I know that firstly, you get over it and secondly it makes you more resilient and stronger than ever before. You have to learn to pick yourself up and throw yourself back out there. I continued to work towards my hopes and dreams and joined everything I could that was Performing Arts related. At that same school a few years later, I played the lead role in Guys and Dolls and received the ‘Senior singer of the Year’ award, so I definitely got back on my A game!

Confident children need to be nurtured and sometimes a negative result in something can actually help them grow. They need lots of love and encouragement and constant reminders that if at first you don’t succeed, try try again! If I had given up at that first hurdle, I’d never have got to where I am now.

Helen Ames BA(Hons) PGCE

Principal – Little Voices Hertfordshire West

The biggest challenges of running your own teaching business in drama and singing

Jane 1What are the biggest challenges about running your own business in Performing Arts?
The five things that spring to mind for me are:

  • Understanding how to market your business and not just rely on word of mouth
  • Operating safely
  • Recruiting and growing so that it doesn’t all rely on you
  • Getting through the month of August
  • Doing every aspect of the business alone

 

So taking each point step by step

  • What is your market? And to say “children’ really isn’t good enough. There are approximately 9.1 million children in the UK today however not all of those are going to be your target market. You really need to understand who your market is, where they are and what sort of messages through which sorts of media they will be most open to listening too. You cannot build a business on reputation and recommendation alone – certainly not a sustainable one that meets all of your goals. Once you have set this plan in place you then need to start crafting your marketing strategy and it really isn’t as scary as it sounds.
  • Operating safely is IMPERATIVE! There are so many teachers that set themselves up in their own homes, within schools or community buildings that really do not have all the relevant documentation in place. A bullet proof risk assessment is a must and insurance as a bare minimum. Anyone could fall on your front steps or going up to the toilet before a lesson. You have to protect yourself and those that you teach. Equally it is important to understand what your responsibility is after an accident happens. Policies and procedures are so often overlooked and ‘passing the blame’ or presuming that that element is not your responsibility is the irresponsible way of running your business.
  • What do you want to achieve? What is your ultimate goal? Living day to day and week to week, month to month and year to year is brilliant and serves a great purpose but ultimately knowing your end goal is absolutely eye opening and helps you to get really focussed. It also means that if the goals are sizeable then you can start to plan how the teaching will not all be conducted by you. As much as we love teaching you only have so many hours in the day and there is a limit to what you can charge so you will need to get a system in place. It is why joining a supportive, systemised network can help. I was watching the programme about “Dominoes” pizzas last night and it was fascinating to watch their most successful millionaire franchisee! Franchises make millionaires so if you have big goals perhaps looking at a franchise network is a good idea.
  • This comes down to having a system again because you need to make money all the way through the year and ensuring that you have courses on in the holidays will help to sustain the business and avoid seasonality. Brainstorming ideas of what you could deliver in a short course is a great place to start.
  • It is lonely being self employed and running your own business. If you feel this way you should look at the options available to you in terms of a franchise because as they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and a team of people working towards the same end goal provides priceless support for you. The theory is that you become the average of the 5 people that you hang about most with – so surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial and it would be my biggest piece of advice for anyone setting out to achieve their dreams!
    Feel free to contact me and discuss anything that is of interest in my blogs jane@littlevoices.org.uk 01254 207516 www.littlevoices.org.uk

What do I love about LAMDA?

Having taught LAMDA examinations to individuals and groups for over 8 years with a 100% Pass Rate there is obviously something that I love about LAMDA. I have recently been asked to feature in LAMDA’s new brochure which I feel quite touched by so as my first blog I wanted to touch on the central part of what we do at Little Voices the entire core of what I do every day and why I do it! IMG_2948

We primarily work with the Musical Theatre syllabus for Groups, Solo/Duos and the Communication syllabus which was termed Introductory, Preparatory and Preliminary but is now known as Stage One, Two and Three. Our entire idea for Little Voices 8 years ago was launched at the same time as the Musical Theatre GROUP syllabus. It just makes sense – to have a realistic setting for a piece of musical theatre to be examined as part of ‘a cast’ rather than individually – this is so real ! We rarely stand on stage as a professional and do a full blown soliloquy or solo. This way children can receive individual tuition as part of a very small group but also learn to interact and work with others.

The Introductory Communication syllabuses allow very young children to build confidence, work on their diction, eye contact, posture, projection, articulation and have the experience of an examiner, exam day and the adrenalin rush / nerves accompanied with this. These provide the perfect foundations for 4 – 7 year old children. It is so lovely to see them arrive for the examinations and witness the parents looking even more nervous than the children. It is all about the preparation!! We really strive in Mini Voices lessons to make it a ‘fun’ experience preparing for the examination. We talk about the friendly ‘Grandma’ or ‘Grandad’ figure (hopefully not offending the young LAMDA examiners among the team) that will be listening to their poem and talking to them about their favourite toy,photo or book. The fact that the young children can enter the examination room with something that means something to them definitely provides comfort too!

The Group Musical Theatre Syllabus provides such a huge opportunity for creativity and freedom. It promotes individuality and team work, hones all the skills of diction, musical rhythm, timing, pitch, articulation, characterisation and is a way of allowing children of similar ages and similar or varying levels of confidence / ability to work together and learn from each other. Every child matters and can take a role and character most suited to them. You can have such fun choosing what piece to perform from any genre of Musical Theatre; Billy Elliot, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls, Legally Blonde, Frozen, Annie to name but a few! You can add costume and props and generally have ‘a ball’ preparing musically and dramatically for the examination.

All of the examiner over 8 years (we hold approx. 6 + exam sessions a year  and growing), with the exception of one, that I have ever met, have been OUTSTANDING. They are incredibly knowledgeable, supportive and clearly passionate about their role.

This is why I love LAMDA and we continue to work so closely with them…..