At Brookmead we use the sol-fa hand signs to help develop the children's skills and understanding in music. Sol-fa helps children develop an appreciation of musical pitch - it enables them to learn songs quickly and sing in tune. So you can see how this works the children have created an introductory video.
Although the sol-fa hand signs were an English invention, it is the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly who developed an entire system for teaching music in schools using this method and Hungarian folk songs. As well as celebrating Brookmead's 50th birthday, 2017 also marked 50 years since Kodaly's death. It was particularly timely therefore that we were able to welcome to Brookmead in May a Hungarian choir whose members, all now grown up, had once been members of the Hungarian Radio Children's Chorus. We were delighted that the choir was able to spend all morning at school, sharing songs in assembly with all the pupils, and then leading workshops with staff and children in Key Stage 2 and with the Upper School Choir. I know from feedback from the choir members that they were 'blown away' by our children's singing and by their positive attitudes and behaviour - everyone got involved! On Saturday members of the Upper School Choir joined the Hungarian Choir and the Beacon Community Choir for a concert in Ivinghoe Church. It was a fabulous demonstration of how through music we can share and get to know others even if we cannot speak their language.
On Friday 21st November 2013 at Brookmead School we celebrated Benjamin Britten's birthday with two concerts performed by the pupils and choirs in Upper School (Years 4-6) which included three songs from the collection Friday Afternoons, a set of songs which Britten composed for pupils to sing in the school where his brother was a teacher. The collection of songs was called Friday Afternoons because that's when singing took place at the school; Friday Afternoons has also become "one of the largest global community singing projects ever attempted" (The Guardian, Singing for Britten) as Brookmead pupils joined with more than 100,000 young people worldwide to celebrate the composer's centenary.
The Friday Afternoons project was an enormous success and Brookmead School has continued to be involved with the development of this amazing project.
Click here to go straight to the Brookmead event and a recording from the concert on the Friday Afternoons website.