Developing Voices

Our programme for younger children. It takes place predominantly in the context of national school programme residencies.

The aims of the programme are skills building, introducing concepts and progression.

We have 12 participating schools in the 16/17 year. We will visit each school 4 times a term (12 per year) with two person teams. At the end of the year we bring all participants (1200 children approx) together in a single space for the ‘schools summit’ where they get a chance to out what they’ve learned into a performance context.

The sessions are based on a model of spiral learning – repeating similar exercises whilst gradually raising the level of aptitude.


Each session starts with a brief grounding/focusing exercise and will then consist of the following-

  • Vocal technique – The core of the sessions are instrumental tuition, with the voice – universally available and adaptable to any level in any genre – as the instrument. For this reason each school’s primary music leader is a vocal specialist. The sessions cover the fundamentals of good vocal technique – breathing, muscle control and creating the sound.
  • Core musical skills building – The second layer of each session focus on the two fundamentals of music – pitch and rhythm. These are introduced through games/exercises and progressed throughout the year (and in the longer term upwards through the school and onto secondary). Musical notation (note values and their place on a treble stave) is introduced at this section.
  • Opening musical Windows – The third section reflects a broader aim of introducing children to new musical concepts and styles, through live and recorded performance. This will include introducing participants to classical, jazz, rap, rock and global folk styles. We will use our core tutor team for live performances (who between them cover many of the listed styles) and will vary the second musician (other than the vocal specialist) from visit to visit accordingly.
  • Transition – The final part of the sessions only significantly affects sixth class in each school. Rather than continuing our national school programme, and then having a significant change of emphasis when we meet the same children a few months later in the first year of secondary school, throughout the final year of national school we will gradually change our emphasis towards that of Limerick Voices – less directive, less collective and more focused on enabling individual expression.

Developing Voices has its own feeder programme – the Trumplets – a multi-media project for early years.