A brief introduction to the Singing Mamas Choir Training.
A little story
When our founder, Kate Valentine, was a little girl she went along to a school choir rehearsal. She was singing away and loving every minute until the teacher tapped her on the shoulder and told her to go back to the classroom. Kate was really confused by this, as a child she didn’t understand the concept that she couldn’t sing? This is a memorable moment for Kate and maybe you have one like this too, where your voice was shut off and you lost your confidence to sing?
Kate went into nursing when she left school, followed by child-minding when she started her family. She recalls “I’d pick the children up from school and see what I found out to be a ‘natural voice’ choir singing together in the hall”. “I worked up the courage to ask if we could come and join in but they said no!”. “I wasn’t one for taking no for an answer and the children were really keen so I asked again and this time they said yes! ” “As time went on, the children became a welcome and settled part of the group and the experience all the more richer for everybody”.
Kate then moved to Forest Row in East Sussex and started looking after a little girl called Thea, her Mum is called Catherine. Catherine became really interested in the idea of going along to a choir like the one Kate had described and after much searching Catherine said she’d come across something like it and invited Kate to go with her.
Kate remembers walking into the room with all the other mums seated on the floor with their babies and children and waiting a long time for the session to start. Kate then started to feel like people were looking at her, including her friend Catherine who finally said, “Kate, you know some songs don’t you?”. It suddenly dawned on Kate that she had been set up by here friend to lead this group of women and their children in song! Kate claims to have ‘whispered’ her way through a few songs and shaking like a leaf but by the end of the session felt so good that she invited everyone to her house the following week! The choir continued in Kate’s front room until they became so big that they needed to book a hall – that was 10 years ago and it’s kept on growing ever since!
Believe in yourself
Kate tells this story because it demonstrates how anyone can do this work, song sharing, with just the tiniest desire. People come along to the training from all different backgrounds – from no experience to professional musicians and everyone in between. The training is structured in such a way that it doesn’t leave anyone out and everyone brings something of value to make the experience special.
Singing and sharing songs is a desire that lives in all of us; we believe that singing is a birth right, and as a network we are always there to support each other to remember that – despite issues we may have to do with confidence and self-esteem.
How can I learn to share songs?
We have put together a training weekend which is an immersive experience of sharing songs amongst a lovely group of people; enjoying delicious home cooked food; time to relax and unwind; learning new skills and surprising yourself by discovering how naturally gifted you really are when it comes to sharing songs!
As well as share songs, we talk about valuing the origin of the song and the composer; the importance of culture; copyright and how to turn song sharing into a regular income by setting up a choir of your own.
But if this isn’t about earning an income for you and you are hoping to do it in a voluntary capacity or just out of interest – you are still very welcome to come along and will get lots from the experience.
Our purpose is to ‘bring people home in community and song’ – that means keeping it simple and accessible to everyone. When you come along to the training, we take you as you are and are not concerned about level of experience and you do not need to read music. The songs we learn by ear – we are not teaching you to sing, we are teaching you how to receive a song and share it with others, a very different skill.
We practice a variety of warm ups; we sing songs in unison and in harmony parts, and everyone is encouraged to share a song by the end of the weekend (don’t worry, you have plenty of time to prepare before you come along). We learn to listen to our own voice and listen to others at the same time so we feel fully immersed in the song. You will go home with your pockets full of songs to get you started, and when you connect into the network of other trained individuals, you’ll learn and share so many more.
What does a Singing Mamas Choir look?
It looks like whatever you’d like it to be – our leader network run choirs for a variety of audiences: for women and children, including women without their own children; inter generational choirs; choirs held in the evening; for home school networks and mixed gender choirs. As long as your choir’s purpose and mission aligns with ours, your choir is your own.
We also welcome partner organisations and experienced choir leaders to come and train with us. For example, Emma Mutter, founder of the established Mums in Tune choir came along to our training out of an interest in natural voice singing and to be able to benefit from being part of a large network of other song sharers.
It’s not about competition for us, we value collaboration overall and we will find a way to welcome you to the network. We believe what we have to offer you is very special and want to reach as many people as possible with the gift of song and singing in harmony.
I’m keen to come along, what do I do next?
1. Check out our latest training dates and take advantage of our early bird discount
2. Sign up for a free online ‘Intro to the training’ on Zoom – find it on Facebook
3. Send us an email
Thank you and we look forward to welcoming you to the Singing Mamas Choir family.