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The Great Choir Debate

Question 5 - Should singing be compulsory in schools?
Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra: "Definitely, yeah! I was born a singer, so obviously I get a lot of enjoyment from it – but I think music's a great thing to have, it's a very natural thing to sing and it should be encouraged."

Jonathan Ansell

Jonathan Ansell: "I definitely think singing should be compulsory. Not to have to pursue for a long time, but for every single child to experience it and decide for themselves if they enjoy it or not."

Mike Brewer

Mike Brewer: "Yes!"

Stephen Bowman

Stephen Bowman: "Yes, absolutely. I think the most important thing that you can do at schools, above many of the academic subjects is pushing people into choirs. And you have to do it – sometimes they'll be screaming and crying about it, but you have to do it – especially guys."

Dominic Tighe

Dominic Tighe: "What's been interesting when we go into schools to do workshops, is that by the end of the day the students have a new found love of singing that they didn't think they had before."

Zoe Salmon

Zoe Salmon: "I think so. Everyone learns to play the recorder, the guitar or percussion so why not use the voice as an instrument, and use singing more in music lessons?"

John Partridge

John Partridge: "No! We had Sunday afternoons at the piano or violin - forced by parents or teachers who made us play - and there's nothing worse than doing something when you don't want to do it! Singing is something that you have to be passionate about, that you have to enjoy, something that has to come from within you. I don't think you can force that sentiment or feeling on somebody."

Your Comments

CeeCee 2008-08-24

As a young person who is keen to follow music as a career, it is upsetting that Music is sidelined to make way for the rest of the curriculum. In my school the pupils in 1st year complete a series of workshops in choral singing and it is very exciting to see them gain confidence and a love of coming into the class as they get to have so much fun!
For my graduation this year my whole year group sang together at a ceremony. Despite different cliques, conflicting opinions musically and different tastes, it was all forgotten as we were determind to make our graduation something to remember. We all became much closer in the hours of rehearsals and it was a huge success.

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Catherine, Barking 2008-08-23

It is compulsory as part of the National Curriculum! As a secodnary school teacher I make kids in my classes sing most lessons. Some love it, some depend on the material to enjoy it.

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Rachael Edwards, Coventry 2008-08-20

Yep! I loved singing at school even though it was only in primary. For some reason secondary schools didn't dedicate any time to it. We used to have singing practice one afternoon a week, a bit like boot camp for singing, and I enjoyed every minute of it, even when once we had stood up for so long the child in front of me fainted!!

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Jon, Peterborough 2008-08-16

Of course singing should be offered to students but no way should it be compulsory! If you dont think you can sing or its not something you'd enjoy then its just a punishment more than anything.

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Bethany, Blackpool 2008-08-16

"My school are choir is a holy choir. Because we are a catholic school. I love to sing and I love to dance it makes me feel happy and cheery. When I dance or sing. I forget about everthing around me and have fun.

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Singing Bird, London 2008-08-15

As a teacher it upsets me that singing has been seriously sidelined in schools to make way for SATs curriculum subjects. Singing is good for the soul and unites everyone. It is a life skill that brings endless pleasure .It is a good behaviour management tool. make every school a singing school!!

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Kath, Birmingham 2008-07-31

One problem with singing not being compulsory after the age of 14 is that boys who may have enjoyed being in choirs as young children start to feel self-conscious after their voices break and feel that they are no longre able to sing. If they could be encouraged sympathetically to try out their new voice ranges perhaps that would help with the shortage of men in mixed choirs!

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John, Essex 2008-07-30

Of course music is compulsory for all children in England to age 14 and singing is part of the curriculum for music - so all children should be singing in school anyway - but good quality and good fun are really important too. That's what Sing Up is aiming to achieve. Visit to find out more.

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mags, n ireland 2008-07-27

definitely! singing is so, so important - physicallly, mentally, socially, - being compulsary,it would give children the chance to experience the enjoyment of music without having to justify what they're doing to their peers

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Sarah, Slinfold 2008-07-26

I think that singing should be compulsory. I LOVE singing and think that children should be encouraged to sing as it can be tremendous fun and a great confidence booster.

However I do think that care should be taken to ensure that the singing is tuneful. At my little sisters Primary school tuning is not given any work and the noise they make isn't that great. The older children know this and it really removes any enjoyment for them as they don't want to be part of a bad sound. Some of them even say "I hate singing"

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