Thursday, 7 June 2007

Sing London, make music UK this summer

This summer there seems to be a veritable wave of official encouragement to sing, make music, show off your rusty (or even non-existent) guitar playing and the like.

Sing London

"Sing London is a festival to get the whole of London singing. All kinds of people, singing all kinds of music in all kinds of places. Join in and get singing!"

It runs from 29 June to 8 July ending with a grand finale of "thousands" at the recently facelifted South Bank Centre on Sunday 8 July at 4 pm. They're encouraging people to upload their own Sing London videos to YouTube but I can only see the Sing London promo video there at the moment:

They're certainly going about this in exemplary Web 2.0 style, with not only the call for YouTube videos but even an events page with a Google map with the full list of events underneath it, so you can look for ones near you using the map as well as by scanning down the list the ol' fashioned way.

No previous singing experience required. There's something for everyone, in venues from Covent Garden Market and the National Gallery to local libraries and Waitrose! Lots of organisations are involved in staging events - the English National Opera is offering a free singing lesson with music from Kismet and a chance to sing on the Coliseum stage (but you'll have to find a tame child aged 7 - 13 to take you along to that!). Or you can try show tunes from musicals, jazz, Motown, errr horses (no I don't get that either but apparently there'll be dancing horses and live singing on horseback, if that floats your boat - and yes, in that vein, there are sea shanties too), David and Carrie Grant from Fame Academy, loads of events for children / families, even Arsenal Stadium and football songs, and singing flashmobs.

I particularly like the idea of simultaneous joint al fresco sings through (presumably just bits of) Tosca in Potters Field Park, Canary Wharf and Victoria Park, followed by a free live broadcast of the full opera to the parks from the Royal Opera House. What's the betting that it'll rain..? Funnily enough the Sing London site has marked those events with the ENO logo, no doubt the folks at the Garden would be well pleased about that, not. Here's proof before they spot it and fix it!:

With my marketing hat on, if you want to promote your singing group - choir, band, etc - you could do worse than email Sing London or register to join the festival (you can even charge for the singing event you're putting on), to benefit from the free publicity and Sing London's promotional efforts. You could hold a singing session at Starbucks and they'll even provide free refreshments to performers and publicise leaflets in-store! Well that's one way to get your coffee fix...

BBC Play it (Again)

Then there's the Beeb's Play It Again (even if you've never played it before). Free events all around the UK, not just London this time, where you can play or sing with BBC performing groups - orchestra, symphony chorus etc. The BBC even offers tips on getting started in making music both general and instrument-specific, and a Next Steps guide.

So if you're in London or elsewhere in the UK, you can take advantage of these opportunities this summer to get started in music, or to do more things musical in fun ways even if you're already making music. Enjoy!

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