Pop star Shayne Ward met the winners of a national school music, song and dance competition run by CLIC Sargent.
Shayne, who is starring in West End show Rock of Ages, shared with the group of budding singers how practising song can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. He discussed how practising at school made him ‘feel happier and focused’, and this, in turn, helped him to study.
Shayne says: “I first realised that I wanted to become a professional singer when I was at school. My pop hero was Tom Jones, and I used to practise singing his songs all the time. After every practise my mind felt really clear and I felt more focused and that definitely had a positive effect on my studies. I felt more confident and I think that really helps when you’re at school.
“It was great to meet the students and teachers at London Irish Music School to find out what they thought about the benefits of music and song. I think that we all agreed that it makes you feel happier and I had so much fun sharing my top music and song tips.”
The competition was part of CLIC Sargent’s Practice-a-thon campaign, a national fundraiser for young singers, dancers and musicians, of all abilities. It offered the school, group or club that raised the most money by holding a creative sponsored music event the chance to be visited by Shayne on Tuesday 29 May.
Shayne visited thirty children at the London Irish Music School who held the winning event, a traditional Irish music practise, and raised over £800 for children and young people with cancer, and their families.
Colette Keaveney, music teacher, said: “The masterclass was really fun and it was great to meet Shayne and practise our singing and music skills. We even got to perform our favourite songs for Shayne! Practising music and song at school definitely brings teachers and students together and it’s such a strong creative outlet.”
According to Making Music, a membership organisation that supports and champions voluntary and amateur music groups and musicians, music and song is associated with a number of health benefits. These range from tackling depression and anxiety to improving confidence, energy and self-esteem, as well as alleviating the symptoms of old age, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and other breathing-related conditions.
Schools, clubs or groups are encouraged to sign up to the Practice-a-thon campaign from October to June each year and hold a sponsored practice for young pupils to help them pass exams, or even put on a show and sell tickets to support the charity’s work. Schools, clubs and groups also have the option of keeping 25% of the funds raised to develop their own activities or facilities.
Emily Felix-Davies, National Events Manager at CLIC Sargent, says, “It was really fun to meet up with Shayne to find out what pupils and teachers really think about the benefits of practising singing and music. They all agreed that finding time to practise performing arts at school helps you to feel more confident, and full of energy, and we think everyone should make time for a dedicated practise.
“CLIC Sargent wants to say a huge thank you to London Irish Music School for taking part in Practice-a-thon. Every penny from each music, dance or singing event helps CLIC Sargent to support families affected by childhood cancer across the UK. Lack of funds means that the charity can only help two out of three children and young people with cancer – that’s why your support makes such a difference.”