Our projects begin with a dialogue between ourselves and the charity or organisation we are working alongside, discussing the goals and desired outcomes for the project, followed by an open session in which anyone who is remotely curious can come along to find out more about it. During this session we may do a little singing, but the main aim will be to explain to everyone what will be involved, the commitment and responsibilities needed, practical obstacles to resolve, how the project will unfold and what the outcomes will be. Then, if we get the go-ahead, we will plan together our musical journey!
During regular rehearsals over the following weeks, participants will develop their vocal technique, performance skills and confidence. For their song choices, our musical director can take any song that they choose and arrange the music for it – they do not need to supply sheet music and there is no restriction on the genre that they choose. If the project ends in a live concert, every participant has the opportunity to have their hair and makeup done by professional artists so that they feel at their very best for a final performance supported by a live band of professional musicians in front of their friends, family and attendees of their choice.
It is important to us that every project is tailored specifically to the needs of the clients involved so that they can feel safe, supported and get the most from taking part. We therefore understand that sometimes it may not be appropriate to host a full-scale public performance; this is something that we can adapt even during the course of the project if necessary.
For those taking part, here are just some of the benefits:
Gaining vocal, stage and technical skills
Promoting trust in themselves and others
Learning to be flexible and committed
Improving self-worth and confidence
Working in teams, collaborating with others
Building respect and empathy
Determination to succeed and actualising a vision
Learning to be proud of one's abilities and
comfortable with that pride.
Pilot project: The Seaview Centre, 2016
The Time to Shine Project has spent the summer working with service users from Seaview, a centre based in St Leonard’s in East Sussex who work with marginalised members within the local community. The ten week course was designed to prepare the service users for a CD recording and a public performance with a live professional band with the aim of improving their confidence levels, self-awareness, group engagement, self-respect and responsibility through weekly music sessions. Our course focused on improving vocal and musical technique, as well as developing the existing Seaview Choir, encouraging participants to try singing solo songs and working on confidence-building, self-awareness and performance techniques.
The Seaview Centre, 2018
After the huge success of our pilot project, we were thrilled to return to Seaview in 2018, working again with some familiar faces and welcoming new participants into the scheme. One of our developmental focuses was to support our previous participants in becoming mentors for those who were new the project, enabling them to develop leadership, team-work and organisational skills. We also challenged those previous participants in new ways, for example encouraging them to sing a solo if they had only sung in a group previously, or introducing their own song or another participant.
To monitor the progress of our participants, we asked them to score their confidence levels in various aspects of the performance and their well-being at the beginning of the project. We then asked them the same questions again at the end to look for improvements. Not only are we delighted with the significant improvements that they made, we are also thrilled that we generally made a greater impact on their well-being this time compared to the previous project that we undertook with Seaview. While we believe this is in part due to improvements in our practise gained from experience since the first project, this also supports our belief that a recurring programme is just as worthwhile as one-off projects.
To download a full evaluation of the project please click here.