Wonderful Things in Song


Project Information


From 01 April 2014

Until 30 June 2015

Partners: Stoneyholme Nursery School, Whitegate Children's Centre, Taywood Children's Centre,Woodfields Nursery School, Gawthorpe Hall (Lancashire County Council)

Music Leaders: Beth Allen; Zoe Greenhalgh; Ben McCabe; Rick Middleton and Marta Canellas (More Music Trainee)

Additional musicians for celebration event: Tapestry of Music; Chris Fitt; Bob Fitt; Howard Jacobs and Will Lenton

Wonderful Things in Song

Celebration event - 24 June 2014 at Gawthorpe Hall - photographer Richard Tymon

Latest News

We have successful raised funds for a follow up project that will take place across an entire academic year.  Find out more here.


This partnership project brought together Gawthorpe Hall, a Grade I listed building run by the National Trust and Lancashire County Council, with four Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings: Stoneyholme Nursery School, Whitegate and Taywood Children's Centres in Burnley and Woodfields Nursery School in Pendle.

Wonderful Things in Song introduced families to music at this atmospheric local heritage site in order to develop a rich musical response. The children were encouraged to create and share songs inspired by the Gawthorpe Hall’s collection and learn about one another's cultural heritage through music making.

The activity began with the opportunity to experience live music and explore the collection at Gawthorpe Hall, followed by weekly music sessions in the EYFS setting culminating in a celebratory tea party with ensemble music. This sequence was repeated for each setting and their morning and afternoon groups of children. All the children were invited to return for a musical finale at Gawthorpe Hall at the end of the project.

The project aimed to support the development of young children, who are at higher risk of delay, through participation in musical activity. Many of the children involved face economic and cultural barriers to accessing arts and culture - for almost all, visiting Gawthorpe Hall was a first, and few had listened to live music before. 

The Celebration Event

The culmination of this project brought over 220 nursery school children from four children's centres, plus parents, grandparents, siblings, staff - and not forgetting nine musicians - together at Gawthorpe Hall for a sharing event, and it was magical. Each centre shared their special song with the others and then everyone joined together for giant circle dances, musicial parades and the Big Spoon Song finale! All the adults joined in, much to the children's delight, and lots of fun was had. This project has been enhancing the children's emotional development and communication skills, but they don’t realise that, they've simple had a wonderful time learning new songs, dances and music during the eight week programme run by experienced music leaders.


“I think it has made us even more aware of how powerful music can be to develop communication. We have plans to develop this even more throughout the curriculum this year.”

Staff have benefited from seeing a music expert in practise and plan to use the songs and techniques with their groups… (They saw that) just by using their voices the children will develop their confidence and communication skills.”

“The project reinforced our value and understanding of music as a tool for communication, we want to revisit this next term for children who have lack of confidence in speaking… it just adds an extra dimension to our work.”

“It changed my perception of how the children like music, I know now that anything can be a song - washing, tidying etc. and that everyone has a voice – we do voices in group times (loud, quiet, robot.)”

“The staff enjoyed joining in, but sometimes lacked confidence in delivering themselves. One member of staff has since gone on training in music and how it can be used to deliver letters and sounds development, but other staff are sometimes reticent to use it without a music professional.”

“Brilliant idea bringing in experts, it helped staff with knowledge and understanding which will feed through to day to day work.”

“The strategies our Music Leader used has confirmed some of the work that our setting was already doing, e.g. sounding out syllables, but he also showed staff how to use children's ideas and bring music into that, staff were worried they wouldn't get it right but he has shown them how to take the lead from the children.”


This project was funded by Youth Music.  Youth Music is the leading UK charity using music to transform the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. They support and develop exemplary music provision at every stage of a young person’s development, whether it’s the first time a mother and baby make music together, or a talented teen’s debut at the Royal Albert Hall.

"For children music making is more effective if done so with a professional musician" (Lonie, 2010).