19th May 2023

Soundabout Choir in WIltshire

At Soundabout, we believe people with learning disabilities should have a musical life that is interactive, fun and life enhancing.

To achieve this, we run music-making sessions in-person and online for children, young people and adults with severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities.

We also run training and provide resources for families, schools, care providers, and other organisations to enable them to use Soundabout techniques in everyday life.

“thank you for a lovely session with Soundabout Wiltshire Choir today. ‘X’ enjoyed listening to the different songs and watching me do the signs. ‘X’ patted his head and clapped hands with support. He did some singing and dancing. ‘X’ also played his tambourines, tin drum, canasta, shakers and bongo drums. He said Goodbye to his friends at the end. Thank you for a lovely session.”

One area of our work is running Soundabout choirs. The Soundabout choirs are musical communities without barriers for people of all abilities, with a focus on giving voice to people with severe and profound learning disabilities. We welcome all forms musical engagement such as vocal sounds and singing, sound-maker playing, music technology, movement and signing, and multi-sensory exploration. All these are seen as part of and/or extensions of the voice, allowing everyone to participate.

We now have a network of 14 choirs across the UK. Over the past 3 years we have been featured on the BBC News, worked with famous musicians and composers such as The Kings Singers, Debbie Wiseman and Freya Ridings, won awards and even been featured in a museum exhibition all about the power of music!

One of our Soundabout choirs, based in Wiltshire, is run partnership with Wiltshire Music Connect. We rehearse fortnightly on zoom where we learn our chosen songs for the term. In these sessions we explore various signs and movements, soundmakers and also learn the melody and lyrics to a song. Once a half term we then get together in person to sing and make music as a group. Our in-person sessions are run in a hybrid way, allowing members to still join via zoom. We learnt from the pandemic, that sometimes it can be hard for people to come in person due to various reasons, so having a hybrid approach allows member to still join regardless of their circumstances. For example, we have had members join choir rehearsals from hospital which has been important in keeping a sense of routine and community in their lives.

[Watch: Make Your Own Kind of Music]

Although we learn new songs and work on our musical development, the choirs support so much more. The Soundabout choirs aim to build community and support self-esteem and wellbeing. We welcome family members to join in as well (and they are seen choir members in their own right!) and provide music making opportunities outside of the sessions. Each term choirs across the network and their members are invited to contribute to our music videos to the songs. These help us to feel connected to the wider community, give members a sense of achievement, provide accessible, meaningful and long-lasting memories, whilst also having a lot of fun!

We are hosting sessions in Wiltshire on the following dates:

  • 18th June – In-person/ online
  • 2nd July – online
  • 16th July – online
  • 30th July – In-person/ online
  • 13th August – online
  • 27th August – online

If you would like to join, please find more information and the sign-up link via the Wiltshire Choir page or contact us via email at choir@soundabout.org.uk. The choir is currently free and there are no expectation around commitment as we understand everyone leads very busy lives.

We hope to see you soon!

To find out more about us as a charity and the various music making opportunities we provide, including the choirs, then head over to www.soundabout.org.uk