Singing is not ‘girly or uncool’, Hackney’s City Academy tells boys
- Credit: Archant
A whole day of music exclusively for boys was held to prove to those who think it “unmanly” or “uncool” that they can sing after all.
World record-breaking beatboxer Shlomo, and Paul and Dingle from a cappella group VOCES8, delivered workshops to 120 boys from five schools at City Academy on Thursday last week. The event, “Boys Can Sing”, came ahead of a concert at the secondary school in Homerton Row that night.
Its creator, music teacher and choir director Aleksandra Zembron, was inspired by Gareth Malone’s 2008 TV series Boys Don’t Sing. She said: “At the moment when students move from primary to secondary the boys stop singing. They find it not manly enough, embarrassing, girly, or they might be conscious of their voices which are changing at that time.
“I noticed on the day because there were just boys there, they were not self-conscious and they started fooling around in a musical way and opening up.”
Schlomo, who has twice held the record for the world’s largest beatbox ensemble, took the boys out of their comfort zone with his beatboxing workshop, and as well as performing that evening in school choirs some boys sang solo.
Ms Zembron said: “I saw a different side to them. There were a few boys I didn’t know could beatbox, or who would never think of doing a solo before, who tried ideas on the spot and were improvising.
“Boys who cause a lot of trouble were suddenly working fantastically in a group and feeling proud of it.”
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She continued: “To see boys who didn’t know each other before working together was irreplaceable.
“There was such fantastic team work and collaboration, and there were a lot of boys who really surprised me – they felt comfortable to take risks.
“They had a sense of achievement, and they were more confident to try new things.
“If the singing is scary and they overcome that fear or embarrassment they might be confident to tackle other challenges in the future.”
Daubeney Primary School, Rushmore Primary School, The City Academy Hackney, Skinners Academy and Hackney New School took part.