Impulse young music leadership programme

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

The Impulse programme has been designed, developed and growing at the Purcell School of Music in Hertfordshire for over 5 years now. In the programme, young musicians are trained and supported in young music leadership skills, knowledge and behaviours, before going out to run outreach sessions with children in Primary Schools, care homes for the elderly, community projects etc. Purcell School are supporting other local Secondary Schools to implement the programme with their young people too. 

Impulse has been designed for 15-year-olds and above, interested in developing their musical skills into music leading skills. This visualisation walks you through the elements in the programme and tells some of the stories of Impulse young music leaders. Click on the dots for more information and to watch film clips.

Waypointwaypoint/initial-reflection-questionsInitial reflection questions111.0427.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/approaching-local-schools-see-if-theyd-invite-you-run-workshopApproaching local schools to see if they'd like to invite you to run a workshop612.0239.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/preparing-visit-schoolPreparing a visit to a school627.0248.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/working-and-communicating-young-childrenWorking and communicating with young children636.0261.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/supporting-teacherSupporting the teacher637.0279.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/running-workshopRunning a workshop636.0297.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/working-elderly-peopleWorking with elderly people633.5317.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/self-evaluation-questions-evaluating-successSelf-evaluation questions for evaluating success789.5437.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/forming-group-young-music-leaders-outreach-projectsForming a group of young music leaders for outreach projects253.5332.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/getting-adult-support-young-music-leadership-outreach-projectsGetting adult support for young music leadership outreach projects254.5427.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/demonstrating-your-instrumentDemonstrating your instrument383.5522.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/creating-musical-presentationCreating a musical presentation400.5497.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/building-audience-participationBuilding audience participation416.5469.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/creating-project-childrenCreating a project for children436.5438.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/information-adultsInformation for adults529.5821.4""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/introduction-impulseIntroduction to Impulse28.580.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/freyas-storyFreya's story210.582.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/hatties-storyHattie's story396.582.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/impulse-communityImpulse in the community474.5733.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/joshs-storyJosh's story725.5733.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/mikki-and-melinas-storyMikki and Melina's story726.5780.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/owens-storyOwen's story727.5830.2""#0000002

The Impulse programme has been designed, developed and growing at the Purcell School of Music in Hertfordshire for over 5 years now. In the programme, young musicians are trained and supported in young music leadership skills, knowledge and behaviours, before going out to run outreach sessions with children in Primary Schools, care homes for the elderly, community projects etc. Purcell School are supporting other local Secondary Schools to implement the programme with their young people too. 

Impulse has been designed for 15-year-olds and above, interested in developing their musical skills into music leading skills. This visualisation walks you through the elements in the programme and tells some of the stories of Impulse young music leaders. Click on the dots for more information and to watch film clips.

Help and support with the Impulse Programme

If you are would like further information or support with the Impulse programme, including workshop activity ideas, templates for presentations and communications, and further contact information, there is a dedicated support line run by Impulse staff: impulse2012 @  (remove the spaces when you email).

Click here for a text version of this visualisation

Initial reflection questions

A few questions for young music leaders

  • Do you enjoy playing your instrument and trying out different things with it?
  • When performing to an audience, do you play with confidence or do you feel anxious?
  • What music do you most enjoy performing and listening to?
  • Is there anything connected with music that you would like to learn more about?
  • Do you like helping people and would you like to inspire them to love the music you enjoy?
  • Do you have friends or siblings who play instruments?
  • Might they be willing to help you develop ideas for a musical project?
  • Are you happy to spend a bit of extra time learning some new skills?
  • Would you like to learn how to run musical projects for younger people, older people, for your own age-group - or don’t you know yet?

IMPORTANT! Your ideas and preferences will help you to make the right decisions when planning your own project. Think carefully about this.

DON’T BE WORRIED! Your project can be very simple and easy to run or it can be more ambitious. You can decide what is best for you!

OK - you’re keen, have some ideas and feel ready to get on with it! Work your way through the steps in this programme.

Arts Award
If you are working as part of a music group, an organisation or a school, ask them to consider entering you for Bronze, Silver or Gold Arts Award as you develop your skills as part of the IMPULSE programme. See the Arts Awards website for more information.

Approaching local schools to see if they'd like to invite you to run a workshop

Research online and try to find schools with active music departments. If they are close to where you live and easy to get to, this will enable you to support them more easily if they take up the IMPULSE programme, and invite you to run sessions and workshops with their pupils.

Working with your own school teacher, you could send an introductory letter to the Head Teacher of the visit school. Try and send this to a specifically named person if you can. If the Headʼs name isnʼt on the schoolʼs website, phone the school office and ask. They will usually give you this information. If they tell you to contact the Headʼs secretary, give your email the following title:

Exciting musical opportunity for (name of school)

Then make your pitch!

Preparing a visit to a school

If you're invited to visit a school...

You will need to do this with confidence and understanding, because the first impressions are very important. The school will know quickly whether or not it wants to work with you.


CRB checking

A teacher from the school will need to supervise you at all times when you are in the school, presuming that you will not be CRB checked. The school will almost certainly be very well aware of this.

What you need to find out in advance

  • Who you will be speaking to at the school (teachers only, or pupils as well)
  • How many (teachers/ pupils)?
  • Age group of any pupils
  • Are any of them musicians, what do they play and how experienced are they?
  • How long you will have to do your presentation - you may be asked to specify how much time you need. If so try and make your visit highly effective, energetic, interesting, fluent and not too long!
  • Arts Award. You might want to find out about what this is, and about the Bronze, Silver and Gold Levels This can help encourage schools to adopt the IMPULSE programme. See the Arts Award Website.
  • Full info about Arts Award will be given to alumni attending the Training Day, but it can be accessed and researched online as well.
  • You should understand the fee structure at all levels, from free of charge upwards.


Materials you may need

  • A short PowerPoint presentation
  • Copies of an attractive handout for pupils
  • An easy-to-understand, attractive timeline of the project for teachers. Ideally, this should all fit on 1 or 2 A4 pages.
  • Web links for schools to access these online learning materials


How to prepare your pitch to the school

Try and summarise the whole project in three lively, punchy sentences. Write this down and memorise it. This will be good as a starting point for your pitch. Now - as soon as the school is interested, youʼll need to give more details. Think about how to ʻsellʼ the project to teachers.

Possible persuasive arguments you might use when speaking to teachers!

  • IMPULSE provides very good leadership training for young people
  • Gives young musicians confidence in their social and musical development
  • Enables young people to develop a range of very useful marketing skills
  • Outreach can create an excellent community profile for the school.
  • Visits to primary schools can aid recruitment for the school
  • Pupils can use the outreach training programme to prepare for Arts Award
  • There are funding opportunities available for schools doing outreach work.

Working and communicating with young children

If you are asked to speak about IMPULSE or to demonatrate a project to children/young people, itʼs very important to think about this in advance, and plan how you are going to make the maximum impact using your voice and your natural communication skills.

Your voice and manner

  • Speak clearly and not too quickly when addressing a group of young people.
  • Donʼt gabble, say too much or too little! What are the most important things you want them to understand? Emphasise important words and ideas. Donʼt be afraid to leave a little space after making a really important point.
  • Talk about the projects/activities you have done with IMPULSE which have inspired you. This will give your voice colour and warmth. You need to sound enthusiastic!
  • Try and adjust your language to suit the audience. For example, donʼt speak to 10-year-old children as if they were 6 years old! Opt for simplicity and clarity if you are unsure. Always show respect and friendliness when speaking to young people.
  • Helpful tip - from time to time as you are speaking, face your audience and look directly for a moment into the eyes of one individual, then another and then another.... This is a well-known technique used to make it appear as if you are addressing the whole audience personally. Practice doing this. Youʼll find it really makes a difference! Donʼt look at the floor or the ceiling or gaze vacantly into space!
  • IMPORTANT! You will be helping the young people to speak clearly and make successful presentations, so it is really important to be able to do it convincingly yourself!

Supporting the teacher

Music teachers are nearly always busy running lots of different classes and exciting musical events and are often stressed and exhausted! Teachers will be happy if they understand that the new outreach training programme will be carefully organised, easy to timetable and straighforward to run at the school. Management, logistics and organisation vary enormously from school to school, and you will have to judge for yourself what is needed and what might be able to work on a regular basis at every school you visit.

Speak to the music teacher and try and find out what they would like their musical pupils to be able to achieve.

IMPORTANT! Try and make it clear what additional benefits and support YOU could bring to the project if the school engages you. Donʼt bite off more than you can chew, though!

Teachers will probably ask you all sorts of questions. Try and respond to these within 12 hours if you possibly can. (Please check your grammar and spelling carefully when writing to teachers if you want them to take you seriously)!

How to support and advise a young person at the school

Itʼs VERY IMPORTANT for you to keep safe and legal whenever you have dealings with young people who are still at school. The school may decide to get you CRB checked for the whole year - in which case you will be able to work with the young people much more easily, and will not need supervision.
If the school canʼt afford to do this, you need to have a CRB-checked adult present whenever you work with young people. This doesnʼt have to be a problem at all.

The teacher can take part in your workshop - or be sitting in a corner marking books or doing something else while you develop outreach techniques and projects with the pupils. You can communicate online with pupils, but you MUST ask the school if you can always copy a teacher into the dialogue as well. Please donʼt ever forget to do this.

Running a workshop

You may be asked by the schools to run a short demonstration for pupils from time to time. Prepare something that is easy and fun and which they can quickly take over from you. There are some ideas in these online learning materials, and others on the Youth Music Network.

IMPORTANT! Have your ideas and materials well prepared and be highly proactive when you give demonstrations to outreach trainee pupils. You are showing the young people how it can be done, and your own skills need to be excellent.

You may be asked to

  • Give a demonstration to teachers
  • Give a demonstration in a school assembly
  • Give a demonstration to a whole class of 30 pupils
  • Give a demonstration to GCSE or AS/A2 pupils.
  • Watch a demonstration by pupils and give advice
  • Listen to pupils pitching their ideas and make suggestions

Be ready for any of this - and more! Youʼll be able to find out in advance what the school wants and needs.

Working with elderly people

You may find that your new school outreach group wishes to perform or present musical items in care homes, special-needs organisations or other organisations catering for elderly or vulnerable people. This kind of project needs particular care and attention, because the young people will need to adapt their presentations and performances.

Here is some additional support material for you to consider with the young people in your outreach group.

Who will your audience be?
You and your outreach group will need to contact the organisation and speak to someone about this. What will be the approximate age range of the audience? What will be their anticipated level of musical understanding? You will have other questions, too.

What music will you choose?
Can the outreach group play anything that their audience might remember from their past lives? How will you help them find/create the kind of music they need? How will you help the audience to understand musical items that may be unfamiliar to them? Will you ask the audience to sing along? They often enjoy this. If so, will your group create song sheets for them?

Speaking to elderly people
Think about the difference in manner when speaking to a child and an eldely person. Discuss and try this with your outreach group. Ask them to prepare some conversation topics. For example - prepare a friendly one-sided conversation with an elderly person who does not respond.

When visiting care homes, itʼs often a good idea to strongly encourage young people to circulate around elderly people, engaging individuals in conversation wherever possible. Teenagers are often quite timid and have a tendency to detach themselves and stand aside chatting to their peers when they lack confidence. They need active encouragement.

Encourage young people to research the activities and interests of their own grandparents. Some grandparents may help by providing songs, music or LPs that will enable young people to prepare material for their performances. There are plenty of early 20th century songbooks. A strong melody with a piano accompaniment can be easily arranged for a small group of instruments, and can be really enjoyable to perform, too.

Projects with participants who have special needs
This kind of work needs very careful preparation and great sensitivity, always led and supervised by carers and staff who have great experience and understanding. MENSA and Nordoff-Robbins are both excellent starting points for any outreach group wishing to run a musical project with special-needs participants. They will give expert advice, guidance and support to anyone wishing to learn more.

Suggested plan of action

  • Identify the special-needs organisation your school would like to work with
  • Contact the organisation, introduce yourself and explain your ideas for the project.
  • If there is interest, the alumni musicians should arrange a meeting with the organisers.
  • During the meeting, find out as much as possible about the personalities and abilities of the special-needs people your group will be working with.
  • Ask for a small group of participants - and arrange to have at least two members of your outreach group linked with each person with special needs.
  • Ask the organisers to help you plan ideas for warmups and group singing - they will have special songs and techniques which everyone knows.
  • Write down the names, personalities and ability levels of each participant you will be working with
  • Go back to your school, discuss your meeting with your outreach group and encourage them to make careful plans for their project, thinking about the individual participants.

NOTE : If this project is successful, your outreach group will probably beg you to organise more opportunities of this kind. Working with special needs organisations can be very moving

Self-evaluation questions for evaluating success

How did you get on?

Whenever you tackle one of the ‘seven steps’ in the Impulse programme, you should evaluate
the efforts you have made to improve your skills. This is interesting, and can be done in lots of different ways
•You can ask a friend to watch you performing/presenting and make notes for you about the things you do well and those you can improve
•You can ask a teacher or an adult to watch you and make notes for you
•You can write your own self-assessment after an event
•You can ask a friend to take photos of your performance on your mobile phone for you to study afterwards and think about.
•You can ask a friend to make a short video of your performance on your mobile phone
•You can ask the audience what they thought, just before you finish
•You can give a questionnaire to a class teacher to take away and do in class later on with children who have seen your performance or presentation
•You can create your own report of a whole event, a performance or a project
•You can give your audience a lively ‘test’ at the end of your presentation to see what they have learned or remembered
•You can use your mobile phone to record your own comments about the project
•You can use your mobile phone to record a cross-section of comments by friends, teachers, audience and yourself at the end of your project
•You can make a list of all the new skills you are developing and give yourself a mark out of 10 for each one
•You can make a chart, with images or colours to represent your different levels of achievement in various tasks
•You can download and use the easy online self-assessment form •You can invent your own method of assessment that is different from all these.

IMPORTANT! When you have completed your evaluation, you should find an adult and show them what you have done. This can be a music teacher, a parent or an IMPULSE musician.
You and your outreach group may decide to discuss your evaluations together. If you can all agree to be kind and supportive towards one another, this can be a really useful and interesting thing to do

Forming a group of young music leaders for outreach projects

STEP 2 - Creating your own outreach group

You are a young musician who wants to create a musical group to perform and run workshops which inspire people of different ages to love music.



  • Create a Powerpoint presentation or a DVD, telling people what you want to do and how it will be done. Show it to people at school, or in your local club, music centre, youth orchestra or band.
  • If you attend a school read out a notice in assembly, describing your new group idea and asking people to come and see you if they are interested.
  • Put up posters around school or in your local music centre, advertising your idea
  • Ask a teacher or an adult that you like to help support your idea. (see Getting Adult Support)
  • Give out personal invitations to people that you would like to have in the group. OK - YOU NOW HAVE A GROUP OF INTERESTED PEOPLE !

Arrange the first-ever meeting for your new group! At the meeting, choose a name for the group Ask someone artistic to design a logo for it Prepare a ‘Mission Statement’ for your group You may want to design and buy yourselves branded tee-shirts - or maybe you can be clever and persuade someone to sponsor these?


Should be easy to say and lively-sounding. Think about the names of groups that you know, and analyze them with your friends.

Coldplay - Wham! - Band Aid - One Direction - Strings Attached - Highly Strung - Winds of Change -
Cadenza  - Flutewise - Plunk! Elastic Band - Songlines IMPULSE - this name was chosen because it sounds energetic, and the ‘pulse’ bit has a musical sound to it.

What name are you going to give your group? It must be something that hasn’t been used by anyone else before! You may want to ask the other people in the group to have a brainstorm or take a vote.


As you see, the IMPULSE logo is shaped like the word “IMPULSE’. It was designed by a pupil called Kimberley Ward in an art lesson.

A good logo should be easy to reproduce in many different formats, should look good in both colour and black-and-white and should be easy to see in large and small size. Imagine it on tee-shirts, posters, letters and flyers. Imagine it made into a brooch or a necklace. Is it easy to draw?

Does it reflect the character of your new project?


Try to write in one paragraph everything that sums up the ideas and goals you hope to achieve with your group.

Here is the IMPULSE mission statement:

‘IMPULSE is a group of talented young musicians, who aim to spread their love of music to communities across the UK.They perform exciting varied musical programmes including pieces that they have composed and arranged themselves, and also run lively instrumental and vocal workshops for schoolchildren. The alumni IMPULSE members are young professional musicians who have advanced communication skills and will support new outreach programmes in the UK’


It is usually a very good idea to have tee-shirts or hoodies designed for your group,because they can help give your group an identity, and they help people to remember you! Contact details for your group can also be included.

IMPULSE - chose to have their names on the front of their tee- shirts, so that children could easily identify individual musicians.

They also put the IMPULSE logo on the front, and the school’s website address on the back.

The group voted for the colour of their tee shirts, and chose purple as the most popular.

Another excellent outreach group, The Purcell School’s Elastic Band has differently coloured tee-shirts, which look bright and attractive when the musicians perform lively classics to children and families.

The tee-shirts all have ‘Elastic Band’ written on them.

IDEAS! Can you persuade someone to sponsor tee-shirts or hoodies for you?

If you are at school, go and ask your Head of Music, or maybe the Head Teacher. They will probably be very interested and proud that you are trying to set up your own group. See STEP 3 for more information.

You can go and ask a tee-shirt company to sponsor you. Tell them what you are trying to do, and suggest that they include their own name on your tee-shirts. If they don’t sponsor you completely, they might give you a reduction.

Run some fundraising events - car washing, sponsored instrumental practice, a cake sale or a raffle - to raise a bit of money for your group to buy music, instruments and equipment for projects.
You are now ready to start training and preparing for your first project!

Getting adult support for young music leadership outreach projects

It’s VERY important for you to speak to a teacher, to an adult or to your parents before moving on too far with your project, even if you think you know exactly what you want to do. The adult you choose should be somebody you like and trust.


  • Because an adult will almost certainly be interested and willing to help •They will show you how to promote and market your project •The adult will be able to help you take your project into the community, and possibly drive you there or arrange transportation.
  • An adult will be able to teach you to speak to potential sponsors and patrons
  • You will have someone on your side who has experience, can understand logistics and help solve unexpected problems
  • There are Child Protection issues and other matters which may need to be considered when running your project in the community. Adults understand these things and can explain them to you, and help you deal with them.
  • If you are in a school and wish to take your project out into the community, you MUST be accompanied by at least one teacher from the school.

PLEASE NOTE - if a teacher, parent or friend is keen to help, but doesn’t know much about music, the IMPULSE helpline can offer advice and support to both adults and to young people.
See the note at the bottom of the Impulse Visualisation page.

Do you know a teacher or a musical adult who is willing to help you?

YES I KNOW SOMEONE - Great! Explain your ideas to them, log onto the Youth Music website and show them the five steps of the IMPULSE journey.

NO, I DON'T KNOW ANYONE - You should contact the IMPULSE e-helpline



Demonstrating your instrument

IMPULSE OUTREACH TRAINING Demonstrating your instrument!

Easy ways to prepare

You don’t have to be an amazing musician to demonstrate your instrument to other people. If you love playing it, this will be enough.

If you can play your instrument reasonably well, and can learn a few extracts from pieces of music, this will help!

It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are. Anyone can learn how to do this.

You can have a lot of fun and should use your imagination to demonstrate your instrument to other people in a really interesting way!

What you need

A) FIVE BITS OF MUSIC each lasting a few seconds, which you will play on your instrument. These might be your favourite bits from the pieces you are playing, or they might be fragments of music which you have picked up by listening to music on TV, radio, film or DVD.

EXAMPLES for a pupil who plays the flute - choose and play five flute fragments!

1) - A beautiful flowing melody in the high register 2) - A funky rhythmic melody in the low or middle register 3) - An interesting technique or special effect on the flute 4) - An extract from your favourite piece 5) - An extract from a funny or silly piece!


Charli who plays flute, says
“Try and learn your extracts from memory so that you wonʼt need a music stand or sheet music and so that you can play them anywhere!”

Jumaane, who plays sax, says
“The saxophone is such a cool instrument, and there are loads of things you can do to show it off. Sax plays lots of well known themes from film and TV! There are lots of famous sax players too. Plenty to talk about! Little kids always want to play sax when they hear it”

Miki, who plays violin, says
“If you demonstrate the violin, you can show different ways of playing it with the bow, with pizzicato (plucking) and by showing the many different kinds of sound it can make.”

Owen who plays guitar, says
ʻYou can show different styles of music on the guitar - classical, jazz, rock, flamenco... etc. If you choose bits of music to demonstrate all these different ways of playing, your audience will love it”!

B) PREPARE A SHORT SPEECH about the history of your instrument.

You’ll also need to know what the different parts of the instrument are called, in case your audience asks you questions!

Things to find out about your instrument

  • How long ago was your instrument first played?
  • How has your instrument changed and developed over the centuries?
  • Does your instrument have different family members in other countries?
  • Are there any famous musicians who have played your instrument?
  • Are there any famous pieces written for it?
  • Do you know any strange/unusual facts about your instrument?
  • Can you find any funny/interesting pictures of it?

Google some Hoffnung cartooons! You may find a cartoon which makes fun of your own instrument....!

You may like to prepare a colourful powerpoint to show images as you give your presentation. This can make it more interesting and people will remember it better.

You could collect some sound clips of amazing musicians playing your instrument!

Young musicians from the Purcell School’s IMPULSE Outreach group demonstrating their instruments to primary school children in Cornwall and Norfolk


Make a plan of your presentation, using your speech, with the musical examples mixed into it. Try and ‘choreograph’ it so that it flows well. Move quickly from speech to performing, and place the instrument where you can easily pick it up.

Imagine that you are presenting your instrument on TV. You need to speak clearly, project your voice and make it sound lively and interested. If you use a script, don’t bury yourself in it. Look at the audience when you speak!

If possible, try out your presentation on a trustworthy friend or family member before you give the real thing!

When you are ready, give your presentation to a small group of supportive people (your friends, your class, your family). Listen to their comments and suggestions. Give them a questionnaire.

Now you are ready to present your instrument to a larger group! This can be to a school assembly of younger pupils, or a group of people in your local community.You should ask the adult who is helping you for advice and guidance with this.


Creating a musical presentation

Creating a short musical presentation with friends

Easy ways to prepare

It can be interesting and a lot of fun to prepare a musical presentation with friends! You will also find it much pleasanter when you can share ideas and tasks.

With two or three friends, you can do a presentation in many different ways. Here are some ideas to get you thinking!

What instruments do you all play? Do any of you sing?

How many different pieces of music do you know between you?

Can any of you play or sing bits of your music from memory?

How many are there in your group? Think how you can use that number - e.g. if there are four of you, think about topics that are based on the number 4, such as the four seasons, ‘four calling birds’, numbers 1-4, rhythms and time signatures based around the number 4, etc.etc.

Can you think of a piece of music that you could all play or sing together? Maybe you know something in 3 or 4 parts, like a Christmas carol, or a well-known song.

One of you could play something lively on your instrument, and the other people could add clapping rhythms to it - or body percussion (which is even more interesting)!

You could pass a tune from one instrument to another, each playing a few notes from it, so that the melody can run from beginning to end without a break. This can also be done with voices!

You can use music to tell a story, or to give atmosphere to a film, a painting or a sculpture. Example - each person in a group of 3 chooses a picture, and thinks of some music to play which fits the picture. Show the pictures on a big screen and play the music!


“We each played the highest, lowest, quietest and loudest notes on our instruments to the audience of children! Chris playing his loudest note on the trumpet nearly deafened us all! The audience clapped loudly!”

“Jumaane and Kristijian gave a musical presentation in the school car park on their way back from a visit to a local primary school! Children left their games and ran over to the fence to hear the two of them improvising on sax and violin!”

Jimmy says “Jordan and I use clarinet and marimba to give our musical presentations We arrange lots of well-known pieces to play on our two instruments! It’s really good fun!”

You need to decide
a) What kind of musical idea your group will present

b) What each person’s part (role) in the presentation will be

c) How you will begin and end your presentation.


Isata says “Our group created a really interesting 3-part rhythm. We each clapped one of the parts and stood facing the class.

We should have practiced it a little more, because our performance was a bit untidy and we felt a bit self- conscious. However, we kept going and the children loved it!

Simon says “Our group spent ages preparing and arranging pieces for a presentation on percussion and electic guitar! On the day itself, the primary school’s guitar amp didn’t work and we were in despair trying to fix it - everyone in the school assembly was waiting!

Luckily, we managed eventually to get it working but we ran out of time and had to miss out one of our pieces!”

Helena and Cassi say
“ We gave a very well-rehearsed demonstration, but found ourselves sitting too far away from the children who were our audience.
When we moved closer to them, they were able to see the instruments much better, which made them more interested in the music we were playing, too!”

Preparing your own group presentation

Planning and rehearsing

Speak clearly! It’s always useful to speak a little more loudly and slowly than usual when you are presenting an idea to an audience.

Run your presentation in front of a teacher or a trusted friend before taking it out to a wider audience!

Work as a team! Listen to your friends when they are speaking or performing, and show interest. Try and ‘choreograph’ your presentation, so that it flows well from one person to another!

Engage the audience! How will you keep them interested? Don’t play/speak for too long at a time. Variety is important. How can you make your group presentation colourful, fun and memorable?

Don’t be self-conscious! When presenters snigger, look embarrassed, or start to mumble this can look awful in front of an audience! Look at them confidently as you are speaking.

Ask for feedback! At the end of your presentation, the audience will probably clap you. If you really want to know what they think, be brave enough to ask them afterwards!


Building audience participation

Get the audience involved!

Your audience is very important indeed!

Before you give a performance or presentation, always spend some time thinking about the audience who will be coming and how you will help them to enjoy your musical programme.

If you don’t know who your audience will be, ask questions! Try and find out yourself, or ask an adult to help you.

Your audience may be very young, or very old. It might consist of families - or people of mixed ages. You should consider how different age-groups might react to the music you play.

You should speak and present in a way that can be understood and enjoyed by the audience. There are other ways in which they can be involved, too.


Children are very good at copying (imitating) sounds and movements! When you start your presentation, you can sing, chant, clap or play a little bit of music or rhythm to the children in the audience and if you ask them, they will try hard to do it like you.

You can teach children to copy a bit of the music you are going to play, or use something completely different!

Example - above you can see a group of young musicians in Norfolk teaching something inspired by a children’s song from Ghana called ‘Che Che Koolay’ which is a bit like the well-known

‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’.


You can easily teach this to children yourself using ‘call and response’. Someone should set up a steady walking beat - someone playing a drum, or using hand claps.

You face the audience of children, and have fun demonstrating how they can sway to the beat. Then you explain steps 1) to 6) carefully to them, keeping the beat going quietly and confidently in the background all the time!

STEP 1) You call in rhythm - ‘Che Che Koo Lay‘ (put your hands on your head) Children all repeat in rhythm ‘Che Che Koo Lay’ (put their hands on their heads)

STEP 2) You call in rhythm - ‘Che Che Kofisa’ (put your hands on your shoulders) Children all repeat in rhythm ‘Che Che Kofisa’ (put their hands on shoulders)

STEP 3) You call in rhythm - ‘Kofisa Langa‘ (put your hands on your waist) Children all repeat in rhythm ‘Kofisa Langa’ (put their hands on waists)

STEP 4) You call in rhythm - ‘Lalla Shi Langa‘ (slap above your knees with both hands in rhythm) Children all repeat in rhythm ‘Lalla Shi Langa’ (slapping above their knees)

STEP 5) You continue to call ‘Lalla Shi Langa‘ getting faster and faster (slapping in rhythm) Children all continue ‘Lalla Shi Langa’ getting faster and faster (slapping in rhythm)

STEP 6) Flop the whole of the top half of your body forwards and relax completely, as you do so, calling ‘Ooooh! Adende’ Children will all flop forward at the same time, saying ‘Oooooh! Adende’


ASK QUESTIONS - e.g. you might say ‘Put up a hand if you love music’

Or maybe you could say ‘Who knows what this is?’ (as you hold up a violin bow, a guitar plectrum, a horn mouthpiece, an instrument from Papua New Guinea, a banjo, a bassoon, a
shaker.....or something interesting. Another good question is ‘How many people in this room can play an instrument?’ Hands will go up! You can ask one or two of them to tell you!

There are lots of musical questions you can ask a group of children. It’s usually best to get them to put up their hands to give you answers, or they all shout out at once in their enthusiasm!

LET THEM TRY IT! - e.g. if you are a brass player, show them all how to use their mouth to make the shape needed to blow a note. They will copy you! You can even bring one or two of them up to have a try on a real instrument!

TEACH THEM A CHANT about something you want them to remember

pizz-i - ca- to pluck pluck

You can create a chant putting any simple words to the basic rhythm of a piece that you play. The audience can chant or sing it quietly while you play the piece on your instrument at the same time! Use your imagination to create a chant.


Residents from a care home for people with dementia singing well-known songs arranged for them by young musicians

Adults are really nice to perform to, because they are usually very supportive, and willing to listen carefully to you as you speak, sing or play.

Remember that adults enjoy singing and joining in a performance as much as children do! WHAT YOU CAN DO

• Think carefully about what you will wear for your performance. Do you want to look smart? Do you have special performing clothes? Do you want to look normal and natural? Do you want to look funny and unusual? You should think about the visual impression you want to create.

• Design an attractive programme for the adults to read and take home afterwards • Present your musical items loudly and clearly, with a smile.

• Choose your music carefully. Is there a song that you can arrange for voices and instruments as a ‘sing-along’ for the audience?

• Before the concert, during the interval and at the end, make sure that you chat to members of the audience, thank them for coming, and try to make it clear that you appreciate their support.

Keep the audience interested!

Good Luck!

Creating a project for children

Creating a project for children

How to do it!

You have now learned to present a topic to an audience, to demonstrate your instrument, and to keep the audience interested. These skills will help you with the next step - creating a project.


Helpful Tip 1) Start by working with one or two friends and get ready to create a short project together for a small number of children. WHY? Because friends will give you ideas, support and confidence, and if you work with too many children at once when you are learning to run a project, they can be very demanding and you may lose control.

Helpful Tip 2) You need to know the ages of the children you are working with before starting your project WHY? Because if you make your project too babyish or too advanced for the children’s age group they will get bored and may not enjoy it.

Helpful Tip 3) It can help to plan a project that has some space in it for childrens’ ideas


Because children like to think that their ideas are taken seriously - just as you and I do!

Helpful Tip 4) If you read the IMPULSE IDEAS BANK, you will get lots of ideas for your projects. WHERE CAN I FIND THIS? Give the link


• What instruments do you and your group leaders play?

• What is the age group of the children you will be working with?

• How many of them will there be in your group?

• What do you want the children to LEARN from your project?

Example of a simple 10-minute project involving one childHarrison (known to his friends as ‘Birdy’) created an interesting project with one child. The aim was to create a short signature tune together, using their instruments! Birdy, who played the trumpet, took it to pieces, giving the child a mouthpiece and a bit of tubing from the trumpet. They had huge fun together making lots of interesting sounds for their signature tune, using just mouthpieces and bits of trumpet! After 10 minutes they performed it to everyone else in the classroom!


• Do they play any instruments, what are they? and how much can they play?

• If they don’t play instruments, what will you do - think about body percussion, instrumental percussion and voices.

• What will you choose as your theme? Will it be a song, a well-known tune, a picture, a story, a character, a poem, a TV programme......? You decide!

Example of a 15-minute project involving 2 children

James ran his project with two young boys who were interested in playing the djembe (drum). They were very keen!

First of all, James taught them to clap the rhythms, without drums.

Then they added some body percussion, which gave some different colours to the rhythmic patterns, and then the two boys were given drums to use.

They composed a piece of music together which used drumming, hand claps and body percussion. James played all the difficult bits and the two boys added lots of colour and interest.
How will you organise your project?

• How will you begin the project? Will you sit/stand/face the children/speak to them/play something to them/surprise them/make them laugh/make them listen carefully?

• What will be the first thing that happens?

• What will be the first thing that the children do - listen, sing, clap, speak....?

• How will you help the children to do what you want them to do? What will they learn?

Example of a 15-minute project involving 5 children

There were lots of clarinets, a flute and a cello in this group! Emma and Jordan who were the leaders, asked the children to make up two musical ideas on their own instrument, all based around the note ‘G’ Everyone stood in a circle, and one of the children was chosen as a conductor. The conductor learned how to use his hands to make the instruments stop and start. He also learned how to make them play louder and softer, faster and slower. He learned how to make them play alone and in twos, threes - and all together! Everyone took turns to be the conductor!

Try to keep the children interested and involved!

Plan in advance!

• What materials will you need to run your project? Music, music stands, pencils, manuscript paper, coloured pens, bits of music prepared in advance, diagrams, pictures......?

• What will you need to ask the children to bring, if anything? Instruments? Music? drawings?

• Where will your project happen? Will you have enough space? Will it be quiet enough to hear the musical ideas you and the children create? What new skills will the children learn?

IMPULSE musicians aged 16/17 in Cornwall preparing ‘Lord of the Dance’ for younger pupils to play.

They organised the music carefully to give harder parts to more advanced players and easy material to the beginners

Perform it at the end!

Whatever you do with the children in your project, try and perform it at the end of your session. Try and use your own musical skills to make it sound as interesting as possible. Try and find an audience who will listen to it with kindness and interest.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it is very good. It doesn’t matter if the children are struggling to play it It doesn’t matter if you only play it to yourselves!
When you finish playing, it’s very important for everyone to clap and to say encouraging things to the children, so that performing is a positive experience for them.



Hattie says -
“Every child in our group played a clarinet! I didn’t know much about clarinets, and had to think very hard to try and get the children playing music with me - and to make sure they had fun as well!”

Chris says -
“ The children ALL wanted to play the djembe and flocked around me at the end of the workshop! I didn’t know which one to choose first, so I let them all play it at the same time!“

Antonia and Michelle say -
“We tried to help some little children play ‘Lord of the Dance’ with us! The violin part was very difficult and the children were struggling to play it.
We picked out and wrote down some important but easy notes for them to play, which fitted with the more difficult music and so we were all able to play together!!”


Information for adults

Information for adults

This information is to help teachers, music leaders and parents understand what IMPULSE is, and how it can enable young people to develop a range of very useful skills.

As an adult reading this document, you will be able to see how to encourage and support the young people who are participating in the programme. Your experience and understanding will be an essential part of the process, and you will be able to encourage and nurture a pupil’s progress in many different ways.

Even if you are not a musician or a teacher, there is a great deal that you will be able to do to help.

Who is IMPULSE likely to work for?

  • Young people aged between 12 and 18 who enjoy music, and who would like to share their ideas with others
  • The ability to play an instrument, sing, or compose music is desirable
  • An outreach team can contain different personalities and levels of ability, but everyone involved should be very keen to work together to make the project a success.
  • Young people with strong artistic, organisational and presentation skills will be greatly appreciated.
  • Young people who lack confidence and those who undervalue their own achievements can often benefit greatly from this project
  • Young people with advanced entrepreneurial skills who need an exciting out-of-the ordinary challenge can benefit greatly too - and sometimes manage to take the project in new directions.
  • Talented young musicians can develop new skills and enhance existing ones.
  • Sometimes, people who are difficult and unco-operative in class find outreach work is a positive experience for them.

How can adults support the project?

Teachers and Music Leaders

  • Can actively encourage their pupils to become involved
  • Can help them work constructively through the ‘7 steps’ of IMPULSE
  • Can select and and book IMPULSE Alumni to visit the school, lead the project and inspire the pupils to develop their ideas further
  • Can help the pupils to develop and shape their ideas, and to gradually take more and more responsibility for their own outreach project
  • Can oversee the logistics, supervision and other legal requirements.
  • Can ensure that the IMPULSE Alumni and the pupils plan a programme that is realistic and achievable, and balanced carefully against their other school commitments.


  • Can encourage young people who have musical ideas to speak to their teachers about running IMPULSE in their schools
  • Can speak to and encourage community music leaders and others working regularly with young musicians to consider running the IMPULSE programme
  • Can listen to a young person’s presentations and performances at home, and give them feedback and plenty of encouragement.
  • Can help promote the school’s new outreach project by writing letters to organisations who might offer funding or help support them in other ways.
  • Parents with CRB clearance may be able to help the teachers with supervision or other logistics.


Every school should ensure that their new outreach project is carefully supervised and monitored by one or more experienced CRB-cleared adults.

IMPULSE Alumni are excellent, talented, responsible young people, but it is possible that they will occasionally need guidance and a helping hand - especially when unexpected problems arise, as they so often do! Schools using their services should bear this in mind.

When the outreach group is trained and ready to visit primary schools and community groups, adults will be needed to accompany the group, drive the school minibus, etc.

Introduction to Impulse

Freya's story

Hattie's story

Impulse in the community

Josh's story

Mikki and Melina's story

Owen's story

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