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As every primary teacher knows, staging a musical performance is a challenging but rewarding rite of passage that rolls panic, excitement and pride into one.
Whether it is a class assembly or a special performance to mark a key moment in the calendar, writing a show from scratch is time-consuming and unnecessary.
There are plenty of out-of-the-oven, ready-made musicals we can now buy where someone else has done most of the hard work. Modern In-School Music has produced two for us just in time for Christmas – one for lower and one for upper primary pupils.
Santa’s Lost Reindeer is the ideal choice for KS1. The classic and mesmeric Scrooge’s Christmas Carol is perfect for KS2, though it also includes plenty of opportunities to include younger members of the school if you want to. Both are presented as a two CD resource (download coming soon), and contain all the music and associated materials you need to bring a show to life.
The resources come with complete production notes to help you get started and to familiarise yourself with what’s on the CDs. These are clearly written and point you in the right direction towards the complete package of supporting resources to help you rehearse and stage a really memorable performance.
The first CD in both resources is audio only and contains backing instrumental performance tracks and learning tracks featuring vocals. The musical arrangements and songs are beautifully crafted and created, giving you everything you need on a musical platter. These are catchy and memorable digitally produced tracks, although a collection of children’s voices would have been a welcome addition.
What is a must for any musical is to have highlighted words on the screen as they are being sung, which is why it is great to see synchronised words and music included. In addition, you also get lyric sheets, piano score, guitar chords, percussion suggestions and PowerPoint backdrops.
The kitchen sink is in there too somewhere! Great music requires great scripts and both resources can boast not just one script but three: director, stage and actor. They provide step-by-step action of each act and are cleverly written too, sprinkled with plenty of creativity and easy-to-learn lines with plenty of range. They are all easily adaptable so offer full flexibility for tweaks and personal edits to suit your class.
You are looking to save your workload, put on a showstopper and make the school proud.
The KS1 resource costs £39.95, while the KS2 resource costs £44.95. Head to fun-musicals.co.uk to find out more.
Reviewed by John Dabell