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Home  →  We're looking for a Freelance Musical Director for Big Sing 2024

We're looking for a Freelance Musical Director for Big Sing 2024

Whickham Prochial

Big Sing overview

Big Sing is a summer term singing event for schools, led in partnership with Sing up and sponsored by the Kavli Trust. Designed for children in KS2 and 3, we invite schools to learn a set of songs from the Sing Up Song Bank which are chosen by the Musical Director and based around a theme. We choose songs that we think are accessible, able to be challenging, and make a good end of term live show. They are often in unison but with optional two- or three-part harmonies, and can include original compositions, songs in a foreign language and more well-known/popular songs. Schools can learn whole songs or just the choruses – whatever suits their children best – and the event attracts a wide range of school groups and abilities – from those who may not sing regularly, to those with experienced choirs.

The project kicks off with a teacher training session led by a member of the Sing Up team, and teachers are introduced to the themed songs and teaching resources from the Sing up Song Bank. We give teachers tips on warmups and good vocal technique, guidance on how to lead regular singing in school, and advice on how to tackle tricky parts of arrangements.

Help and support is available throughout the term from both Sing Up and The Glasshouse.

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What we are aiming for with Big Sing:

  • Fly the flag for singing in schools.
  • Champion the health & well-being benefits of regular singing
  • Encourage an enjoyment of singing with a good vocal technique to back it up
  • Be a cheerleader for teachers to be confident to sing in their classrooms
  • Provide a memorable, live performance in a world class venue that will inspire a life-long love of music

The Musical Director will be a linchpin throughout the project, keeping everyone on the right track with vocal technique, musical arrangements, and help with preparing for the big performance.

Big Sing finishes with an exciting, celebratory end of school year live performance in Sage One. The performance is presented by the Musical Director and a professional band – bringing the repertoire to life with great arrangements, lighting, staging and sound.

Without the pressure of an audience to perform to, the children get to ‘sing like no one is watching’ and feel the rush of being part of a live show.

Key information

Job title: Freelance Musical Director for Big Sing 2024

Period of work: December 2023 to July 2024

Reports to: Schools Producer

Advert closes: Friday 24 November

Agreed fee: £2,200

To apply please email by 9am Friday 24 November. Please include a CV and write 500 words describing why you are interested in this role, how your skills, experience and knowledge are relevant to the role.

Applicants will be contacted by Wednesday 29 November.

Big Sing 2024: Discover

2024 is Big Sing’s 20th year and the start of a new chapter. We want to make Big Sing a stand out memorable experience offering unique songs and making the most of the building we’re lucky enough to call home.

This year will be the first of 4 Big Sing themes we intend to cycle, and we will begin with the topic of STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – under the title ‘Discover’. Through specially commissioned songs, we aim to adapt the topic into STEAM subjects, adding in the A for ‘Arts’ and exploring how art and musical elements link with STEM (with patterns and rhythm for example) to help creatively design and problem solve.

We would like the theme to be present throughout the project and be represented in the production of the final show. The aim being that the production and essence of the show can be revisited in 4 years time as we cycle our Big Sing themes.

Who we’re looking for

You will celebrate the hard work teachers and students have put in over the term to learn the songs by making them feel an integral part of the live performance. This will be balanced with the knowledge that not all schools will have learnt all the songs, and you will need to be able to approach this event through both workshop and performance elements.

A confident and experienced vocalist, with vocal workshop or choir leading experience, keen to get the most out of the opportunity of having 1200 young voices ready to sing together.

You will be a strong band leader, able to effectively communicate with a team of musicians, organise and lead rehearsals and make creative decisions to produce a captivating celebratory performance with a high production value.

You will be well organised with a clear overall vision, and responsive to suggestions of change as and when needed.


The melodic range of songs for this project is suitable for children aged 7 – 11 years and stays mainly within a middle C to C octave, but can have an occasional note either side of that where musically necessary. Optional harmony parts learnt by the schools can step a few notes outside this range if and when required.

For the live performance, songs should therefore remain in the keys the schools have learnt them in and not be transposed.

Main roles and responsibilities

Alongside the Schools Producer and Coordinator, and supported by Sing Up, you will:

  • Select songs which work in line with the ages of children and theme of the event, from the Sing Up Song Bank.
  • Arrange the songs for the band and second vocalist (harmonies).
  • The chosen songs will include:
  • A range of musical styles and keys (keys should not be transposed for live performance)
  • At least one foreign language song (where possible)
  • An ‘anthem’ or ‘big song’
  • Five newly Commissioned songs
  • Familiar ‘popular’ songs (no more than half)
  • (1 online and 1 face to face) to make sure there is continuity between vocal training and vocal performance.
  • Design the Big Sing 2024: Discover performance, including deciding the set list and warmups, lighting, and staging instructions.
  • Work with The Glasshouse Technical Team, Schools Producer and Schools Coordinator to bring this vision to life.
  • Organise and lead band rehearsals, to include a daytime tech rehearsal on Tuesday 2 July 2024 at The Glasshouse in Sage One. One half day rehearsal may be required before this date.

Present Big Sing 2024: Discover – two 75 minute daytime performances for around 1200 children in each, on Wednesday 3 July 2024.