What we do

Sound Futures is a primary and early-years learning system that uses songs, music and storytelling to improve and enrich young children’s educational experience. We provide resources and training for teachers, carers and parents. SF-logo-icon-screen-COLOUR1
Our clients range from Local Authorities to parent groups, librarians to professional nannies, primary school teachers to Sunday school teachers, ESOL students to foster parents. If you teach or care for children or need a fresh, creative and effective approach to teaching ESOL then we would love to hear from you. Please contact us to find out more about any area of our work or how we could work together.

How it works

It doesn’t take an expert to know that all children respond positively to music and stories. Music can transform a class or creche into a positive learning space full of excitement and creativity. Without realising it, children are learning rhyming and the rules of grammar as they sing nursery rhymes. By retelling and reinventing their favourite stories, children are developing their language and cognitive processing. Through interactive storytelling and musical activities children are developing confidence and social skills that are inhibited by increasingly excessive “screen time”. Children are happy to sing over and over a catchy song or interact animatedly with their imagination through storytelling. When learning is embedded in these activities, education becomes a joyful and rewarding activity for both children and adults.

 

There is a weight of evidence which shows that a combination of positive parenting, a good home learning environment and parent qualifications can transform children’s life chances, and are more important to outcomes than class background and parental income.
– Frank Field, Independent Report on Poverty and Life Chances, 2011.

‘Exciting musical opportunities and meaningful learning experiences can be implemented to address the needs and give support for diverse learners through the incorporation of music and song…. Music can transform classrooms to pleasant and positive learning environments in which children thrive emotionally, socially, and academically.’
– Using Music to Support the Literacy Development of Young English Language Learners Dr. Kelli Paquette & Dr. Sue Reig, 2008: 227

This great little digital story below was written and read by Hackney mother of two Lynn and produced by Sound Futures. It shows how much fun learning can be!

Why we do it

Parents
There has been much publicity in the press over recent years about narrowing the attainment gap between rich and poor. Reports have stressed the importance of a positive home learning environment in supporting children’s formal learning. Verbal communication and home reading routines are the key areas.

However, parents sometimes struggle to engage their children in reading if they lack the confidence or creative ideas to make it fun. Competing with thrilling sounds and visual effects of the latest video games, movies or television programmes can seem an unwinnable battle.

2014 has also seen a focus on the importance of attachment between parents and children. Children under three with an insecure attachment are more likely to suffer from aggression, defiance and hyperactivity when they get older and are more likely to leave school without further education, employment or training. Those with a secure attachment however, will be more resilient to poverty, family instability, parental stress and depression, according to the study.

“The attainment gap between rich and poor opens up before children start school, is visible during the infant years and increases over time.”
– White Paper, The Importance of Teaching, 2010
Around 40% of children lack a strong bond with parents and are more likely to face educational and behavioural problems growing up.
– Sutton Trust, Baby Bonds – Parenting, attachment and a secure base for children 2014

Early Years and Foundation (EYFS) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) Professionals

Early Years and Foundation professionals and child-care workers have an exhaustive framework containing 17 learning goals to nurture and assess amongst their children. There is abundant research demonstrating how rhymes, stories, songs, music and movement are powerful and motivating ways to nurture development in all of the key areas: Communication and Language; Physical Development; Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Yet, unfortunately, many EYFS professionals lack the skills to lead confident and varied singing and storytelling activities.

The governments’ current focus on speech and language means that these skills are needed more than ever, both in EYFS and SEN. A key to triggering this confidence is ensuring the music is fresh and appealing to both children and adults. Sound Futures’ techniques and activities facilitate a fun and efficient way of supporting and assessing early years development.


‘Those children who develop the ability to hear the individual sound categories within a word are able to associate these phonemes with their written letter representations.’
– Professor Sima H. Anvari (et al.), 2002: 111-112.
‘Music’s contribution to speech development comes from the opportunities it provides for exercising and learning to control the instruments of speech and making the voice more modulated, varied and expressive… [it can] provide children with essential preparatory skills for reading by developing their ability to make fine aural discriminations between sounds; providing a range of sound platforms.’
– Youth Music and Northumbria University, 2006: 6

Educators
While schools are under increasing pressure to perform, teachers constantly have to adapt traditional methods to keep children engaged and learning. This is made harder by the burden of evaluation and monitoring tasks, often resulting in reduced preparation time. Teachers and carers face escalating challenges of differences in language, ability and attention and behavioural problems when educating pupils.

One in six primary school pupils do not have English as their first language with some East London LEAs (Local Education Authorities) having up to 76% EAL (English as Additional Language) learners in primary schools.
– January 2013 School Census by the Department for Education.

53% of primary school  teachers say teachers say they have seen worsening behaviour.
– Teacher Support Network, February 2014

Who is Sound Futures?

Founder – biography
Sound Futures is the brainchild of BAFTA film composer and orchestrator Seanine Joyce who has over twenty-five years experience as a music educator including fifteen years as an adult educator.

As a young music educator of children, Seanine explored various techniques to keep pupils engaged and enthusiastic. She found that it was important to keep the delivery fresh and the material varied.

After pursuing a career in London as a performing pianist/ keyboardist in pop and jazz bands, she went on to do an Honours degree in Media and Applied Music Composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Here she learnt how to compose and arrange in a wide variety of musical styles, recording and production techniques and became particularly interested in fusing urban beats with orchestral instruments. She was also the recipient of the EMI Sound Foundation Award, the BMI European Student Bursary and the Royal Academy of Music’s Mortimer Development Award.

Upon graduating in 2004, she was immediately recruited as Orchestration and Composition Lecturer at Exeter University and Music Technology Tutor at Trinity College of Music, London (now Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance). She has also taught film music at City Lit, SPACE Studios and SAE (School of Audio Engineering) and has a PTLLS Teaching Certificate.

She was simultaneously beginning her career in the British film industry, working as a copyist and orchestrator on films such as “Over The Hedge”, “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”, “Severance”, “It’s a Boy Girl Thing” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”. These films covered genres from children’s animation to epic Hollywood productions. By 2008 Seanine had composed two feature film scores: mystery thriller “Framed” starring Martin Jarvis & Robert Hardy and the romantic comedy “Oh Happy Day” featuring gospel music, jazz and comic and romantic orchestral music. She was privileged to have illustrious James Bond film music orchestrator and conductor Nic Raine on board as conductor and jazz virtuosi John Parricelli (guitar) and Gwilym Simcock (piano).

1. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory [100x150]
2. Over The Hedge [100x150]
3. Kingdom of Heaven [100x150]
4. Elizabeth [100x150]
5. King Arthur [100x150]
6. Severance [100x150]
7. Bloodrayne [100x150]
8. It's a boy girl thing [100x150]

 

Seanine has composed commercial music for clients including Sony Play Station and various corporate and animation companies. You can listening to her music at www.seaninejoyce.com

After visiting Cambodia in 2008 as part of a fundraising effort to support the preservation of traditional music, Seanine founded a not-for-profit organisation (now known as Sound Futures Society) in Hackney to promote education and community cohesion through music. She studied Community Music at Goldsmiths College and in 2011 completed a Masters in Music Composition (Creative Practice) researching the effects of music in education and contemporary early years music practices.

Funders' Logos
Funders' Logos

Sound Futures Society’s family learning projects has touched hundreds of families, particularly those from black, ethnic or minority groups, through the kind support of local council bodies and charities.