Over 80 Early Years professionals, teachers, students and music and dance practitioners from across the UK descended on the Brewhouse in Burton upon Trent recently for an inspiring conference designed to help them in their work with young children and families.

The UpBeat Conference was organised by UpBeat, a highly successful creative music and movement programme delivered by Make Some Noise in conjunction with East Staffordshire Borough Council.

UpBeat is targeted at children aged 0-5 years and their parents/carers and is run with the help of highly experienced and renowned early years musicians in childcare settings and community venues across Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and beyond.

Delegates took part in a variety of lively, practical and theoretical workshops enabling them to experience first-hand some of the innovative and fun techniques used by some of todays most experienced and renowned Early Years professionals.

Tim Sharp, CEO for Make Some Noise said: “The UpBeat Conference highlighted just how much fun, music and movement can be and how it can be used effectively to engage with children and families. It was great to see so many people enjoying the experience. The quality of singing we heard on the day from those who attended has been fantastic. We hope that everyone has taken away with them some new skills and knowledge to use in their Early Years work with families to improve learning and development, build confidence and aid bonding .

Workshops included:

Alison Street, highly renowned Early Years Music Consultant who has spent over 30 years working in community music education with families and has composed and compiled materials for PEEP (Parents Early Education Partnership) Learning Together Programme which supports parents with their childrens learning. Her workshop focused on the importance of vocal expressiveness and how it can be used in music making to share with families and how many ideas emerge in just one song; how it can be adapted to different contexts, age groups and needs.

Margareta Burrell, a highly qualified Dalcroze Teacher and Music Therapist who has worked extensively with Early Years and Special Needs in Scotland and England and has been the Music leader at Thomas Coram Childrens Centre in London since 2000, working with parents, staff, and children from 0-5 years old. Her workshop explored the relationship between music and movement and how it can be used as a tool for self-expression and communication and the important role of movement in childrens brain development.

Linda Bance,renowned nationally and internationally for her work promoting music as an essential part of childrens development and well being has lead projects within Children Centres, music services and professional orchestras. Linda is a music education consultant for the original series of BBC Zingzillas and has recently published her new book Music for Early Learning. (Routledge). Her all singing, all dancing, all playing workshop explored how music is a most powerful tool for learning and that it can broaden the amount of musical activity that practitioners offer in their settings so that it becomes a natural part of each day.

Early Years Music Specialists and UpBeat team members,Maria Banks and Marie Warner shared some of their favourite songs and top tips on how music can be used to engage with families and young children and proved that many of the delegates taking part were in great voice!

Early Years Movement Specialists and UpBeat team members,Kristy Upton and Lian Whitlam got delegates up and dancing in their very lively workshop, exploring how dance can be used effectively within the Early Years.

Early Years Music Specialist and UpBeat Conference Organiser,Jacqui Shankly’s workshop explored the importance of engaging families in their children’s learning and how music can act as a wonderful conduit to facilitate family learning.

Aysha Afridi (Relationship Manager – Learning) from Arts Council West Midlands also lead a brief discussion on Music Education Hubs and Early Years Music linked with Arts Council England’s strategy.

We’d like to thank everyone involved who helped to make the UpBeat Conference a great success!