Event Details

Singing the Circle

October 20, 2017 8:30 am


8:30 a.m. to 3 pm, Friday, October 20th, 2017
Cape Breton University
The symbol of a circle is deeply symbolic on many levels and sacred to healing practices of our Indigenous peoples. Singing the Circle workshops are designed to explore and celebrate the basic human act of singing and the artistic use of the human voice through the circle of life–from the time of birth through to death. Through inhalation and exhalation, tension and release, the physical act of singing combined alongside a positive relationship with our voices provides health and a sense of well-being. Music “circles” exist in the form of canons, singing games and dances, or in conducting gesture. The circle is a common metaphor for the reflective process of coming to understand our task as music educators. Singing the Circle workshops present an opportunity to reflect, refresh, renew, and rejoice. (Ardelle Ries, Singing the Circle, May 2017)
As part of Singing the CircleThe Centre for Sound Communities, in partnership with the Boardmore Playhouse at Cape Breton University, invites you to participate in:
“Singing the Circle: Music Education from Birth to Adult.” Details of the day’s schedule and descriptions of presentations can be found below. Please note, additional activities  in conjunction with World Singing Day (October 21st), are being planned and will soon be announced!
ONLINE REGISTRATION will soon be available!
Early bird registration: 15 August 2017, $65 plus taxes
Last day to register in advance: 15 September 2017, $80 plus taxes
Registration fee includes morning nutrition break, lunch, and afternoon coffee and cookies.

Singing the Circle: Music Education from Birth to Adult

(Boardmore Playhouse, Cape Breton University)

Registration: 8:30-9:15 am

Welcome and Introductions: 9:15-9:30 am

Session I: 9:30-10:30: It All Starts With Singing (Ardelle Ries, U Alberta)

Nutrition Break: 10:30-10:45am

Session II: 10:45-11:45 am : Doing Away With Classroom Management: Teaching for Musical Transitions

LUNCH (NOON to 1pm)

Session 3: 1-2 pm: The Wonder of the Child Voice

Final Plenary Discussion: 2-3 pm


Session I: It All Starts With Singing (Ardelle Ries, U Alberta)

In late 16th century, British composer, William Byrd (1543-1623) published one of the first English songbooks. Within this book, Byrd wrote of the wonder of singing and reasons why “all ‘men’ would learn to sing.” Designed to address the needs of both classroom music and choral—through songs, games, and dances—this session will focus on the importance of singing for musical, intellectual, and personal development and how Byrd’s ideas, although centuries’ old, remain true today.

Session II: Doing Away With Classroom Management: Teaching for Musical Transitions (Cathy Benedict, U Western Ontario)

Classroom management problems arise when teachers fail to understand that focused musical transitions are essential for successful lessons.  What if, rather than managing children, we design lesson plans that flow so tightly music making is all we worry about?  Participants will experience a series of elementary lesson plans that demonstrate musical activities and transitions that serve to facilitate safe, creative musical environments.  Join us as we say ‘No’ to managing and ‘Yes’ to making music. 

Session III: The Wonder of the Child Voice (Ardelle Ries, U Alberta)

Our voices, and especially our singing voices, are miraculous forces of nature designed to help us survive, to communicate, and to create! Children’s voices—flexible, adaptable, and resilient—move through many developmental stages. As we prepare to celebrate World Singing Day, this session will examine the singing journey from early years through to adolescence with suggestions for a sequential vocal curriculum and suitable repertoire.


Venue: Boardmore Playhouse


Cape Breton University, Sydney, Nova Scotia