Amongst many things Nicola is one of the voices of Cool4School. Nicola’s soulful vocals can be heard in Marcel's Nu Jazz band, Bassistry. She’s played countless shows, and recorded of number of albums with us. Besides recording and performing, Nicola has set up, and runs her own educational vocal company, Vocal Works. She also works for the Inspiring Music, the Bedfordshire Education music provider. We caught up with her recently to find out how she was using Cool4School.
Hi Nicola, tell me about Vocal Works?
We run vocal classes from 4-16 year olds. The 7- to 16 year olds are in smaller groups. They have the opportunity to work towards the Trinity Rock and Pop. We have 3 venues in the Northampton area.
What tracks have you been using in Cool4School?
For the older students, 12-16 year olds we’ve been looking at ‘Catch It.’ It is ideal for a small group. It’s a soul track, and stylistically is interesting for them. The 4-6 year olds, we use Animals, and they absolutely love it!!
You also work in schools?
Yes, via Inspiring Music. Recently, we have started a choir at a new school. There are 58 Year 5 students. We became aware that for quite a few singing in a choir is not actually something there are interested in, There are also a percentage of kids with ADHD. So, for something different I used That’s Life from Cool4School. I used it as a warm up for 10 minutes. It was amazing! Even those who children don’t usual engage I got singing. I’m no dancer, but I actually watched and learnt the dance moves before the session. Then I showed them. By getting them up moving to music that sounds good, it helped to open them up to singing. Now, they ask to do That’s Life. When they come in!
What's your technique for teaching vocals?
For me, I like to sit down with piano and go through the piece.
So, being able to run off the chord sheets is important?
Yes, for non-specialist teachers, following the videos of the full version of the song is ideal. Since, they may not have the confidence, or may not remember all the moves. That’s the strength of Cool4School.
Is there any other way you use Cool4School?
When I first got Cool4School, I plonked it in front of my own kids to see how they reacted. They immediately were up learning the moves. So, I felt confident about using it. In fact, because the music sounds so good, I play it as the students come into the lessons in the background!
What else do you to use to teach vocals?
I also use SingUp, and the odd pop song.
Some ‘Christmas Songs!’ We’re always looking for new Xmas songs.
Watch this space. Look out for our Reggae Xmas song for next year!