Our member community

What does abcd mean to its members?

Teacher Julia Mayall is Head of Music at Altrincham Girls' Grammar School

My association with abcd goes back at least 15 years when I tried out my first annual convention/ choral festival and was immediately hooked. That heady mix of meeting so many choral directors, singers, musicians and teachers all in one place. Going from session to session, meeting delegates along the way - who quickly become friends later at the bar. Singing through new repertoire in sessions with a room full of good singers was great fun. It's easy too to be star struck meeting famous composers/ choir directors over coffee.

abcd membership and going to the annual Choral Leaders' Festival is a must for any music teacher who wants to be re inspired - with the latest warm ups for choirs, or to be immersed in the latest discussions about musical diversity or clever tricks with technology to help in lessons. The choice and breadth of repertoire that we sing at the festival is always staggering, with the opportunity to buy music in the exhibition. I've lost count of that one choir arrangement that I've picked up which has become my choir's favourite piece once back at school.

Of course the Festival is the highlight of an abcd year. But being a member is so much more than this. It's knowing that there are professionals in the organisation who we can email for advice. It's knowing that benefits of reduced fees to the festival and training courses are part of what's on offer. It's knowing that belonging to abcd means you're part of a great organisation which fights our choral corners!

During the pandemic abcd has been a complete lifeline. Frequent and helpful webinars kept us informed of the latest restrictions and what that meant for us all as music teachers. Visiting the website became the place to go to for up to date information on what was and wasn't allowed in a music classroom - for both primary and secondary schools. Advice is there for all corners of the UK - Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and staff are always on hand to answer questions.

Now life thankfully is starting to look more normal, I know I can rely on abcd to keep us informed of any future restriction changes and what this might mean for teachers and singing in schools.

I've already given my CPD lead at school a heads up about this year's Virtual Choral Leaders' festival in September so I can attend as part of my training this year. With great sessions lined up about the new Music Model Curriculum, diversity in music, new choir warm ups ( to name just a few) and the opportunity to chat to other teachers and choir directors in sessions, it's a bargain!

So if you're not yet part of the abcd musical family, join! You won't look back.

Join us today! Find out more about membership here.