This project was made up of three taster music sessions at Oxford central library, for young families to engage in.  


During the summer of 2012 Oxford Contemporary Music (OCM) met with staff at the Oxford Central Library to discuss possible ways we could collaborate and celebrate families learning together.

The library mentioned that they were working towards the creation of a family learning festival during the October half-term of 2012 and we decided that this would be an ideal opportunity to pilot a music project with families.

Towards the end of the summer we received completed questionnaires from 25 families who all thought it was a great idea. From the feedback we received we were able to determine that a weekly 30 – 45 minute music making session for families to take part in was in high demand and that this would be something that would remain popular all year round.


We recruited music leader Emily Marshall to deliver 3 taster sessions at different times throughout the day in Oxford Central Library on Friday 2nd Nov 2012.

The project was called Sound Story and Emily developed and delivered 3 project sessions that invited participants to explore vocal sounds and singing through an existing story.

The Story

Emily led the groups through the various stages of the project.

Participants were invited take part in:

  • Introductions and icebreakers
  • Vocal warm ups
  • Improvised conduction
  • Presented with a story for stimulus
  • The development of sound and music ideas
  • A small performance

Impact on participants

One of the participants on the project was autistic. He was really engaged in the project and took a really active roll in it.

Here is what one parent had to say about the project:

“I though it was really good. My 11 month old really enjoyed it, in fact much more so than Rhyme time because it was more interactive. Good time of day too- afternoons. Also liked that it wasn’t too full on lots of sessions would be good in the future as I’m sure it will fill up fast once people know about it. Also really like the focus musical element of it. It felt a lot more social and nice vibe to it. As a parent I find Rhyme time good but its not as friendly as this was, as everyone just comes and goes for that.”

Next steps

The pilot project Story Sounds proved to be a success. Our Next step is to apply for the city councils small funding grant to fund some regular activity at the library. We hope to use this funding to not only run sessions at the central library but to expand into the other smaller libraries in places like, Cowley, Blackbird Leys, Headington, Marston and Summer Town. We submitted a funding bid to the city council on Friday 2nd November 2012 to start the next phase of families learning with OCM.