Friday Afternoons – sing with the kids?

Friday Afternoons is a project to get kids singing on the Friday nearest Britten’s birthday in November. New songs and free resources are provided each year.

Can you get involved? Are you already connected to your local youth choir, music education hub or school? Could this be an opportunity to make a link and inspire children for a lifetime of singing?

The ‘Friday Afternoons’ initiative began in 2013, as part of the celebrations for Benjamin Britten’s centenary. Aldeburgh Music took Britten’s set of Friday Afternoons songs, written for his brother’s school in the 1930s and made them available as free downloads through the website and supported the learning of the songs through extensive interactive resources (also available free of charge).

What was initially just a Suffolk project became regional, turned national, then global, and on Friday 22 November 2013, there were close to 70,000 young people from around the world singing one or more of Britten’s songs, with performances logged on the interactive map on their website.

In 2014 'Friday Afternoons' commissioned nine new folk songs from an eclectic mix of composers and added these to two of Britten’s folk songs plus the song which won the 2013 Britten Young Songwriter Competition. All songs were available to download and all related resources were completely free.

For 2015, 'Friday Afternoons' has commissioned a new set of songs from Nico Muhly. These are principally written for unison voices and piano accompaniment, but also include optional additional parts for more advanced choirs.

For each of the songs, the full vocal score, melody score, lyrics and MP3 audio files, plus lots of accompanying resources are available on the Friday Afternoons Music website.

Friday Afternoons would like as many individuals, schools, hubs and organisations as possible to be involved this year, and to join the Big Sing Day on Friday 20 November. Please do consider signing up — it is a great opportunity to get children involved in singing, and to be part of an international project.