Yorkshire Garland

Yorkshire folk song in education

Folk song is a wonderful resource, not only for music lessons, but in teaching English, history and geography, making an excellent cross-curricular theme for both primary and secondary schools. Children love learning about their own communities and being able to contribute their own and their families’ experiences.

Yorkshire Garland Committee Member and peripatetic music teacher Ray Black working with a group of North Yorkshire Primary School Children.

All areas of Yorkshire (We include the traditional area of Yorkshire as do most of its inhabitants), as our website demonstrates, have their own local songs. The great Yorkshire folk song collector, Nigel Hudleston, always decried the fact that the vast majority of folk songs in school songbooks came from the collections made in southern England by collectors like Cecil Sharp. ‘Why can’t Yorkshire children be taught Yorkshire songs?’ was his earnest plea.

Nigel went a long way down the road to addressing this anomaly by, with his wife Mary, recording as many of the Yorkshire songs as he could and having them published in his book ‘Songs of the Ridings, The Yorkshire Musical Museum’ (available to purchase from the Committee members, with all proceeds supporting our ongoing voluntary work).

The Yorkshire Garland Group actively supports the increasing use of Yorkshire traditions within the education system and the community. Since we set up the group in April 2006 our members have been involved in numerous activities at all levels within the education system and the community at large. For example our chairman has taken Yorkshire traditional songs into primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, museums and day centres, bringing the songs to a wide and appreciative audience. This has been possible through the co-operation of arts groups such as EthnoEngland, ArtsAway, Creative Partnerships and Beverley Folk Festival. Other of our members currently involved in taking Yorkshire folk music into the education sphere are Bill Sowerby, Robin Garside and Bryony Griffith. Many of our members have organized and participated in Yorkshire Garland workshops and concerts at nearly all of the Yorkshire folk festivals over the past two years, and there are many already booked for the future

It is this aspect of our work that we intend to expand as further funding is procured. We are aware of existing institutions in Yorkshire such as EthnoEngland, Yorkshire Dales Workshops, Ryburn Threestep and The Village Music Project, Beverley Folk Festival and ArtsAway that are already producing excellent practice and results in different parts of Yorkshire, and one of our aims is to bring this work together so that the separate groups can be made aware of new ideas and benefit from each other’s expertise.

Please contact Us if your educational institution or community group wishes to take advantage of visits by folk artists who can teach/perform local songs and their background history. The following organizations may also be able to help: