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Charity launches Songbook which celebrates diverse lifestyles of children in contemporary Britain

17th July 2017

Youth music development charity launches

NYMAZ Early Years Songbook: Songs for Modern Childhoods

Twelve new songs which celebrate the lives of children today

NYMAZ, the youth music development charity, today announces the release of a new resource aimed at those making music with babies and pre-school children. The twelve new, original songs in NYMAZ Early Years Songbook: Songs for Modern Childhoods are designed to celebrate the diverse lifestyles of children in contemporary Britain. An accompanying CD features children from early years settings across North Yorkshire singing the tunes.

The new commissions mirror modern, everyday life: a long journey to see relatives becomes an adventure; festivals from Diwali to Chinese New Year are observed; a curiosity in exploring the great outdoors is fostered; cross-cultural friendships are celebrated; and the concept of a ‘family’ and its different forms is neatly explained.

Heidi Johnson, director of NYMAZ, explains the idea behind Songs for Modern Childhoods:

Whilst the tradition of singing to children is age-old, we felt that many of the songs were too. Our idea was to commission new songs to reflect and represent the lives of children in Britain today, including themes which would resonate with young children including friendships and playing to outings and special events.

We were particularly interested in songs which could enhance wellbeing and support emotional literacy. It was also important to us to reflect the UK’s diversity, from varied family units to different cultures.

There are suggestions for how to engage children in 
the songs, such as accompanying actions and musical interpretations. This is just a starting point though – our aim is for people to enjoy sharing the songs and making them their own.”

Songs for Modern Childhoods features the work of a number of composers who are either based in Yorkshire or who deliver NYMAZ music activities locally, such as:

Whoops-a-Daisy Down! 

Written by Jess Hayne, a primary music coordinator for schools in the Boroughbridge and Thirsk areas of North Yorkshire and a teacher from nursery to year 6.

 ‘Falling down is an occupational hazard for children who have only recently found their feet. This song gives a chance to get back on their feet, with the support of their friends.’


It’s My Turn, It’s Your Turn

Songwriters Anna and Ed Snow have been writing children’s songs together for a number of years. Individually, Ed has worked as in-house songwriter and Anna regularly composes and arranges pieces for her group, Juice Vocal Ensemble, who perform her works across the UK and on BBC Radio 3. Anna is also involved in delivering NYMAZ music projects.


Sharing your favourite toys can be very hard! This song explains how it feels good to share with a friend and play together.’


Come and Sing and Play with Me

Lindsay Ibbotson leads NYMAZ’s Music for Two music sessions at Catterick Garrison with the Army Welfare Service, and is involved in research into the impact of musical activities for the very young child.

‘Playful companionship is of universal and timeless importance, central to musical activity at any age, and especially important for the very young. This simple song supports interactive, creative games that a child and a companion could play together and which encourages face to face interaction.’


Songs for Modern Childhood is available:
Free of charge to full members of the NYMAZ Early Years Music Network (Membership is £25 per setting or £10 per freelancer. For more information and to sign up, see:

Or for non-members, £5 plus £4 p&p

– Online:
– Direct from NYMAZ, call 01904 543382 or e-mail


Tuesday 18 July, 1pm, Wesley Chapel in Harrogate
Families with under 5s are invited to sing, shake and groove as we launch Songs for Modern Childhood at the Harrogate Music Festival. This fun session will be led by Hannah Dilworth and Kathryn Sturman who composed “We’re Off on an Adventure” for the Songbook and who deliver music projects for NYMAZ and Harrogate International Festivals.

To book your FREE place, visit:

Notes to editors:

Full Song list:
Come and Sing and Play With Me by Lindsay Ibbotson
Whoops-a-Daisy Down by Jessica Hayne
It’s My Turn, It’s Your Turn by Anna and Ed Snow
We’re Off On An Adventure by Hannah Dilworth and Kathryn Sturman
Out in the Woods by Claire Tustin
It’s Time to Go, Go, Go!  by Danielle Ballantine-Drake
Steering Wheel by Steve Grocott
Out in the Garden by Pete Lynn and Sue Scargill
What is a Family? by Sally Kee
Friends from Everywhere by James Moriarty
I Can Fly in the Sky by Tom Riviere
Celebrations by Andrew J Smith


NYMAZ champions the transformative potential of music for children and young people. Music for the under-fives and their parents/carers is a key strand of NYMAZ’s work in North Yorkshire. Music can bring a breadth of benefits to early childhood development, such as improving communication, language and literacy development.
For more information:

NYMAZ also runs the NYMAZ Early Years Music Network to enable musicians, educators and practitioners to develop their skills, share best practice and network with peers.
For more information: