Frances Turnbull BSc (Hons) Psych MEd HNC (Music and Movement in the Early Years) MBPsS FRSA is an early childhood music specialist, researcher, author and self-taught guitarist. Playing contemporary and community music from the age of 12, she trained as a maths and science high school teacher in South Africa before moving to England to teach. After working in varied industries in administration, she returned to music after having her daughter.
She then trained in the specialist music education techniques of Kodály (focus on singing), Dalcroze (focus on movement) and Orff (focus on percussion), while completing her distance bachelor degree in psychology (Open University) and part time master’s degree in education (University of Cambridge). Her research focus was on identifying musical activities that engaged preschool (3-4yo) children.
In addition to self-publishing a number of thematic early years music lesson planners and cds, available on Amazon through Musicaliti, she has also had a book published by Routledge, Learning with Music: Games and Activities for the Early Years (Routledge 2017). She currently practices in Bolton, teaching beginner acoustic and electric guitar, delivering early years music to baby groups and nurseries, running an afterschool primary music club, directing a local community choir, the Bolton Warblers, and delivering music sessions in care and residential homes, along with her Think Cre8tive Group interests.
As a member of the Musicians Union, Dalcroze Society, British Kodaly Academy, Royal Society of Arts, and British Psychological Society, she also contributes to the development of the Early Years Music profession in the Music Education Council.
Frances has always been fascinated by the different ways that people learn, possibly stemming from her own early Montessori education in South Africa, and enjoys following educational developments. She is particularly influenced by the approach of democratic education and the ideas of Pestalozzi, Maria Montessori, Paolo Freire, Margaret McMillan, John Dewey and Susan Isaacs, interestingly born in Turton and educated in Bolton!
I have been teaching music to children for over fifteen years and built up a wealth of experience working with parents and young children, nurseries, junior & infants as well as adults. I am proud to be working with the Wakefield Theatre Royal Performance Academy as a singing tutor; I also lead adult mental health and wellbeing singing groups and sessions for vulnerable teenagers. In 2017 I secured substantial funding from Wakefield Council Culture Cures to run creative projects for mental health and wellbeing, around the district.
Much of my youth was spent dancing where I competed against Melanie Brown (aka Spice Girl Mel B) and I was also a member of the Wakefield Youth Choir. At school I played clarinet and saxophone however left music behind me believing I wasn’t musical enough!
My intention on leaving University was to work in Television however after suffering severe depression my path changed. During my time living in Poole I joined a Performance Academy and started to lead singing with young children. It was at this point I realised how much I loved singing and teaching. On finding out I had Crohns disease I returned back to my home town of Wakefield with my husband and set up Music for Minors (Early Years music classes).
Over the years I have been on many Kodály training courses and now work using this philosophy. In 2017 I travelled to Budapest in Hungary (home of Zoltán Kodály) to visit their nurseries where the Kodály philosophy is still practised and music is an essential part of their education system. I was lucky to have training from one of the top Hungarian Kodály tutors Helga Dietrich whilst there, visit Kodály’s home and the Kodály music institute in Kesckemét.
Singing is a massive part of my life. I truly believe it has helped my mental health and wellbeing and I have seen the effects on other people too.
Interesting Facts: I appeared on the National Lottery Jetset programme, met Eamon Holmes and looked around the Blue Peter Garden (then in London).
BA (Hons), Cache Dip 3, CPD certificate in Early Years Music. BKA. Musicians Union. Soundsense. Partner with Wakefield Recovery College (South west Yorkshire partnership)
What does music mean to you? Singing? Instruments? Radios? Cinematic soundscapes? For me, music is so much more. As a teacher in both mainstream and specialist settings, I have seen music connect people, break down barriers and create equality.
Music gives you chance to both perform and to be completely absorbed and enveloped – it protects and nurtures you, your confidence grows as you connect to the music. Music does not discriminate when it comes to ability or talent – if you feel it, do it!
I have also been in the very privileged position of delivering a nationally accredited session for mums and babies where we as a group sang a capella (without accompaniment) while massaging our babies – the power of touch and singing as part of a group is immensely powerful and allows parents to bond with and communicate with their babies at what can be an intense and stressful time.
My passion and belief is fundamental to my role as one of the Directors of the Think Cr8tive Group and I am honoured to be involved in such an innovative, meaningful and necessary project – from our first breath to our last, let’s sing and play and share our musical experiences together.
From leaving school, my over-riding ambition has been to help to improve people’s lives. At the beginning I only wanted to work with children and young people. To this end, I trained and practised Nursery nursing, then paediatric nursing and obstetrics. I especially enjoyed working with children and young people with disabilities.
I then went on to general nursing, working with adults in many settings. Health visiting meant that I could use the holistic approach to caring for and supporting all members of the family and the community, from cradle to grave. An interesting time was my work in public health with families of prisoners. I have always enjoyed singing, finding it alleviates many stressful situations in the community, and in hospitals and hospices.
My passion for providing the best possible support led me to work on national Government projects in identifying and establishing measurable standards for nursing and health visiting. This also involved training staff nationally on achieving these standards and implementing them in the community and hospitals. Working across the age spectrum in the community in Bolton, I helped set up and worked as part of a multiagency team to support the health and wellbeing of that community, and to improve their choice and build their own lives.
As CEO of the Community Health Council, I championed patient rights, collaborating with local MPs and Councillors, and through the media of TV and Radio, and speaking at conferences. I led Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in West Lancashire, and then was Head of Children’s Services. Using the concept of community and all-inclusive work, I have specialised in caring for and supporting members of the older generation.
As well as working on a one-to-one basis with the older person and their loved ones, I enjoy training their carers and support staff through the local college and University. My main special interest and strengths are with vulnerable older people, whatever their vulnerability may be. Working with individuals who have dementia, and their families is also a specialty I enjoy and am passionate about. My special thrill: Being invited by HM Queen Elizabeth II to her Garden party in 2013 at Buckingham Palace as a recognition of my contribution to improving the lives of those living in deprived communities.
MA, BSc, RHV, RMHN, MIHPE, PGCE, Dip Counselling, Dementia Friend