Changing Lives..​.

Stories & Songs


The idea for the project came through a series of chance sessions delivered by Limelight Music at Abington Nursery and at Tinto Nursery in October 2012. Limelight were working in the schools and as one of the classes were not present for 2 weeks it was suggested that it would be a good idea to hold 2 story telling sessions with the nursery children. The sessions were very succesful with the children fully taking part and gaining in confidence through music, movement and storytelling. The staff present found the work of Limelight music very informative and had never experienced a session similar in any way. Staff members discussed the possibilities of engaging with Limelight Music in long term collaboration and were told that Limelight Music already had been working in the area of child development for over 15 years.

We discovered that the sessions delivered were inspired by the work of Limelight’s Artistic Director Gordon Dougall and Music Psychologist and long-term Limelight company member Prof Raymond McDonald, now Head of Music at Edinburgh University and Chair of The Reid Hall. Raymond and Gordon have presented Limelight Music’s work at over 60 international music psychology and music therapy conferences. For his published work entitled Musical Identities Prof McDonald conducted empirical research with primary school children and members of Limelight Music which revealed that music is a tremendously powerful channel through which people develop their personal and social identities. Music is used to communicate emotions, thoughts, political statements, social relationships, and physical expression. In the same way that language influences our identities, music, whether Rock, Classical or Jazz has a profound effect on who we are, our values, and our beliefs. A number of research studies in social and developmental psychology are beginning to chart the various ways in which these processes occur. Raymond’s Book entitled Musical Identities was the first publication to examine this in detail from a psychological perspective. Through our nursery programmes we are aware that many young children can find great difficulty in imitating. Imitation is a vital prerequisite for social learning. Therefore they are subject to a huge quantity of missed learning. By teaching directly, using storytelling workshops incorporating movement, facial expression, gesture, intonation, rhythm, voice, and percussion, and singing, imitation can be taught in a fun, safe nurturing environment.

The Stories and Songs project outlines the creation of a nursery based programme which works on the principals of interactive movement, songs and storytelling, suitable for all including those with limited speech and those with good speech and rote memory. The sessions are primarily fun based but will also have sound educational teaching targets. Primary aims include participation, fun. Working on joint attention, functional play, symbolic play, use of voice rhythm and music and use of body, gesture and facial expression. Interactive storytelling has been chosen as it allows for the vast range of language and cognitive abilities seen in young pre-school people. Limelight Music project directors will work alongside the nursery staff and children over an academic year in teaching those skills directly.

The sessions will be practical and the tale will evolve chapter by chapter each day, taking the children further into the world of our hero Manju. The stories will focus on this young East African boy who by use of a magic drum can travel across the world and through time. In this exciting series of adventures Manju meets other children and through creative use of musical instruments stories and movement, the project inspires the children, teachers and parents while enhancing the children’s musical experience and engaging with their social development. The Manju story series contains multisensory musical stories about feelings, role play and improvisation. Stories designed to encourage flexible thinking, creativity and metarepresentation i.e. the ability to think about one’s own thoughts and feelings. This context also allows staff to introduce and develop knowledge and understanding of aspects of global citizenship for nursery children. This is an important interdisciplinary strand within Curriculum for Excellence.

Stories and Songs will also teach imitation skills in a multisensory way using drama, music and movement using a mixture of functional and symbolic imitation. Using stories, songs and sounds we can explore the basis of music learning. In collaboration with Limelight leaders we will work on developing the rhythmic skills of the group throughout the school year teaching them to learn to play together and as the young children in the group progress we will introduce secondary elements using other tuned instrumentation like coloured handbells. We will then begin to encourage the individuals to make music alongside the telling of stories. This element reinforces literacy across the curriculum , links with geography and maths, as well as specific outcomes for music including
EXA0-1A Participation in performances and presentations
EXA0-16A experience a range of styles and cultures
EXA0-17A Voice, musical instruments for sound, pitch, rhythm & dynamics
EXA0-18A work on own and with others to express and communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings through musical activities
EXA0-19A Respond through discussion thoughts and feelings from listening to music

The project will also give young pre-school children from The Clyde Windfarm Area the opportunity to engage with some of the best and most highly skilled musicians and story tellers in Scotland. The work will be aimed at nursery children and designed to be specifically accessible for young pre-school individuals with learning impairments, those on the Autistic Spectrum and young people considered to be experiencing social disadvantage. This project would enable specific needs identified through GIRFEC to be met with support from an outside agency.

Term one will focus on functional imitation and term two on symbolic imitation. The project would then work towards encouraging the children to physically take part with each young person playing a role within the story as it is being told. The programme will leave a legacy of knowledge which teaching and support staff can continue the work into the school day. The opportunity for education staff who work in rural communities to have CPD opportunities offered in their own school is an enormous advantage. This additional training also meets the requirements of the professional competences as laid down by the GTCS.

To provide a music/storytelling experience which is safe and enjoyable

To provide a music/ movement and storytelling experience which builds trust in personal abilities and group work.


To provide clear rules which allow nursery children to participate in the activities
To use simple language and strong visuals and music to facilitate understanding.
To include as many teaching styles as possible.
To provide fun enjoyable workshops which can be built on by teaching staff.
To provide an interactive and enjoyable workshop designed to build confidence in the children’s own ability to participate in the activity.

To focus on key areas of social interaction and imagination.
To provide staff who are trained and up to speed on the latest issues of those on the spectrum and who are able to teach music skills in an ASD friendly way when necessary.

The objectives of the project are to provide a safe, fun, environment to teach and work on key area of development such as, imitation, joint attention, functional play, symbolic play, social skills, and group interaction. Limelight project leaders will provide a platform and means of communication through the sessions and provide an inclusive leisure activity which will bring skills and benefits to all the participants.

The project will enhance existing nursery experiences regarding development of skills for life and learning as detailed in “Building the Curriculum 4” and provide additional aesthetic experiences for the nursery pupils.

Limelight Music

Unit 233
The Briggait
141 Bridgegate
G1 5HZ

Company Info

Company No: SC133290
Charity No: SC019831

Contact Us

Tel: 0141 548 8929
Email: info@​