Hello, I'm Helena Craig.
I studied Music and English Literature at Liverpool Polytechnic for my degree and then trained at Goldmiths' College, London University as a secondary school music teacher. I was taught by Dr Janet Ritterman at Goldsmiths' and I studied piano with Peter Sage, Alex Abercrombie and Graeme Humphrey (Royal Academy).
After completing my probationary year teaching music, English and drama in St Aloysius College, North London I spent the next 3 years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I taught music at secondary school level at Sandford English Community School. The school had children from infants up to seniors so we would quite often work on musical projects with a mixture of ages. I composed several musicals for children and enjoyed working with other members of staff putting on various productions.
During my time in Addis Ababa I worked with Norman Pritchard at the British Council, recording vocals and assisting the arrangements of educational songs which formed part of the English Language Programmes for Ethiopian Radio and Television.
When I wasn't teaching I had the most spectacular experiences travelling extensively around Ethiopia; by landrover, public bus (with the chickens and other animals!) and motorbike. I also travelled around Eritrea, Djibouti, Malawi, Kenya, The Seychelles, Eygpt, Yemen, The USA and Mexico.
Upon returning to the UK I resumed teaching music in secondary schools in outer London. I was the Choral Director of the Merton Young Singers and Merton Youth Singers for some years, performing in the Wimbledon Theatre and Fairfield Halls, Croydon. The Merton Music Foundation arranged a huge concert involving 1,000 middle and senior school children composed by Simon Lanzon called, "Our World." I was the Choral Director for this project visiting Merton schools and teaching the songs with Simon. The choir involved 500 children and the event was performed at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon.
I taught piano at Langley Park Girls School, Beckenham, and at Ravens Wood Boys School, Beckenham, regularly entering pupils for the ABRSM exams. I prepared students for their Music GCSE and Music A level performance exams. During the 14 years I taught at Langley and Ravens Wood, all my students achieved a 100% pass rate with 95% gaining Grade A or A* for their performances. I continue to teach piano privately and also at Limpsfield Infant School.
After my daughter, Lucy, was born I composed songs and created fun musical games specifically to help her through the stages of her early development. Lucy attended the local Panda Nursery, Oxted, and they asked me to teach classroom music there. After trying out my songs with whole classes the wonderful staff encouraged me to start my own classes independently.
I started Sing Rainbows in 2010 with a handful of children and now teach around 220 children each week. I've written about 200 songs and Ian and I have worked on the arrangements between us. My fabulous pupils continue to inspire me to write new songs and teaching material and I adore teaching them!
Naturally, I am passionate about composition and creativity! I am always writing songs, accompaniments or piano pieces. Please do encourage your child to compose their own music, it's so good to help them express themselves. I can remember composing tunes from the age of 5 on the piano, but now as a teacher, I see that children can compose from the age of around 3 years using percussion instruments. These compositons will probably be very short but if you give them a stimulus, such as raindrops or a sunshiny day, they may create a few lovely sounds. By age 5 some children can create quite sophisticated stories and sounds with percussion instruments. It's all about inspiring them...
I worked for P & O Ferries when I was a student as a Tour Operator. For three consecutive summers I gave guided coach tours to holiday makers from Dover, across on the ferry, to France, Belgium and Holland. It really gave me a taste for travel, I loved it.
In a previous school I taught at I ran a fitness dance class, as a hobby as I was the only one who volunteered, for the staff for a couple of years.
I was a freelance accompanist for GCSE and A Level students and also at Festivals for many years. I am too busy to do this now!
Now I enjoy ballet, dancing, swimming, walking, running and cycling when I get the time.
About the Classes
Sing Rainbows is a non-franchise family business. Classes provide a carefully structured balance of activities designed to stimulate and aid development in many areas including, speech,
co-ordination, motor skills and social skills. An array of colourful props are used throughout all classes; such as, maracas, bells, coloured scarves, bean bags, pom poms, balls. hoops
Classes involve a variety of activities including:
Class numbers are limited to 11 or 12 children for ages 3 months to 4 years. Each lesson is 35 minutes of well-paced tuition for ages up to 4 years, pre-school age.
The after school music class at Limpsfield Infant School for older children (aged 4 - 7 years) is one hour long and is limited to 18 children.
Over 200 original songs and instrumental pieces composed by Helena Craig. The course material has been written and designed by Helena Craig BA, PGCE, LTCL (Mus.Ed.).
Ian Craig, GRSM (Dip Ed), ARCM has arranged many of my songs and composed instrumental pieces.
Original songs copyrighted to H Craig. Intellectual property owned by H and I Craig.
Helena is CRB checked (enhanced) and is fully insured with a 5 million pound public liability insurance.