The Jean Freedman Foundation: preserving and promoting music in schools

Jean Freedman

Jean Freedman was a long-time member of the North Camden Chorus. When she died at the end of 2018 her family wanted to find a way to honour her, and her life-long love of music.

After a career as a music teacher in primary schools, Jean had continued to give lessons in singing and piano, from her own home, to children and adults. She considered herself lucky that, as her age increased and her voice no longer carried her through demanding auditions, she was able to join and sing with the NCC.

Allan Scarlett and Mary Guillermin, Jean’s children, decided to start a foundation that combined her deep love of music and children by supporting music education.

Allan, a retired head teacher and consultant in the East Riding of Yorkshire, is acutely aware of the funding cuts that have slashed music programmes in schools. He identified two worthy projects in schools in the East Riding. As The Foundation grows, it aims to expand its work to other schools and other geographical areas.

Bringing music back to schools

The initial project for The Jean Freedman Foundation: Preserving and Promoting Music in Schools is to return classroom music to Holme-upon-Spalding-Moor Primary School.

The school had no funds for specialist music support. Using money already raised by The Foundation, a very talented and experienced music teacher already working in East Riding schools was employed to work on Friday afternoons for two terms (January 2019), at a cost of £1,440. Over sixty children in years 3 and 4 learnt to play an instrument such as the ukulele or recorder, or tuned percussion tubes known as boomwhackers. They also composed their own music and performed it at special events organised by the music teacher. The first performance to the rest of the school plus the parents was in April 2019.

The second project, at Riston Church of England Primary School, also in the East Riding of Yorkshire, has also got off to a great start. This small school of just over seventy pupils adopted a whole-school inclusive approach, with a half term intensive project combining singing and wellbeing. With the help of the Foundation they employed a specialist singing teacher who came in for seven Friday mornings and worked in pairs with the staff and all the children. The cost of this was £1,225.

Mary and Allan are sure that their mother would have been delighted if she had known that she would be remembered in this way.

Support the foundation

Donations will be gratefully accepted. If you would like to donate, please get in touch with Allan at