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Umbrella School of Music unfurls hidden talents

Umbrella School of Music in Forestville hosts music tuition classes and fortnightly karaoke events for children and adults, including those with special needs or disability. Manly Observer attended a fun singalong session with the exultant participants where we met hostess and founder Ingrid Bass.

Ingrid told Manly Observer, “since its inception in September 2021, Umbrella School of Music has primarily offered one-on-one tuition or small group tuition (2-3) for children and adults with and without disability. It’s an inclusive school, open to everyone.

“We use singing, music and movement to improve people’s lives, bringing them joy and confidence whilst helping them achieve their goals, needs and desires…

“We run events/workshops like our Krazy Karaoke Blasts and hope in January to offer some school holiday programs. We service the Northern Beaches and North Shore and will run workshops/events ‘in-house’ at an organisation too.”

Kyle enjoying an Umbrella School of Music karaoke session. Photo: Alec Smart

Arriving at Ingrid’s Forestville home where she holds the twice-monthly karaoke parties, was, for this reporter, a bit like the opening scenes of celebrated cult film Rocky Horror Picture Show, when the unsuspecting visitors encounter something beyond their expectations.

There was a similar zaniness to the event, with moments of daftness and glorious cacophony in between the structured singing sessions.

At times I wondered how Ingrid maintained her sanity whilst ensuring everything ran harmoniously, but therein lies her professionalism and skills as a facilitator.

I only intended to make a quick visit to take a few photos but stayed for four hours over two sessions.

Not the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but a similar zaniness. Screenshot from the movie.

Session confessions

The Umbrella School of Music hosts a variety of sessions and programs. Ingrid explained what each entail:

KARAOKE sessions are in-house sessions held in my lounge with large TV for the sing-a-long set, and an iPad and microphones for the karaoke set where each singer will get their moment to shine performing two songs! Their parents/carers are welcome to stay and watch but usually end up singing, clapping and cheering along each and every singer. It’s a great vibe, full of fun and mutual support, applauding all Singers and building their confidence in the process!

GROOVE & MOVE are programs that I use in my private lessons where we listen, move and dance to the student’s favourite new music or songs, expressing themselves and telling a story while using their body, props, costumes or instruments.

This suits those who are non-verbal as well as those who love to dance and move for enjoyment, physical activity and develop gross motor skills [skills that require whole body movement]. We may learn simple dance routines as I am not a choreographer and I like to take their ideas where possible too.

Conor, Madeleine and Thomas singing karaoke. Photos: Alec Smart except Photo of Thomas by his sister Heidi

BALANCE MY MOOD is a program to help the student understand, recognise and express their emotions, thoughts, triggers, physical reactions (e.g. racing heart) and behaviour. Then we discover ways and strategies to better express and address those feelings and needs.

LET’S COMMUNICATE focuses on teaching the student to communicate more effectively using their voice (improve vocabulary, articulation and fluency) as well as using their body language or other aids to do so. The aim is to improve their verbal, receptive, and if desired, reading and even written language too. This can all be done through songs in a fun way!

CREATE & MAKE is a program where the student can be creative and make up their own music, songs, parodies and dances using instruments, microphones and backing tracks. Then recording their creations, not necessarily through musical notation but other ways, including videos and voice memo recordings.

Umbrella karaoke sessions in Forestville for adults and children, including those with special needs. Photo: Alec Smart


Participants using NDIS funds can use Umbrella services if they are self or plan-managed.

Umbrella accept Creative Kids vouchers.

Karaoke: next sessions will take place on November 12 and 19, and December 10 (Xmas themed).

Kids 4.30-6pm

Adults 7.30-9pm

Online Expression of Interest form: https://forms.gle/qcAsz7cB2rDm6wS87

Umbrella School of Music manager, Ingrid Bass (right), hosts a fortnightly karaoke session In Forestville. Photo: Alec Smart

Umbrella School of Music