How one Ribble Valley singing teacher's company improves the lives of the terminally ill

Faye Bailey
Faye Bailey
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A mum-of-one from the Ribble Valley has spoken to Julie Magee about how music has helped her to overcome challenges in her life - including dyslexia - and go on to help others.

Now a singing teacher who helps improve the lives of terminally ill patients in hospices and help people feel more confident through singing, 36-year-old Faye Bailey says that music has been her “saving grace”.
“At school I loved music - it was my best subject, ” explains Faye, who went to Longridge High School and then Accrington and Rossendale College.
“However, when I was 17 and at college, I was diagnosed with dyslexia.
“At the time I felt my world had been crushed, however, through the support of my wonderful parents I overcame my dyslexia with my mum and my wonderful tutors in college setting a great example of how I could use my dyslexia in a positive way.”
Originally gaining a job at her father Gary Bailey’s Health Rack store in Bolton, Faye always wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a singing teacher.
She says: “Every day I used to park my car out of town in Bolton behind a music school. I used to walk past this music school wishing and longing it was me that was running a business like that rather than being a manager of a retail business.”
But it took Faye’s circumstances to change at home meaning that she had to find another form of income to give her the push that she needed and she subsequently introduced herself to the director of the music school.
She says: “I introduced myself to her and explained that I worked in a shop at the moment, but that prior to working as a retail manager, I had studied music for six years. I explained that whilst studying, I used to teach singing - singing in pubs, clubs and at weddings etc and, once I had qualified in music, I went to New York for three months teaching music through camp America.
“After that I worked as an extra in TV dramas like Coronation Street and Emmerdale.”
Interested to know how Faye had ended up working in retail after living a life style like that, she explained how she had needed a regular income after coming back home from America. Faye also had to help out financially at home after her mum, Madonna, fell seriously ill after an operation.
For five years Faye put her singing and music on hold, but after gaining training and help from the director of the music school, she finally realised her dream of becoming a singing teacher in 2009.
She says: “I worked as a retail manager during the day and taught singing in the evening. I did this for two years until, one day, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own singing business in the Ribble Valley.”
Faye, who lives in Wilpshire, on the Ribble Valley border, started off teaching two students, until she was one day approached by someone who asked if she would set up a singing for fun group in Mellor.
She adds: “I had never taught a choir before. I had been part of many choirs but never taught one. However, I did my home work and took on the challenge, never looking back.”
On the back of the success of the Mellor group, Faye opened another two singing for fun choirs in Ribchester and Edgworth.
“From here I identified a gap in the market for singing for fun’ at hen parties and other special occasions.
“My aim for these lessons is to take away the stigma of traditional’ choirs and make people feel confident when they sing.
“I try to encourage people in the singing group to arrange dinner parties and other activities so that those who are single or don’t have much of a social life can feel connected in a community.”
Last year, Faye also set up a non-profit community interest company with her mum, a therapist and life coach who also lives in Wilpshire, called The Music and Well Being Project.
Through this, the mother and daughter team, along with three other directors, offer music and well-being to patients who are terminally ill at East Lancs Hospice and residential homes, compiling music memorabilia CDs.
“I also go into residential homes doing singing and reminiscing with the patients, ” says Faye.
“The non-profit community interest company has only been running a year and we have had such positive feedback from all the work we have been doing with the patients.”
Faye, who has a one-year-old daughter called Sofia, has been inspired since her daughter’s birth to also develop something for pregnant women and their babies and toddlers.
She explains: “My daughter has been listening to music from the first day she grew in my womb. I feel music has played a very vital part in her development and I would like to help introduce this to other mothers.”
And Faye is convinced that listening to music has helped with Sofia’s development.
She adds: “My daughter loves reading, she has her own library card as she loves her books so much. She also started walking at 11 months and interacts really well with other children at play groups.
“From my experience I would definitely encourage other mums to join a choir while they are pregnant, even if they feel they can’t sing. Singing helps release endorphins which gives you the feel good factor which is a very positive thing to give to yourself and your growing child.”
In the long term, Faye hopes to start working with mothers and babies/toddlers, but until her daughter is a little older this plan is on hold.
Faye’s regular singing for fun classes are currently held every Tuesday night at 7pm until 8.30pm at Mellor Village Hall, Mellor Lane, Mellor. They are also held at Ribchester Social Club every Monday night at 7pm until 8pm.
Faye is staging a fundraiser for The Music and Well Being Project on Friday, June 7, at 7.30pm, during which Faye’s choir and students will be singing. It is being held at Ribchester Sports and Social Club, Church Street, Ribchester, PR3 3YE, with people welcome to go along and ask Faye questions.
For more details about Faye’s Singing for Fun events visit www.fayebaileysinging.co.uk

Faye with her daughter Sofia

Faye with her daughter Sofia

Faye Bailey leading singing sessions

Faye Bailey leading singing sessions