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Championing Music in Primary Education: Strategies for Success

Music is an essential part of a well-rounded education. It can enhance learning in numerous ways, from improving cognitive function and memory to promoting emotional development and creativity. However, despite its many well known benefits, music education often takes a back seat to other subjects in primary schools. This is often no fault of the school itself, but can be a result of lack of funding, resources or available hours in the day! Oftentimes, primary school teachers are not music specialists and so don’t always feel confident delivering a music lesson to an entire class. Whilst schools receive a sports premium budget dedicated to PE funding, there is currently no arts premium in primary schools. So, how can music be championed in Primary Schools with so many obstacles in the way of success?

In this blog post, we'll explore strategies for championing music in primary education, and ensuring that it receives the attention and resources it deserves - and more importantly, that the pupils deserve.

1. A Strong Curriculum

The first step in championing music in primary education is to ensure that it has a strong presence in the curriculum. Music should be an integral part of the curriculum, not an afterthought or optional extra. A well-designed music curriculum should cover a range of topics, from music theory and history to performance and composition.

In addition, the curriculum should be age-appropriate and relevant to the interests and abilities of the students. A considered, differentiated approach that builds module-on-module as well as year-on-year will best serve the pupils. The New Plan for Music in UK recommends 1 hour of music per week. Whilst some schools justify this hour through singing assemblies and short cross-curricular activities that accumulate 60 mins throughout the week, it would be preferable to deliver a substantial music lesson each week, just as is commonplace with other subjects in school.

At Grooveline Music Education, our expert teachers deliver lessons of 45 to 60 mins each week, with uniquely designed modules that meet and exceed the requirements of the national curriculum. We ignite the spark of enjoying of music, which burns brightly throughout the school community.

2. Invest in Quality Teaching and Resources

Another key component to championing music in primary education is to invest in quality teaching and resources. This includes hiring well-trained music teachers who have the skills, knowledge and time to deliver a high-quality music education. A great music curriculum also requires the use of a wide range of instruments and technology which can be expensive. With well documented funding difficulties within UK primary schools, how can schools find the budget to provide a top quality music education?

The good news is that is doesn’t need to be too expensive, in fact it doesn’t need to cost much at all. At Grooveline, we offer 2 different funding suggestions for our programme of whole-class music provision.

Each school in UK is given a PPA budget. This is money given to schools to pay for cover teaching whilst the classroom teacher participates in their Planning, Preparation & Assessment time. Schools use this budget in a variety of ways. Funding a top class music education with access to expert teachers, interactive lesson plans, use of instruments and technology is a great way to utilise the time and money provided by the PPA scheme.

Another option is to raise money through our friends at We Are Heard. In partnership with Grooveline, We Are Heard organise an all-day music and recording experience which provides school with an opportunity to raise money (and the profile of music education) in their school. The money raised could be spent to further enhance the music programme at your school and engage with the services of music education specialists or consultants.

3. Encourage Student Engagement and Participation

Engagement and participation is everything. Without it, we just have a programme which is theoretically great, but doesn’t exist in reality.

Engagement and participation will be increased when students are provided with opportunities to perform, compose, and collaborate with their peers. It also means providing a range of musical experiences that cater to different interests and abilities - a differentiated approach.

Examples of ways to provide opportunities to the students at your school could include offering a variety of music clubs and ensembles, such as a choir, a rock band, or a string orchestra. Schools could also encourage students to participate in music festivals and competitions, or to organise concerts and performances. It sounds like a lot work, right? That’s because it is. But it is so worth it. Grooveline would be happy to help you and your school too!

4. Foster Cross-Curricular Connections

Music doesn't exist in a vacuum; it is connected to many other subjects and disciplines. As well as the obvious benefits to music education, there are many “hidden” benefits that are not explicitly known by the learners themselves. By fostering cross-curricular connections, schools can help students see the relevance and importance of music in their wider education.

For example, music can be used to teach concepts in math, science, history, and language arts. Students can learn about rhythm and timing by counting beats and measures, or about acoustics and sound waves by experimenting with different instruments. They can also learn about historical periods and cultural traditions through the study of music. The study of music in its social, economic and political context is called ethnomusicology.

5. Build Community Support

Finally, one of the most important strategies for championing music in primary education is to build community support - most notably the support, appreciation and encouragement from parents of the pupils. I hear from hundreds of parents every week, and one topic which comes up time and time again is that a parent feels like they can’t support their Childs education because they themselves are not musical. They can often feel overwhelmed or confused, not knowing where to start. The good news is that this is a misconception and actually parents really can do wonders for their child’s musical education even if they’re not musical themselves (and in some cases, especially if they are not musical themselves). “Heard it through the Grooveline” is a podcast series which is designed to tackle this very subject, offering top tips, advice, explanations and support to help parents best support their child’s musical education.

Community is so important to any business, organisation or school. The culture created is the responsibility of all of us and I am really proud of the community we are building at Grooveline, with so many pupils, parents and teachers enthused about music education.

Championing music in #primary education requires a multifaceted approach that includes a strong curriculum, quality teaching and resources, student engagement and participation, cross-curricular connections, and community support. By implementing these strategies, schools can provide a high-quality music education that enhances learning, promotes creativity and emotional development, and enriches the lives of their students.

If you are interested in Grooveline supporting the #music #programme at your school, please get in touch and we would be very happy to help!

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