An LSBU-led project is helping to pioneer a new approach to
helping teachers to deliver musical education in primary school settings. Led
by Sam Clements, The Music Project is aimed at both 'musical leaders' with a
career interest in musical education and 'generalist primary teachers' with
little or no experience of music education.
Many teachers are unable to deliver an outstanding musical
education because they lack either the confidence or the skills to deliver
engaging sessions, and the LSBU team set out to develop a programme that would
change that. Through empowering the teachers with the right musical and
planning skills, it was felt that confidence levels amongst teachers could be
raised, resulting in better sessions for primary school children.
With help from a £10,000 grant from the Teaching Agency, The
Music Project was aimed at developing a two-week module for Initial Teacher
Education (ITE) students immediately following the completion of their primary
PGCE course. Its objective was to meet the training needs of participants by
addressing key priorities in music education as set in the national music plan.
Based on a project called Music Jigsaw that Sam had developed
with the Herts Music Service, the programme consisted of a mix of theoretical
and practical sessions, some of which were held at LSBU and others at our
All of the trainees spent time in schools watching musical
sessions organised by specialist teachers. The experience they gained through
observing these sessions then led to them planning and teaching sessions of
their own at the same schools.
The flexibility of the training approach meant that it was
able to cater for the two different types of students very effectively. "The
training allowed our generalist primary school teachers to develop skills and
confidence in teaching music," explains Sam, "while our music leader trainees
gained an increased understanding of the role of a music leader in school."
This was achieved through an innovative approach that saw
all trainees take part in sessions with aims such as understanding OFSTED and
music, the Music Jigsaw programme, the Kodaly method and more. Music Leaders
undertook extra sessions covering Sibelius 7 (Music ICT) and the role of the
music subject leader, to help build on their skills and develop their knowledge
After completing the programme, the participants felt that
they had gained new skills and confidence when it comes to teaching music. They
were able to teach pupils of differing musical abilities, could teach musical
notation from the basics (thanks to studying the Kodaly method), approach music
making with very young children and involve their parents, plan for progression
when teaching music, develop group songs and use practical activities to teach
trickier musical elements.
The newly qualified teachers reported an overall increase in
their confidence to teach music to pupils, even among those who had little or
no experience and seriously lacked confidence at the outset. The repeated
practical sessions were cited as particularly helpful, and having exercises,
songs and routines committed to memory was also seen as helpful by many
participants.Perhaps the final word on the project's success
should go to Andrej Ebringer, one of the generalist primary teachers who
undertook the training. He believes it has had a big impact on his confidence.
"I teach Year 6 and the children were practising the same Christmas songs for
an assembly choir every music lesson," he explains. "I once covered for him –
we literally just sang the same songs but I would not have had the confidence
to sing out loud with the children before taking part in The Music Project."