Count the beat with Bach

Tes Editorial

Having used the weather to turn people on to numeracy, adult educators are now lining up music.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) will take centre stage tomorrow (Saturday) at a conference in Glasgow dedicated to boosting learners' reading, writing and numeracy skills. Part of the Aye, Write festival, the event will showcase work by adult learners in Glasgow.

Karen McIver, head of music at the RSNO, said: "The enjoyment of making music using very simple guidelines reveals not only the inner workings of maths but can elevate a lesson into an artistic event. We have devised a system of working with mathematical structures through sound patterns to reveal the simplicity and complexity of a core subject often rejected by students. We take counting off the page and convert mathematics into fun.

"After a one-hour session with three RSNO musicians, participants are ready to play and contribute their own rhythm structures to music we play. From Bach to the Beatles, two hours later we have a performance not of jamming along but a real understanding of what makes music - and maths - just so enjoyable."

The conference will also feature learners delivering workshops to their peers.

Lillias Noble, head of Learning Connections at Communities Scotland, which is organising the event with Glasgow's Learning, described it as "a celebration of the diversity of opportunities available to many people in Scotland to develop reading, writing and numeracy skills".

Gill Bastock, Learndirect Scotland's champion learner of 2004, will share her experiences of how she overcame impaired communication skills after surgery went wrong. "I love writing plays and, when I have time, I write some poetry," she says. "I still have problems. I struggle with my communication at times but I am no longer frightened of the written word, in fact just the opposite."

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