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Music - Experience is instrumental

What it's all about

Everybody seems to have a horror story about their music teacher. Being made to stand behind a pillar at concerts to save the school embarrassment; auditioning for the choir in front of the class while the teacher dishes out sarcastic comments.

Music should never be something which is done to young people. It needs to be something which inspires and is experienced, writes Anthony Anderson.

Practical music-making is the vehicle for musical understanding. It gives ideas legs and turns on lights of learning. Find a way to light the blue touchpaper of inspiration and you will feel the draught as students rush to get to their instruments and have a go.

This is to understand music from the inside out. The musical experience is the starting point. So why not let young people discover what sonata form means using rock instruments? Why not encourage them to find out what songwriting means with guitar in hand?

If music is a language, it needs to be spoken, not described. Combining focused listening, guided performance and centred composition are foundational learning models in the music classroom; using music-making as a reward is not.

Music has the power to unlock doors, to challenge and bring out the very best. It builds milestones of achievement and creates confidence. Surely all that is good and at the very heart of the best learning.

What else?

Anthony Anderson suggests inspiring ways to get students thinking about expressionist music.

Have a look at the Keith Swanwick classic Teaching Music Musically (Routledge, 1999) for more thinking on the subject.

Bring some excitement into the music classroom with HayleyMusic's rhythm and rap lesson.

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