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Music - It's no use winging it

What the lesson is about

Making music, other departments seem to assume, is pretty much like plugging your iPod into the dock. You give out the instruments and the kids play, writes Anthony Anderson.

Taking it further

I've been asked to provide music for all sorts of contexts - "It would be great if we could have some music for the blah-blah evening. Nothing much - a 16-piece jazz band would be fine."

Music has the power to form and transform. It can bring unity and cultural diversity, build confidence, give a sense of achievement and is a shortcut to emotions. It should be at the heart of schools.

The reach of music can be huge and provide powerful incentives to learning. The buzz created by break-time busking, live lounge-style informal concerts or the big musical event can have a lasting impact.

And it can't be all razzle-dazzle. For every successful musical showcase there are hours of hard work and grind. So here's our manifesto. We need time to rehearse. We need space to create music. We need partnership. This transformation of expectation could make music in schools a jaw-dropping experience for everyone.

What else?

Teaching Secondary Music, edited by Jayne Price and Jonathan Savage (SAGE, 2012). The chapter on developing performing opportunities contains practical ideas and approaches.

Breaking the Mould is a downloadable PDF that forms part of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Musical Futures programme.

Extra-curricular Music in UK Schools: investigating the aims, experiences and impact of adolescent musical participation by Stephanie Pitts (2008) is useful research on the value of extra-curricular music.

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