Going for a song;Primary;Reviews;General;Books
The confusion that has bedevilled curriculum planning over recent months has clearly unnerved some publishers. Convinced primary teachers will abandon their commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum on the whim of a passing politician, too many have diverted their attention and resources to the tyranny of the environmentally-unfriendly Big Book, leaving other subjects increasingly neglected.
Schott, though, has maintained its commitment to primary education by publishing two further books in the Targeting Music series. The first three books, for key stage 1, have already proved their worth. Infant teachers have found the unfussy format and clear advice invaluable for developing pupils' musical skills and understanding. The focus on movement to support performing, composing and listening activities has been particularly welcome, as has the advice on assessment and evaluation.
The third and fourth books build on the earlier titles. Their format is similar, including advice on how to organise performing, composing, listening and appraising activities and pointers to help teachers assess pupils' progress or enable pupils to evaluate their own work.
The accompanying CD, with music from Gabrieli to Glass, and Haydn to Hendrix, will be particularly useful to teachers who do not have the time, or possibly the knowledge, to search for suitable listening materials. The only pity is that, unlike the infant texts, which come with a CD, books 3 and 4 include no performances of the songs used in each lesson. "There's a Hole in My Bucket" and the "Skye Boat Song" might be familiar, but teachers would still find a recording useful, especially if they lack confidence in their own vocal prowess.
Perhaps the publishers will remedy this shortcoming for the next two books, for Years 5 and 6. Whatever the increase in costs, the series would still provide far better value for money than some of the more lavish publications in this field.
Aelwyn Pugh is inspector for curriculum with music for Liverpool Education Authority.