Music - Buskers at break-time

18th January 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

A satisfying click echoes around the school foyer as the leads snap into their sockets on the PA system. A chord sounds on the electro-acoustic guitar, the microphone is on and the speakers buzz into life. The first notes of the student musician's song ring out. Welcome to Break-time Buskers.

Giving pupils a chance to perform in an informal setting can bring a great musical atmosphere to a school. It allows them to share musical expression and takes the walls off the music department. It enriches the learning environment and transforms a break-time, writes Anthony Anderson.

Break-time busking can be the final destination in a journey of songwriting. So why not help pupils to find their voices by demonstrating ways to develop ideas in one-to-one music tutorials?

Ask pupils to play whatever they can, even just a fragment. Ask what they want to achieve or communicate? Suggest possible directions, demonstrating with whatever instrument is to hand. Make music and show them ways to voice a chord, extend and develop a melody, create variety and contrast in a harmonic setting, build texture.

If they are struggling, lead the class in a songwriting exercise. Use simple chords for an introduction and first verse and ask pupils to devise lyrics you can set to music - something quick, effective, memorable.

Play possible choruses, but ask them to make the final choice. Then ask the group to design the song structure and perform it to the class, with plenty of expression.

What else?

Help pupils become songwriters with Helen Tierney's project. bit.lySongWritingProject

Or try QCDA_Resources' unit on writing memorable hooks and riffs. bit.lyHooksAndRiffs.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now