Perfect harmony in five parts

7th July 2006 at 01:00
We at the Music Education Council are delighted with the Government's additional spending over the next two years to encourage instrumental and vocal tuition for pupils. Here I suggest five ways to make best use of the extra money:

* Establish a whole-school commitment. You need to set up a team to work together. Consider how this links to your existing music activities. It is useful if all staff are told about the programme and can comment through a staff meeting.

* Make a plan. Think about training and establish a timetable. Organise taster sessions before introducing the instruments, so pupils can make informed choices. Identify which year groups might be involved. Evidence shows most pupils will want to continue, so introducing the tuition in Years 4 or 5 means preparatory music making in Year 3.

* Identify the resources you require, including staffing and instruments.

Even if the whole class is learning the same instrument in the classroom, you may still require smaller spaces for some break-out sessions. If you offer a range of instruments to a class - eg guitarkeyboardrecorder or violinflutepercussion - you need to provide accommodation so all the teaching can take place at the same time in order to develop ensemble abilities. Take account of increased noise levels on the rest of the school. Who will be responsible for care and security of instruments?

* Verify the money available. It might all come from the music service or be shared between the school and the music service. Discuss practice arrangements and the insurance of instruments taken home. Practice books are useful for providing weekly information.

* Involve the pupils' families. Meetings or workshops with them might include live music making. Explain to them the importance of their encouragement.

Leonora Davies

Leonora Davies is chair of the Music Education Council

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