Achieving a Musical Vision

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By Lindsay Thomas
on 13 November, 2016

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Case Study: Developing Music Provision

One Education Music supports schools with all aspects of music education.

This case study about Flowery Fields Primary Academy highlights how this school has engaged with the vision of the National Plan for Music Education –

“to enable children from all backgrounds and every part of England to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; to make music with others; to learn to sing; and to have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence.”

This National Plan extends to 2020 and the government have made a pledge that “over time, all pupils in primary schools who wish to, will have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.”

One Education Music seeks out innovative practice based on first-hand experience and research to support schools to develop a coherent plan for instrumental music. We believe that First Access / Whole Class Ensemble Tuition (WCET) can be delivered successfully to enhance the longer term musical vision of the school. This academic year, One Education Music has contributed to the Music Mark commissioned, national WCET Research Project, and to a Music for Youth twinning research project with Manchester Youth Music Education Hub, and the Greater Manchester Hub.

Flowery Fields is a growing three-form entry primary academy in Tameside. The headteacher is passionate about all children having the opportunity to succeed in music and has invested time and funding to provide first access and excellent progression routes. The programme at Flowery Fields is led by One Education Music specialist Ian Mitchell, and has now been running and evaluated over four years.

Alvin Fell Headteacher, Flowery Fields Primary

“The positive outcomes have been visible with nearly all children choosing to continue learning an instrument and many children making progress that exceeded expectations, including taking external ABRSM exams.”

How was First Access implemented?

First access was identified in the school action plan and built into the school policy for the development of music. It was viewed as a long-term initiative, taking into consideration what would happen to each cohort of children immediately after the first year of musical input.

All year four, five and six children have weekly music lessons - curriculum and instrumental. A high level of importance is given to musical literacy, with a focus on pitch recognition and rhythm games.

Year four children start on recorder; year five musicians work on a brass or woodwind instrument and year six musicians learn guitar, in addition to many continuing to play brass or woodwind.

Ian Mitchell Music Teacher, One Education Music

“My objectives are to provide a balanced music experience, which fits into as many other aspects of the curriculum as possible. It has always been my intention to create an environment where playing music is a pursuit which is available to all, and can and should be enjoyed on a personal and social level, and allow education/academic implications to develop from within that environment.”

What are the benefits of offering First Access?

Every child in the year has a good grounding in musical concepts and elements, in addition to basic instrumental skills on their selected instrument. This accelerates learning in the following year of tuition.

All children are aware of the commitment involved in learning a musical instrument and tend to make an informed choice about carrying on.

Regular concerts and performance opportunities are a vital part of the children’s experience, which celebrates their achievement with peers, parents and possibly the wider community.

Positive outcomes have been visible in a variety of ways

  • A visible boost in confidence for many children including several children who have not been outstandingly academic, but have shown a strong aptitude for music
  • An improvement in literacy, problem solving, maths, and other cognitive processes and academic skills are not immediately quantifiable, but are apparent in terms of the fact that children who are involved in regular musical activities, also happen to be good at other academic subjects.
  • Quantifiable ABRSM examination results - see below:

Music ABRSM Exam results – Flowery Fields 2012-2016

   
 

Recorder

Flute

Clarinet

Trumpet

Trombone

Guitar

Theory

Grade 1

2

4

2

4

4

2

2

Grade 2

1

2

1

4

4

   

Grade 3

     

2

3

   

If you would like any further information about First Access (WCET) programmes or instrumental music delivery in your school, please contact Lindsay Thomas on 0844 967 1116.

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