Bring music back into the school day, the Rocktopus way! T

his month, in our first feature looking at music and the performing arts in schools,

we hear from Andy Hawkings and Tom Veck of rock band for kids ‘Rocktopus’. With the ever-increasing pressure to ‘fit it all in’ it’s easy to forget what we all intrinsically know about the importance of music in our lives. From the moment we hear our mothers’ heartbeats, to the songs and rhymes from which we learn our first words, from the playground clapping and skipping games we play with our friends, to the radio-blasting car journeys we make, from the film and advert soundtracks absorbed into our subconscious, to the nights (and days!) we spend dancing to our favourite tracks, there is no doubt that music plays a rich part in our human experience. We probably don’t even notice it half of the time. Having said this, schools continue to struggle

to include music in the curriculum. It feels so much easier to integrate drawing, painting, collage and sculpture into ‘other’ subjects whilst music seems to send teachers into a spin - especially if they don’t feel ‘qualified’ enough to teach it. Andy and Tom believe that this needn’t be the

case. Between them, they have nearly 20 years of primary classroom teaching experience and during this time they managed to bring music into as many areas of the school day as possible. Although they have now both left the classroom, you can experience their passion for music in theatres, venues and schools up and down the country during their live and interactive, family friendly rock show and their cross curricular PE, music and literacy school experience, ‘Rock The Sport’. Even if teachers feel they have no musical skills,

there are ways to bring music into your daily routine and here are some of Andy and Tom’s favourites. On a basic level, music can be used to cue

specific events in the school day, such as tidy-up time (mission impossible works particularly well!), getting changed into P.E. kits (Match of the Day is a good one) and writing the date and title in books (the A-Team theme tune instils a great sense of urgency here!). Used consistently, this strategy helps to improve behaviour and reduce the need for teacher intervention. It also offers a time limit to tasks that can become arduously long. As an extension to this, Andy and Tom have used various clapping and body percussion


activities during brain breaks, and to bring peace during noisy moments. A simple call and response works well where the teacher claps the rhythm ‘TEA TEA COFFEE TEA’ and the pupils respond by clapping back the same. Another good starting point is to reflect on our own musical interests, experiences and hobbies.

November 2018

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