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FEATURE: MUSIC AND THE PERFORMING ARTS


We may have a favourite band or style of music which we can introduce to our pupils. They will most probably share their own likes and dislikes in response, and thus a dialogue about music begins. Some children live in homes in which music plays an important part and will have more to share. Rocktopus’ album ‘Come On Lets Go’ was written to bridge the gap between the tastes of kids and adults. An interesting classroom discussion could be based around why these songs work on both levels.


instrument at some stage in our lives, from the recorder to singing in a choir. This could be a good opportunity to revisit our own learning and build on it. Both Andy and Tom learned to play music as adults - it’s never too late! Our lives before teaching are usually vast and


rich with experiences. Andy spread his love of West African music at his first teaching post in Sussex by setting up a drumming group. The school agreed to invest in a set of djembes and djun djuns, which Andy then used to share his skills with other schools in the cluster, not just with children but with the teachers too. Teachers and children sharing and exchanging skills is a powerful way to bring the arts into, what some may call, a dry curriculum. Tom had been writing songs long before he


Sometimes, all that is needed is an inspirational


experience to get our juices flowing. There’s nothing quite like an incoming visit from music professionals to help fill the gap. Not only are the children (and teachers) left with long-lasting positive memories, but the school is left with resources to be used in future lessons. Rocktopus has been providing this for schools across the country during their ‘sports premium funded’ days of song writing and movement - ‘Rock The Sport’. During a ‘Rock The Sport’ day, Andy and Tom work with the whole school, combining music, P.E. and Literacy, like never before, to create 5 unique P.E. related songs which are then professionally recorded so that they can be used time and time again as P.E. lesson warm ups or active brain breaks during a lesson. To find out more, visit: www.rocktopusmusic.com/rock-the- sport Some of us will have learned to play an


started teaching. He frequently used his song- writing skills to help deliver learning in his classroom. The children became accustomed to the steps he used and can now use those steps to create their own songs; a skill they can now bring forwards into the rest of their lives. One such song writing strategy is to change the words of an existing song melody to remember a key fact. Try singing “Length times width is area, area, area, Length plus length plus width plus width is perimeter” to the tune of one of your children’s favourite songs. During Andy’s years of teaching in Asia, he


found he was inspired to write a multitude of original songs to aid the delivery of various curriculum areas, from PSHE to maths. He found that, through using songs, the children weren’t only able to memorise facts and information, but they also helped the children to feel engaged and motivated. Music is key in helping to create a positive learning environment. Of course, we don’t all need to be songwriters to bring the benefits to our classrooms. More educational music is easily available than ever before. We are fortunate now to be living in the age of


the internet. Access to music as well as teaching resources are at our finger tips. However, some teachers feel their own lack of musical training, as well as lack of instruments, provide a huge obstacle to music-teaching. Not anymore! Andy has developed an instrument and numerical system for teaching music which utilises a school’s class set of iPads and children’s mathematics ability. With the Numbiano, if you can count from 1 - 7, you can play any song in the world! Have a go at teaching your class to play Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape Of You’: https://andyhawkings.com/numbiano/numbiano- songs-and-music/ So, what’s the one musical morsel you’ll be introducing to your pupils tomorrow?


uIf you’d like to book a ‘Sports Premium’ funded ‘Rock The Sport’ day for your school, to give your children the experience of being songwriters and rock stars, while learning and consolidating P.E. skills, send Rocktopus an email: rocktopuskids@gmail.com or go to www.rocktopusmusic.com/rock-the-sport.


November 2018


www.education-today.co.uk 27


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