Music in the primary curriculum?

(64 Posts)
beautifulgirls Sun 11-Nov-12 18:11:36

Specifically DD is now in year 3 (KS2) and as far as I can make out from her they do no class music lessons, but according to her they have whole school (yr3-6) singing assembly once a week and they are told this is their music lesson. No instruments of any sort involved and according to DD (so may not be accurate) they don't have any additional lessons in other years above her either.

If the above according to DD is correct then is this within guidelines for school music provision? It seems to me to be fairly lacking really.

mecindylewis Fri 16-Nov-12 10:59:44

They pay a small fee for keyboard lessons.

lingle Wed 14-Nov-12 21:22:08

might have to make this a PM but are they an associate member or something? I thought it was inner city primaries only (six according to their website).

I very curious about In Harmony because I read the interim reports and sometimes children made comments about not being able to switch instruments, etc. which I found interesting. I don't know how much of it is going to the child and how much of it is saying "look at this wonderful world you can be a part of". Nothing wrong with either of those but the mix is always important....

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 17:36:17

It's Sistema, yes. I don't think JLW has been sighted in this part of the world. Here they are running a wind thing, a recorder thing, a string thing and a guitar thing. There's already a lot for strings in Devon though. It's string city round here.

lingle Wed 14-Nov-12 17:10:55

In Harmony is Julian Lloyd Webber's sistema england lot, no? I thought they were just doing classical string?

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 16:06:02

lingle More rock school, jazz and folk. Not interested in classical. He's had clarinet lessons for 2 years and is doing grade 4 next term. Guitar he's doing with our local In Harmony project at the moment but is going to start individual lessons in January. He plays acoustic, electric and bass.

I think his way of reading music is perfectly valid - I have to do some wired transposition exercise when playing bass recorder because my bass clef reading was never that great - but it means I'm only secure on bass, contra and sub sub - I'm totally at sea with great bass and sub because they are C instruments rather than F and I can't securely do the mental gymnastics on the fly. I'd be much better if I read like he does - but I'm too entrenched in the usual way of doing things.

Elibean Wed 14-Nov-12 15:51:11

We've had poor music provision in the past - lots of singing (from SingUp, mostly) but nothing else, once past Foundation Stage. We do have a local trust that provides subsidized instrumental lessons, but historically had poor take up.

All this is changing. Influx of middle class parents wanting their DC to have music tuition, plus increased funds in PTA, plus a new member of SLT who is very keen to increase music provision: we now have a 'music room' with loads of percussion instruments, xylophones, and keyboards. We have Trust provided subsidized music club for KS1, teaching music basics. We have recorder clubs throughout KS1 and KS2. We have subsidized instrument tuition with better take up. And a KS2 choir.

All this has changed over the course of one year....

lingle Wed 14-Nov-12 14:31:51

now that is really fascinating Mordion.

Interesting about the soundtrack - lots of children for whom concentration is a challenge can concentrate when playing a rock song esp. strumming or above all drumming - the circling nature of the sounds seem to call for a different non-linear way of engaging.

Fascinating about seeing the hands being a bad thing for some people - I'd never have thought of that.

And your DS needing to blank out the note names - very interesting. I have read music in this way when playing viola (it has a wierd clef so you simply have to map the blob straight to a particular string+finger). I found it liberating - it seemed a superior way to read in fact! I've tried to read that way ever since and my previously awful sight-reading has got much better.

what style of guitar does your son play? classical?

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 10:56:28

lingle definitely don't assume they won't be able to play. DD1 and I are both severely dyspraxic (DD 2 less so). For many (though not all) dyspraxics music 'turns off' the dyspraxia in some respects. For example, adding a soundtrack to tasks which are horrendous for a dyspraxic (eg walking across a room without falling over, walking through a door without slamming into the doorframe (one of DD1's nicknames at primary school was unicorn head sad ), running either on a treadmill or on a track, using gym equipment, cleaning your teeth without smashing your gums or knocking out a tooth (that was a BAD day), eating food with a fork without stabbing yourself on the face or the gums...the list goes on) can make them doable. Seriously. There has been some research on this, I;m told by our SENCO. I don't know anything more about it than that it's happened though - but I see the truth of it in myself and DD1 all the time.

What you do need to consider though is - coping with music stands and music, dropping, spatial awareness issues that might end up with an instrument being smashed against a stand or a door or sat on, that sort of thing; meltdown (when someone gets a bit stressy they can go to pieces and its just drop-aggeddon). And DD1 certainly has issues with scales but I never did so that might be her, rather than dyspraxia. The biggest thing to be concerned about is meltdown though because that's horrible and also embarrassing. Most dyspraxics bloody HATE meltdown. There are days when it seems like things are just jumping off shelves or pegs or desks as we walk by, just to taunt us. So, if the kid looks like they are getting stressed, calm the situation down.

DS is dyslexic, he doesn't have a problem reading music (he plays clarinet) but he cannot tell you what a note is called when he reads it, or if you ask him to play E on his clarinet (or whatever) then he has no idea which one that is. He just can't remember the names. But if he sees a stave and sees the notes he can play them. he just doesn't do the inbetween steps of thinking 'thats a C, how do I finger C'. Again, this makes scales very difficult. But he is still doing very well, and he plays brilliantly (also guitar).

MordionAgenos Wed 14-Nov-12 10:45:27

lingle I'm dyspraxic - as are both my DDs - and we don't have a problem with rhythm at all. We all play wind instruments, which have always been fine too in the sense of the hand eye thing - because you can't see your hands, so, no issues. More of an issue with holding something for a long while (muscle tone, being 'droppers') and coping with music stands, turning music (I once caused a whole row of music stands to collapse one after the other. During a concert. As an adult (it was two years ago blush ). DD1 intends to do music at college and then become a musician and teacher - she has found the piano way harder than her various wind instruments and indeed harder than the guitar. This is because you can sort of see your hands. The temptation to look is so strong and then you do....calamity. grin She's playing at grade 6 level now though (hasn't taken the exam yet, might not) which is all she needs for uni/conservatoire (it's her 4th study).

lingle Wed 14-Nov-12 10:26:59

so the take-home message if I'm doing one to one with a child with dyspraxia is "assume nothing about this particular child either way"?

all sounds very familiar from borderline-asd world.....

I do have serious issues with a very kinetic highly talented drummer... this week I'll be bringing in a cushion for him to drum on when it isn't his turn... he can't keep still and there is something beyond (or at least as well as) naughtiness going on.....

beautifulgirls Tue 13-Nov-12 22:46:34

Gosh, only just come back to the thread - thank you for all the posts, especially limelight - we are in Kent. I am not aware of any links out of school for music that they have. At the start of term we were told a woodwind teacher would be doing a demo for the children and then the parents with an option for some children to have private lessons in school. Unfortunately it didn't happen for unknown reasons and was never rescheduled, so no lessons on any instruments in school. The only additional stuff they do will be for the Christmas and end of year shows which will be singing stuff.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 13-Nov-12 22:46:00

Mrz.

You have my sympathy, so many laugh at dispraxic tendancies and its not always so funny. I can't be trusted with a shopping trolley and don't drive. I was given a different classroom during an Ofsted inspection (FE, not primary). I fell over so many chairs and eventually slid under a table. My line manager not realising my problems suspended me as he thought i'd been in the pub during lunch time. It was all sorted, but very humiliating. sad

Musically, with dyspraxia and dyslexia I experienced no problems and could read music well before school. Reading books however, was a lot different. grin

The music at dds school was practically non existant until y4 when you could join a half hearted choir and in y5 play an instrument for one year, it had to be brass.
She asked to become H.ed to enable her to study and practice music. Not a step I suggest others take, its just her goals, drive, and ambition come from music and it is a shame if they really want to do it and there aren't the resources through school.

Tgger Tue 13-Nov-12 22:38:54

Go cellos!

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 22:28:46

we've been given two, we rented two from the LEA and two are rented by parents.

Of course, it comes from working part-time with the kids being a bit older - you have that leisure time to find out about local charities/find out where the disbanded orchestras are and network/hobnob.... you know how it is.

cellos are great though - just open string pizzicato really turns stuff into music in a way that similar violin work doesn't. And there is something magical about them that appeals to many children.

Tgger Tue 13-Nov-12 22:02:02

It sounds fab lingle. You are very lucky to have cellos available- how did you get those? I have to get parents to buy/hire for my pupils and it ain't cheap shock.

alcofrolic Tue 13-Nov-12 19:02:19

lingle that sounds great - thanks for explaining.

I think there should be a music specialist in every school - it's a subject that needs understanding to teach properly. Anyone can pick up 'Musical Express' and follow a lesson plan, but very few people know how to teach singing, etc, properly. (I am in awe of people who can.)

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:43:44

on top of that I have problems with tasks that require using both hands, no dominant hand , difficulty distinguishing sounds from background noise and copying sounds.

mrz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:21:45

ReallyTired from the Dyspraxia Foundation

Symptoms

People who have dyspraxia often find the routine tasks of daily life such as driving, household chores, cooking and grooming difficult. They can also find coping at work is hard. People with dyspraxia usually have a combination of problems, including:
Gross motor co-ordination skills (large movements):

Poor balance. Difficulty in riding a bicycle, going up and down hills
Poor posture and fatigue. Difficulty in standing for a long time as a result of weak muscle tone. Floppy, unstable round the joints. Some people with dyspraxia may have flat feet
Poor integration of the two sides of the body. Difficulty with some sports involving jumping and cycling
Poor hand-eye co-ordination. Difficulty with team sports especially those which involve catching a ball and batting. Difficulties with driving a car
Lack of rhythm when dancing, doing aerobics
Clumsy gait and movement. Difficulty changing direction, stopping and starting actions
Exaggerated 'accessory movements' such as flapping arms when running
Tendency to fall, trip, bump into things and people

The statements in bold describe me ... I even fell during my dyspraxia therapy training hmm

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 17:15:48

No, there's no specialist music school near us.

Namechangeforapropertythread Tue 13-Nov-12 17:12:01

In a state school?!

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 15:15:53

My Y3 DS has music lessons on alternate weeks throughout the year and all children in the school learn to play the recorder for 2 years.

They also have a 'singing session' for Y3-Y6 once a week with extra practice for Christmas & end of year shows.

The senior school we're looking at (for him and older DD) has 2 music lessons a week and all children learn guitar & keyboard in lessons smile

ReallyTired Tue 13-Nov-12 14:51:08

Sorry I mean that my brother has no problem with rhythmn, no reading. Being able to tap out a beat doesn't require that strong coordination.

ReallyTired Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:21

My brother is very dyspraxic and he has no problem with reading. He is a good violinist, but found learning to read music hard. He is very good at playing by ear.

I think that having a good sense of rhythm is auditory perception rather than coordination. I agree that reading music should not be introduced too early. Its boring learning music theory.

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 11:47:07

Mrz sorry for the ignorant question - how does dyspraxia affect rhythm? Is it to do with not being able to tap out a beat?

lingle Tue 13-Nov-12 11:43:28

to answer the question alcofrolic, we sometimes use notation, we sometimes don't. If we do use notation, we email a free-to-download copy to parents so they can hear it on their computers at home (www.muscore.org - there is no need to spend money on Sibelius).

there is nothing free-for-all though about the pieces where we don't use notation. these just key into things children can do that you can't write down. Every single child instantly played the riff of Smoke on the Water with the rhythm entirely correct the very first time we attempted it - it was somehow built into their brain/a part of our invisible culture in this country. But only the ones whose parents actually looked at the youtube videos demonstrating the pentatonic scale figured out how to play a solo over that riff.

I feel strongly that children shouldn't always be stuck with a score, that a score should just be a starting point. I wrote out "Three Little Birds" ("Don't worry about a thing") and some of the children put their hands up to say "can I play the "do do do dooo do dodo"? and if they could figure out the notes I said yes - and suddenly you're not just playing something, you're making music and the children are making musical judgments.

Sometimes though it's just a cacophony and complete disaster but I am an optimist so tend not to post on mumsnet after those rehearsals.

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