Gloucestershire Music’s new model for whole class ensemble teaching through mixed instruments
This blog is part 2 of a series of case studies about the work of hub partners in reaching more young people with music in Gloucestershire. Case studies are taken from our most recent annual report so some programmes will have ended, but they are representative of the work of the hub that is ongoing.
This year saw the trial of a different way of delivering Gloucestershire Music ’s weekly whole class ensemble/instrumental teaching (WCET) programme.
Historically in Gloucestershire, schools have tended to buy in whole class tuition on one instrument for one or two classes, for 10 weeks.
However, at Castle Hill Primary in Brockworth, all 90 year 4, 5 and 6 pupils have been able to take part in 20 weeks of mixed brass (baritone horn, trumpet/cornet, trombone) and clarinet, followed by another 10 weeks of more focused, smaller-group lessons on a chosen instrument.
During the initial two terms of weekly 45-minute WCET sessions, each class of pupils learned the key building blocks of music, notation and instrumental technique. A performance at the end of the 10 weeks provided a chance to celebrate and showcase their skills, and then each child who wanted to continue, picked an instrument to learn for the next 10 weeks in smaller groups during the Summer term.
Sue Broadhurst, Headteacher, said:
“The children were really excited about learning a new instrument. It enabled every child to be involved, and when they played in a concert at the end of the 10 weeks it was clear how much their confidence had grown. One boy was overheard telling his friend about the time he played for a jazz band.”
This final 10 weeks allowed for more detailed learning in 20-30- minute lessons in smaller groups of around 10 pupils. This is something that parents would usually pay for, but which many may be cautious about, in case their child doesn’ttake to the instrument.
Sue continued: “The next term, the children were able to demonstrate more resilience to cope with more difficult pieces. And by learning individual instruments in practice sessions and then joining to form an orchestra, the children grew their responsibility to practice andcontribute.”
Hopefully, having been given this chance to demonstrate their skills and interests, they will continue with paid-for lessons in or out of school 12 and join one of Gloucestershire Music’s music centres to support their progress. FAME academy, for example, which takes place in the centres, is open to students who have knowledge of just the first few notes on their instrument.
Following the success of this trial, the school plans to enter these 90 pupils into the Music for Youth Regional Festival held at Cheltenham Town Hall in March. Most importantly, it has committed to continue for the full 30 weeks of the academic year 2017-18, with an option to put in place small group tuition from Gloucestershire Music for those students who show a further interest. Several more schools in Gloucestershire are now buying in tuition for more than one class or in some cases whole key stages.
“We are now looking forward to taking part in our first inter-schools event”, says Sue. “They have the support of their classmates who now understand that without practice and determination, you can’t improve. One child has unexpectedly shown real talent which has been recognised by her classmates. I was proud to tell her parents of her success, and this opportunity has made them think about lessons at secondary school, whereas before, this wouldn’t have been a consideration.”
You can read more case studies in our Annual Report
Posted on June 21, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged #Castle Hill Primary, #Cheltenham Town Hall, Gloucesterhire Music Service, Gloucestershire county music groups, learning music, music for youth, musical engagement, whole class tuition. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.