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Primary school teachers and future music leaders help create new generation of classical and jazz fans with Cheltenham Festivals

This blog is part 6 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.

“The children now listen to classical music and jazz with more focus and purpose; they enjoy music much more and can concentrate for longer because they are listening in a different way. They are also developing the language and confidence to talk about it.” Teacher, Linden Primary.

Musicate is Cheltenham Festivals’ flagship music ducation programme. It aims to:

  •  inspire children to love and critically engage with music
  •  develop the confidence and
  • communication skills of early- career musicians through bespoke training programmes
  •  equip primary teachers and musicians with creative approaches to music education.

In its first year, 2016/17 it involved 12 teachers and 360 pupils from six Gloucestershire primary schools, six musicians from Birmingham Conservatoire and two professional musicians. Many hundreds more pupils and their teachers also benefited indirectly from activity in their school.

Following are two stories giving the experiences of a teacher and a conservatoire student.

Nicky finds new confidence to teach music in her school

Nicky is a class teacher at St Thomas More Catholic Primary. Like many ‘music non-specialist’teachers, she lacked confidence in her ability to teach music, and believed her skills to be very limited. As the Musicate programme progressed, she developed her skillset and was able to plan and team-teach confidently with Musicate’s Ben, one of the conservatoire musicians who the school had been paired with, and the music subject lead in school. She co-delivered a confident presentation at the Sharing Day, and played an equal role in producing her school’s contribution to the Showcase Concert.

She said: “My confidence to teach music, and my confidence generally, has grown so much. After the first CPD day, I was so nervous but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I have never seen a particular child in my class so engaged; he has very severe autism but has connected with Ben and Will and the live music. It’s affected them all (and me and other staff) in so many different ways, so thank you so much to you and the whole Musicate team. Looking forward to working with you all again in the future.”

Nick learns how to share his musical skills with children

Nick’s skills and confidence developed in leaps and bounds through his pairing with Linden Primary school, something his tutors at Birmingham Conservatoire also noticed and commented on.

He built a strong relationship with teachers and pupils at his school, and made a real difference to the pupils.

“Musicate has offered plenty ofopportunity to develop and work on approaches,” said Nick. “ I’m better at enabling children to express theirthoughts in greater detail.”

In collaboration with another Musicate musician, he planned and presented a fun and engaging school concert for the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, attended by more than 600 pupils and teachers from 13 primaries.

One teacher from Calton Primary School commented: “The concert was child-friendly; lots of audience participation; interesting; informative; ALL the children absolutely loved it – they didn’t really know much about jazz before but can now discuss aspects with confidence.”

Nick also secured an internship at Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and after Musicate successfully applied for a role as Learning Trainee with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He said: “I wouldn’t have come anywhere close to it without Musicate. I can’t put into words how much I’ve got out of it – it has truly been amazing, the perfect launchpad into so many other realms of success in life and work.”

You can read more case studies in our Annual Report


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