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Posted on: 4 November, 2020

“What does it mean to be musical?” – The MusicPlus Approach

We’re passionate about investing in our teachers at Kent Music.

That’s why we’ve been so excited to be working with them on our new Virtual Learning Environment, Bridge. This new virtual CPD (Continuing Professional Development) resource, spearheaded by our brilliant CPD Manager Liv Edwards, has provided our staff with an invaluable opportunity to engage with learning virtually.  

Since launching in early autumn 2020our teachers have been working hard at various courses on the platform, but particularly our MusicPlus teachers. MusicPlus is Kent’s provision towards whole class music education for Key Stage 2 pupils, providing instrumental tuition and musical instruments for whole classes throughout the county.  

While whole class learning hasn’t been possible this term, we’ve focused on providing our MusicPlus teachers with high quality CPD courses. This term, we’ve given our staff the opportunity to share best practice and discuss themes around music education.  

 So far, we’ve gone back to basics, discussing the fundamentals of music and creativity. With such a diverse group of highly trained musicians and educators, it’s been fascinating to hear their responses, and see how our teachers themselves learn! 

We’ve collected some of the best responses to our impetus questions from the MusicPlus courses. We hope they’ll get you talking, debating, discussing, and (of course) singing and playing, just like we did! 

We love the variety of responses, and each of them as valid as the other! 

Musicality is different for everyone, but with a combination of hard work, passion, practise, and a good teacher, however you approach it you’ll make beautiful music.

What does it mean to ‘be musical’?

“Someone who is a communicator (with a desire to tell a story /paint a picture in sound)” 
 
“Someone who has emotional empathy : my teacher said to me (re a Brahms sonata mvt) “it’s no good, you’ll never be able to play this until you’ve had your heart broken at least  
three times!”” 
 
“Making sure the basics are understood. A simple skill of gaining a sense of rhythm and pulse can help in many other aspects. Music is highly linked to Maths and Languages, as well as in other creative arts. Although they may seem small, these small ideas could help a young child understand more in the classroom. I find this in SEND students especially.” 
 
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture…” 
 
“I wrote a lot of key words including practice, organisation, control, skill and performance but the three words I chose…are Fun, Creativity and Inclusivity.” 

How can you teach beginners’ music in a creative way?

“… in teaching in primary schools we are sitting on a goldmine of creativity and we only have to tap into our pupil’s ideas.

I think that beginner learning is the easiest place to start with creative teaching, when the children are uninhibited with their imaginations. They often pipe up with new ideas, which I add to my repertoire of teaching skills.”

“I think what limits my creative teaching is falling into the trap of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. I could easily use the same or very similar lesson plans for each of my…lessons where they are all learning at the same pace and on the same instrument, sometimes even on different instruments as guitar and ukulele are similar in some aspects.

I need to remember to constantly adapt my teaching from where I have learnt something new and keep current. An easy way to do this is using pop songs that are in the charts, which can easily relate to the child.”

“There are always different ways to get to your objective , and sometimes during the course of a lesson , a new objective , often far more stimulating for all concerned than the original one presents its self , enriching all the participants , including the teacher.”

“For work on learning an instrument, I give the children a choice in the direction the lesson may go in because over a few weeks, the outcome is achieved regardless.

When re-iterating learned technique/skills/knowledge children come up with their own ideas each week, and the good ones are used in subsequent lessons. This personalises their learning and gives a sense of ownership for them, promoting confidence and enthusiasm.”

We’re proud of all our teachers and the hard work and dedication they bring to every lesson, whether it’s one-on-one or whole class, in-person or online.   

If you’re not already signed up, then you can find out more about lessons with Kent Music at: https://www.kent-music.com/music-lessons/