Let me caveat this blog post before I start. I’m not an expert in pedagogy, music or otherwise. I’m an enthusiastic beginner. But from my experience and from what I have read, I do sense that music needs to fight its corner to be given importance in a school’s curriculum.
This project has demonstrated how valuable music can be as a memory aid across the curriculum, and in driving collaboration between schools. Children have been more engaged in learning times tables, and they are beginning to stick in their memories more. If my ideas come off, we will soon be putting on a concert, which will have benefits across Maths, English, Business Studies and Music at both primary and secondary level, and engaging and motivating pupils with an exciting, real-life project.
What other subject can have benefits so widely across the curriculum? What other subject can so engage and inspire almost every child in a school? What other subject can involve hundreds of people, of a wide range of ages, in such an active way?
As a management consultant working in large global organisations, I was constantly under pressure to prove the impact and benefit of my work outside my specific area and more widely across the firm and their clients. From my limited experience, I sense something familiar within arts education. The big hook which excited my secondary colleagues during our very first meeting was that music was having an impact outside the music department, more widely across the school.
Clearly there are massive cognitive and social benefits for children lucky enough to go to a school with a strong music department, but the department seems to be under unspoken pressure prove its value. What better way than by writing songs to help children with anything that requires rote learning – times tables, grammar, Kings and Queens, chemical equations…