Sound of music returns to schools following remote learning

Violin teacher Elaine Sargent with a pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

Violin teacher Elaine Sargent with a pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt Photography

School halls will soon be alive with the sound of music when students forced to undertake their instrumental learning remotely get the chance to show off the progress they have made in person.

School choirs and bands have not been able to rehearse together for a year, and young people learning to play an instrument had to rely on remote lessons from their teachers.

West Norfolk Academies Trust said online music teaching, despite its limits, had benefitted youngsters. 

Woodwind teacher Eddie Seals providing tuition to pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

Woodwind teacher Eddie Seals providing tuition to pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt Photography

“Many parents have contacted the schools to say how much their children enjoyed their lessons during the latest lockdown and also appreciated an activity that does not involve a computer screen,” said Rob Galliard, director of primary music for the trust, which runs 11 primary and secondary schools.

“We think music is hugely important, which is why we encourage it so much in our schools. Pupils who are learning instrumental music were chosen by their teachers, after being assessed over the course of a term to see who had the aptitude and attitude for playing an instrument.

Guitar and brass teacher David Maddison with pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

Guitar and brass teacher David Maddison with pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt Photography

“Whether they pursue it is up to them, but we think it’s really important that they are at least given a meaningful chance to try learning and playing. 

“Without this scheme, none of the pupils would have had a chance to get involved in what is such a useful activity, acquiring a new life skill and expanding their learning horizons.”

It comes as the Department for Education announced a wide-ranging new music curriculum that will see children from Years 1 to 9 learn how to read and write music, and be introduced to beat, rhythm and pitch. 

They will also have the opportunity to study a range of music, from Bach and Tchaikovsky to Nina Simone, Elvis Presley and Little Richard.

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Individual pupils at the trust have now been able to return to in person lessons in schools with their music teachers, though social distancing measures remain in place. 

Woodwind teacher Eddie Seals providing tuition to pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

Woodwind teacher Eddie Seals providing tuition to pupil at Springwood High School in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt Photography

Mr Galliard said he hoped school musicians would soon be able to play together once again, to show their classmates and families just how much they had learned.  

“We are hoping to bring the children from all the schools together for a one-off workshop at the end of the summer term and involve them in weekly band and orchestra rehearsals from September,” he added.

Music teacher Elaine Sargent with a pupil learning violin at Springwood High School in King's Lynn.

Music teacher Elaine Sargent with a pupil learning violin at Springwood High School in King's Lynn. - Credit: Ian Burt Photography


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