More Norfolk pupils take to music during lockdown
- Credit: Ian Burt
Lockdown has seen more schoolchildren take up musical instruments, says the head of music at a Norfolk academies trust.
The West Norfolk Academies Trust, which manages 11 primary and secondary schools, across the region now has 62 pupils playing orchestral instruments.
“I never dreamed the numbers would be so high,” said Rob Galliard, the trust’s director of primary music.
“I expected that of the original cohort, around 20, would still be playing, as I thought there would be a big drop-off during school closures, so it’s wonderful to see so much sustained interest.”
All primary school children are given a chance to explore instruments and then teachers identify those with most potential and encourage them further.
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“Children automatically gravitate towards things like flutes, trumpets and saxophones but we’ve managed to get some of them to take up less played but equally valuable instruments like bassoons, tubas and oboes,” added Mr Galliard.
Andy Johnson, the trust’s executive head teacher, said: “The arts are a fundamental part of our educational philosophy, and long-term, the vision is that we have high quality extra-curricular music taught in every one of our schools.
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“Children who are involved in extra-curricular activities are happier, and the skill and discipline of learning an instrument helps them academically.”
Mr Galliard, who spent many years as head of music at Springwood High in King’s Lynn, said it had played a big role in the reputation the school had earned.
“Public performances of our concert band led to the parents of musical children in the area seeking out our school, and helped us get specialist arts status in 2000,” he said. “I think it’s also partly responsible for the school being so heavily oversubscribed these days.”
At a time when so many social bonds are broken, music is something that can bring people together, even if it means from a distance, rather than playing personally.
When more normal times do return, music is something that Mr Johnson believes can strengthen bonds across the trust’s schools.