Can’t stop the feeling!

Our lessons always contain active music making. They’re high energy and engaging with singing at the core. Children are making music and singing all the way through. Want to learn why and how our methodology works? Three words…Prepare, Present, Practice.

Schools

Making Music is Fun

Singing and musicianship is at the heart of all of our lessons, enabling children to develop a deep understanding of music. All of our teaching is singing-led, made up of lots of activities including singing games, folk-based material, instruments and percussion work. We also incorporate rhythm, rhymes, multisensory learning and props, drawing heavily upon the world-famous Kodály approach. But while active music-making is the goal, we also ensure each lesson sits within a broader Scheme of Work, mapping back to our Progression Framework and sitting squarely within the guidelines of the National Curriculum for Music.

So yes, our lessons build on rhymes and games with lots of singing all the way through. Pupils are first prepared to learn something which is then presented by the class leader and later practiced actively by the children themselves. As a rule of thumb, when it comes to new ideas and concepts, the method we use to engage learners is “Prepare, Present, Practice.”

For example, the child is prepared for an element by experiencing it through a game, through having fun, singing a song, playing a game, you’ve prepared something. You’ve prepared them to learn something. Then you take that element and present it to them and say, “Do you know what we are tapping? This is called the pulse. This is what we have been playing all through this song” Then the child practices it again and again through more games, through ensemble work, through singing together, through sight-reading and various other learning activities. This is to develop a deep understanding and knowledge of music, of the musical principles, so it’s not just a game for the sake of a game, it’s a game to then extract the element from it and really study that element.

At Sing Education, we draw heavily on this approach, along with other expertise drawn from the music education world and our years of practical experience of working in schools. As a result of our unique teaching requirements, we’ve invested in the development of our own classroom materials and resources so we can readily incorporate groundbreaking education methods, as well as tried and tested teaching practices, like Kodály.

Four primary pupils sitting on floor with glockenspiel in front of them, glockenspiel red, pupils smiling, green and grey uniform

What is the Kodály approach?

Kodály was an educator and composer from Hungary. As a teacher at the national conservatoire, he noticed some of his really high-level students lacked a truly deep understanding of music. They were proficient in instrumentation, voice and theory but there’s something fundamentally missing from their music education. So Kodály took it upon himself to search for the best music teaching techniques around Europe. He travelled around searching for what he felt really, really worked and he amalgamated all of these ideas into what’s now known as the Kodály approach. Primarily singing-led, it builds music-making and knowledge from the simple to the complex, so you’re always each step going up the gradient, rather than jumping in at the deep end which can often be the case with music training.

The Kodály approach uses folk-based songs, so music from around the world, music that has come from children. It’s come directly from the playground, from song circles, from our ancient (and modern) cultures. We incorporate a lot of English folk songs, as well as music from around the work, from Hawaii or the rest of the Americas, from Africa and Asia. This really helps with developing language skills as well, especially for our children with English as a second language. Learning to sing in English can help them tremendously because it uses the rhythms of the English language. The music inherently has those rhythms.

Little Steps Big Outcomes

A big focus of our approach is to make sure that children have a well-trained ear, head and hand. These things together – a well-trained ear, well-trained head and well-trained hand – create a fantastic musician with a real passion for music and a deep, visceral understanding of music. If they have a well-trained ear, for example, they have a richer understanding of pitch, of intervals. The music is in them, it’s not external to them. It’s just not a case of making music by pressing buttons on a keyboard or fingering frets on a guitar. Pupils actually can feel the music before learning to play it on the piano or another instrument.

If they have a well-trained head, that’s about the knowledge. They have a deep understanding. They really do understand music. They don’t just know a term, they really understand the term because they’ve experienced it. If they have a well-trained hand, that’s the posture, vocal or dexterity techniques that they have developed throughout their learning, building step by step from simple to complex technique. And rather than being the first thing they do – namely learning how to play an instrument – a well-trained hand is the thing that develops alongside and after having a well-trained ear and a well-trained head.

Female sitting on the floor in a circle in school hall, four primary pupils are singing using their hands.

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Articles by this Author

Extracurricular music unites the whole school community through active music-making, whilst providing children with a framework for musical progression.
We constructed our Schemes of Work into half-term units of musical study where new music concepts are intertwined with pupil’s previous musical progression.
Our music provision is uniquely developed in partnership with each individual school, with bespoke timetabling, ongoing training and full management.

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