Miss – what are we learning today?

Chop chop choppity chop. Chop off the bottom and chop off the top. What we have left, we will put in the pot. Chop chop – so what have we got? A fun rhyme which teaches about food and explores different pulses and tempos. Another day in the Sing Education classroom. 

Teachers

What to expect in the classroom?

First and foremost, classroom teachers can expect to join a primary school that is already passionate about music. Sing Education works closely with headteachers and senior curriculum leaders who are really passionate about bringing music to their school – or about improving an existing music programme.  In addition, all our schools have made the important commitment to deploy full-service, specialist music provision to help boost music in their school. This factor sets them apart from more than 90% of their peer institutions.

In terms of the teaching itself – all of our lessons are singing-led. We’ve always had singing at the core of what we do. We’re called Sing Education because singing and musicianship are at the heart of every single lesson, enabling children to develop a deeply personal understanding of music. We design our lessons so that they are made up of a lot of activities rather than long stretches of time focused on a single objective or learning outcome.. Lessons always include active music making through the use of singing games, percussion, rhymes, rhythm activities and glockenspiel. We incorporate folk based material as well – meaning that we celebrate diverse music traditions and teach rhythms and melodies that have been passed down from generation to generation, from across the world

Five KS1 primary pupils, standing, waving a blue, pink, orange, black, yellow scarves in the air, smiling.
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In a Sing Education lesson, children are learning in a variety of ways. For example, we might use PowerPoint, we might use a whiteboard or even point out key concepts from one of the colourful music posters we’ve dotted around the classroom. We’ll do whatever it takes to communicate and reiterate that day’s or week’s learning objective. Whether pulsing to the percussive rhythm of the voice, the glockenspiel, the drum or a pair of maracas, lessons are purposefully multisensory. We introduce rhythm flash cards, balls, bean bags, whatever supports the learning – to convey key concepts and theory.

In terms of our methodology, we draw on the Kodály Approach. Kodály was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, linguist, and philosopher.. During his career, he taught at a really high level while at the Liszt Conservatoire yet found that many students lacked a deep understanding of music. He wanted to understand what was missing in their music education, so he traveled around Europe looking for the best teaching techniques. 

The result? Kodály developed what’s now known as the Kodály Approach which was so groundbreaking that in 2016, the method was inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. At Sing Education we draw heavily on this approach. In addition to this approach, every lesson is part of a wider Scheme of Work that we’ve written uniquely for the classroom. So the lesson might be part of a theme such as “Music Around the World” or it might be part of a theme such as “Exploring Classical Music.” But whatever the thematic underpinning, we still accomplish the delivery through singing, games and active music making.

about the author

In her role, Alice focuses on training, recruitment and teaching and learning. She develops and refines the way that we teach as an organization. Alice is responsible for the teaching style, lesson resources and how we train Sing Education teachers to deliver these. She is also instrumental in working with current school partners, covering music strategy, teaching administration, timetabling and delivery quality.

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