Primary school music teachers – keep pipeline of music specialists flowing

Primary School Music Teachers: Thank You!

You won’t know Mrs. Matthews. But she’s the inspiration – and former music teacher – of one of Britain’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters and music education campaigners, Laura Mvula. 

Arts education contributes so much to pupils’ lives – with music playing a key role in language development, mental health and wellbeing, aspirations to pursue further education and ongoing social mobility. That’s why we need more of them! 

Read on to learn how Sing Education prepares the next generation of music specialists for leadership in the classroom.

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Teachers

Was it singing from age 6?

Piano from age 8?

Violin from age 11?

When did your love of music begin?

And where did it take you? 

Was it to conservatoire? The concert hall? The classroom?

Whether children begin their musical journey with string, percussion, wind, vocal or other instrumentation, it has been well-evidenced that high-quality primary music education unlocks not just musical talent but also pupil wellbeing, maths ability and a lifelong commitment to learning. 

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

 

“Learning about music and having the opportunity to play musical instruments and make music together is a vital part of a rich and rounded education.

It has also been proven that music plays a key role in brain development. This is because it helps with the nurturing of language, motor skills, emotional intelligence and collaboration skills.” GOV

And it’s not just during early years’ education where pupils reap the rewards of good music education. 

Music has also been shown to impact the lifelong educational trajectory – as well as social mobility – of students able to access well-designed curriculum, regular lessons and co-curricular performance opportunities.

“[E]xtra-curricular activities – specifically music classes and playing a wide range of sports – are important in predicting intentions to remain in education after compulsory schooling. Youth who attend music classes regularly are almost 40% more likely to aspire to pursue further education.” SMC

A vocalist passionately performs, her hand extended towards the audience as she sings into a microphone, conveying a moment of musical expression and connection. Behind her, another singer is partially visible, suggesting a shared performance or chorus. The focus on the main singer captures the intensity and emotion of live music.
A silhouette of a person is seen from behind, overseeing a live concert from a sound mixing console, with colorful stage lights illuminating musicians performing in the background. The atmosphere suggests a blend of focus and creativity, integral to delivering a high-quality live music experience.

Thank you, Mrs. Matthews - Music Teachers Make the Difference

And who do we most often have to thank for paving the way to achieving these key educational, social and economic milestones? 

Our music teachers.

“In October the Times’ chief culture writer and music critic Richard Morrison wrote about the three teachers who inspired him — and [the paper] asked [readers] to tell [them] about the men and women who nurtured [their] musical passions. [The Times was] flooded with stories about inspirational mentors.” TIM

In similar vein, the Huffington Post published an opinion piece from British singer-songwriter and ambassador for Casio’s Action in Music initiative, Laura Mvula – and here’s what she wrote:

“Art has always been a point of expression – an outlet for some with which they process, understand and portray the world around them so it is vital, especially in these times of social and political change that we allow young people access to this resource. I never imagined that I would be where I am and if not for the teachers and access to music education that I encountered along the way, I wouldn’t be. I cannot list them all but I’d like to acknowledge the teacher who first believed in me. Thank you Mrs. Matthews.” HP

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

Throughout the piece, Laura speaks poignantly about the teachers who invested time, attention and care in her music education. How they pushed her beyond her comfort zone to consider new directions of travel for her music career – including pursuing a composition degree at Birmingham Conservatoire and writing and performing her own music

Laura also laments the loss of public funding for music education, drawing attention to the dire state of affairs: “Maybe this deep and personal connection to music is why I feel so saddened to read about the decline in funding for arts and music based studies. To me it’s like looking at a lost reality because without access to music education through government and locally funded programmes and resources I would quite simply not be where I am today.” HP

Music Industry in Flux - Music Education on the Precipice

What’s been lost…

“Arts funding has seen a dramatic and damaging decline since the Tories came to power in 2010. During the Coalition government’s term (2010-15), the overall budget for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport was reduced by almost a quarter from £1.4 billion per annum to £1.1 billion.

The downward funding trend has continued since, with grant-in-aid and lottery money to the arts falling in real terms by £178 million between 2010 and 2023. Arts Council England’s (ACE) budget was trimmed by around 30% over the same period, an all-too-clear reflection of the government’s ideological drive to shrink the size of the state.” MU

What has remained…

The good news is that despite draconian funding cuts, the UK continues to produce some of the best musicians, composers, sound engineers and music educators in the world, boosting the economy by more than £6 billion annually.

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

“[This Is Music 2023] report reveals UK music export revenue in 2022 was £4 billion – a figure aided by growth in recording and music publishing, as well as the return of international touring.

The UK music industry also contributed £6.7 billion to the UK economy in 2022 in gross value added (GVA) and total employment in the music industry was 210,000.”

 

First-Class Teaching Pathway – Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

That said, tertiary music education continues to thrive in conservatoires and university programmes across the country. For example, Birmingham’s prestigious RBC has both undergraduate and graduate degree tracks focusing on Performance and Pedagogy, building on the resources of its £57 million teaching and performance estate.

“As a first-year undergraduate [students] take a Community Engagement module in which [they] learn about the wide range of music activities taking place in community and educational settings. [They] participate in a range of workshops with different interdisciplinary focuses including global traditional music, jazz, composition-based, therapeutic, voice-led, and instrument-led.” RBC

“In the second year, [students] participate in classes designed to help [them] develop as a teacher in [their] primary specialism (instrument/voice, composition or music technology). There [are] also talks from external practitioners including from local arts organisations and music education providers, connecting [them] to potential future employers and the wider music education landscape.” RBC [Lastly, RBC’s] Further Pedagogy module combines on-site lectures and workshops with lesson observation opportunities in conjunction with Services for Education Music Service. Weekly lectures and workshops cover a comprehensive range of issues in instrumental/vocal teaching to include…behaviour management, planning and assessment, differentiation, special needs, performance preparation, teacher-pupil-parent relationships, business matters and safeguarding. RBC

A spacious school hall filled with attentive children seated on the floor forms a semi-circle around two instructors, one of whom is actively engaging with the students. A projector screen displays musical notation, suggesting a lesson in progress, while various musical instruments and colorful props are scattered nearby, indicating an interactive and creative learning environment. The atmosphere is one of focused learning, with the children dressed in uniform, embodying a typical school setting.
A smiling educator with red hair, wearing a floral dress and a lanyard, actively engages with students in a classroom setting, her hands expressively gesturing as she communicates with the out-of-focus students in the foreground, creating a sense of connection and dynamic interaction in the learning environment.

Training Best-in-Class Music Educators - RSMF & Sing Education

Over the past few months, Sing Education partner, the Richard M. Shephard Music Foundation, has welcomed four students from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) into the charity’s allied schools.  

As well as participating in the Birmingham schools programme, led by the RBC team, the university students had the opportunity to gain experience in teaching whole-class music using Kodály principles and techniques alongside specialist music teachers from Sing Education. 

The degree students also completed an online training module and will take part in a final group training session in March. The training covered everything from musical gestures, use of rhythm flashcards, principles of instrument teaching, and various song-teaching techniques. 

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

RMSF’s Chief Executive Officer, Cathy Grant said: 

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to welcome students from RBC into our schools in York, Malton and Middlesbrough. As well as teaching lots of young people, it’s vital that the Foundation supports the future music education workforce to ensure they get to experience teaching music in a variety of schools using a variety of engaging and accessible methods. Well done to all the students and teachers for embracing this experience! The young people of Yorkshire and the North East thoroughly enjoyed meeting you!”

Sing Education - Teacher Training Investment At Our Core

Sing Education know the value of ongoing training and development. We understand that as our industry modernises and transforms, classroom music professionals require continuous learning to stay at the forefront. 

To this end, not only do we collaborate with partners like RBC and RSMF, we invest quite heavily in developing our own music specialists through the whole of their career with us. 

From initial interviews to onboarding to teacher training events and ongoing classroom supervision, our 10 years of classroom pedagogy means that Sing Education know intimately what it takes to produce happy, healthy, engaged music teachers.

We also invest in substantive pre-placement learning before specialists are matched with a school. In addition to our fully bespoke music curricula, progression pathways and full package of teaching resources, our teachers benefit from ongoing support from our senior leadership team, as well as from their peers working in other schools.

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

 

“Training is at the heart of why Sing Education exists. We recognised that there were talented and enthusiastic musicians out there, who had the skills and knowledge to be a music teacher but didn’t have access to the high-quality training needed to work within a primary school setting.

Our training and development is a combination of our bespoke online training programme, in-school induction training, team training sessions, and ongoing one-to-one training conducted by each teacher’s manager.”

— Alice Cadman, Director of Education

 

To learn more about Sing Education, including how our music provision, online instrumental lessons and at home learning resources contribute to a well-rounded music curriculum, please visit www.singeducation.co.uk/schools

For even more info, practical tips and guidance, click below to download your FREE “Guide to Staffing Your School Music Team”

Download your copy of our guide, “Hire, Train, Retain – Building a Best-In Class Primary Music Team”

Music graduate seeking your next role? 

Working musician keen to teach?

Whatever your degree, work history or classroom experience, know that all Sing Education teachers share a passion for music, skill with children and strong music foundations. We provide the rest!Visit us online for current job listings and to be the first to know about upcoming jobs with Sing Education.

 

About Us

Founded in 2014 and serving more than 28,000 children each week, Sing Education is a first class provider of primary school music education. Focusing on high-quality, singing-led tuition, we deliver a complete solution for schools which includes teacher recruitment, training and management, bespoke curricular resources and educational consultancy services. 

Through music lessons, singing assemblies, choirs, after school clubs and instrumental tuition, Sing Education works with students from Nursery right through to Year 6. Our core philosophy is that “Every Child Has A Voice,” and, as educators active in the classroom, our directors and teachers know firsthand how much young learners benefit from exciting, rewarding music education. 

#SingEducation #HubsAndSpokes #MusicInFocus

 

Sources:

  1. RSMF partners with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) to welcome students into our schools RSMF RSMF.org.uk
  2. Study Undergraduate Performance & Pedagogy RBC RBCU.ac.uk
  3. Breaking the Class Ceiling in Music Education MU Musicians Union
  4. A Letter To My Music Teacher: Thank You, Mrs Matthews HP Huffington Post
  5. Everything you need to know about music in schools GOV Gov.uk 
  6. An unequal playing field: extra-curricular activities, soft skills and social mobility SMC Social Mobility Commission
  7. The music teachers who struck a chord with us TIM The Times

The Damage Caused by a Decade of Arts Funding Cuts MU Musicians’ Union

The image shows a group of classical musicians performing on stage. In the foreground, a cellist is prominently seated, playing her instrument, with sheet music on a stand in front of her. Beside her, another cellist is also focused on his performance. In the background, other members of the string section, including violinists, can be seen. The conductor is standing with his back to the camera, leading the ensemble. The audience is visible in the lower part of the image, indicating a live concert setting with a wooden-paneled concert hall enhancing the ambiance.

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