Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PSHE songs for assembly c/o Sing up!

Assembly songs KS 1 & 2
Spring Term 1 - SEAL theme Good To Be Me

Week 1
Warm up - H..E..L..L..O
Teach Good To Be Me (to be sung in Friday assembly? KS 1 already know it)
Self esteem message

Week 2
Warm up - Bananas of the world..
Good To Be Me
Teach Great Day (main section)
positive frame of mind  glass half full/half empty discussion

Week 3
Warm up - 1,1,21, etc 1,5,1,4,1,3,1,2,1,5,1,4,1,321
Sing Great Day
Teach other parts (led by YSL)

Week 4
Warm up - say lickety split
Learn  3 little birds  ( give kids chance to sing solo the following week)
Sing Great Day
Having confidence that things will work out, linked to high self esteem

Week 5
Warm up - grandma, grandma
Good to be me
3 little birds  ( with individual solos)

Week 6
Warm up - clap rap
Teach Got To Build It (a good one to sing on a Friday assembly)
We are all useful people capable of sorting out our differences

Week 7
Sing through all the songs we have learnt. Poll on fronter to vote on their favourite song?

So that is my plan for Poplar pupils next term. What would we do without Sing up! Every single song mentioned is available free for anyone to download. So if you are a Poplar pupil or parent visiting here you can check out the songs by searching the songbank here. http://www.singup.org/songbank/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thank you Caroline!

Try our slideshow creator at Animoto.

Hello year 5,

I wasn't able to deliver our thank you cards to Caroline so I have done the next best thing and made her a slideshow of them. Please feel free to leave any comments for Caroline here.

Merry Christmas!
Mrs Schneider

Young Song Leaders in action!

Take a listen to my young song leaders -

Coffee pot (mp3)

Lickety Split (mp3)

Bananas of the world (mp3)

These are all great warm ups that the children are teaching to the younger classes. They have really risen to the occasion and have proved themselves terrific teachers. Below you can hear the kids talking about their experiences

Ysl interview (mp3)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What a wonderful world .....

I simply wanted to share this wonderful video. For the days when words fail us this is a simple reminder of what it is all about. Bring on the awe and wonder!

My comments are on Music Education UK!

I first came across Music Education UK on twitter. I joined in a few conversations about primary school music and was then asked to write a comment piece for their September issue. However the government's mishandling of the publication of the National Music Plan meant this issue was held back so I was then asked to share my thoughts on the plan. You can read it by clicking here

Friday, December 9, 2011

Getting the children to blog and music technology

I have long been a fan of blogging. I started in 2006 to blog about school dinners and children's food issues. I came to realise it was an amazing tool which help me reflect on what I was doing. The act of writing a post forced me to really evaluate what I was doing, decide on priorities and identify key points. This really helped me learn more about the subject and although I started it to share my learning I found that it was helpful to me even if only a few people read it.

Once I decided I wanted to become a music teacher I have used this blog in much the same way. I try to keep a record of key articles on books that have influenced me and to record important teaching ideas I want to go back to.

I want the children to also benefit from this so I have set up a blog for the year 4 classes I teach. We are about to embark on an opera Olympic project to celebrate the 2012 games called "Ring around the world". It will be a perfect project to get the kids blogging about. Firstly we will need to do some research about the countries we have been given so we are hoping to use the blog to help us find people from said countries to leave us comments. Secondly we will be brainstorming ideas for our compositions which children will be able to blog about and comment on each others ideas. Next we will be learning songs to perform - we can record ourselves singing and post them on the blog as a record of our progress. Finally we are hoping our audiences will be able to give us feedback.

In the first instance I have set up the blog using artwork created by the children to use as headers. The first stage will be asking children to comment. Once they are proficient at that, I will add them a group at a time as contributors so children can write their own posts. Assuming that this works out the children will then be invited to apply for full author status so they can add posts as and when.

Using technology is a key part of the music curriculum but it is an area many shy away from. This new blog will be cross curricula but I am really hoping that when we begin our compositions and start working toward the performance the act of blogging, recording our work and experimenting with it using audacity we will be starting to get to grips with it.

If you have a second please take a look at "Ring around the World" - there is a slideshare of the children's artwork. I know they would love it if you could leave them a comment!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

My thoughts on National Plan for Music Education

After interminable delays the government have finally published "A National Plan for Music Education"

Having read it through these are my concerns.

1) Whilst it is brilliant to read that every school MUST provide good quality music lessons, plus choir & ensembles, for ALL pupils it is followed by the rider - 'subject to the national curriculum review' which is widely expected to ditch music along with many other creative subjects. Without music on the national curriculum or part of the EBAC league what pressure is there on heads to ensure music is taught? Sadly most of this national plan will be largely irrelevant unless schools have to provide music education for all children.

2) Currently music education receives £82.5 million a year. This will be cut to £60million over 3 years @Markdavyd has pointed out that this 27% cut in funding might not be compatible with the great aspirations the plan has. There is some reference to funding formula weighted to free school meal areas. That sounds very promising.

3) Fantastic to see music education for teachers has been adressed. Proper training for class teachers in primary schools is long overdue.

4) Delighted to see music technology highlighted. It would be great to see much more collaboration between ICT leaders and music teachers at school.

5) Development of music hubs. My interest in this plan is from a teacher and parent perspective so have no particular axe to grind about providers. However we have an excellent local authority partnership group - Merton Music Foundation that works brilliantly. My question is is this promotion of "hubs" a chance to kick out local authorities in favour of private companies? This government do have a track record of trampling on public schemes in favour of private companies so I am naturally suspicious. Having waded through the report the hub idea and the application process sounds horrendously bureaucratic and wasteful. The paperwork alone will eat up tons of money.

Look, it's not rocket science. All schools need to ensure they provide good quality music lesson for all their children regardless of race, colour, creed, ability. To do that they need trained staff, resources, support from ICT colleagues and senior management. Local authorities need to ensure they enable schools to work together to share expertise and enthusiasm. Areas of poverty and deprivation need twice or three times the funding of wealthy areas. How about we end tax relief on private schools and use this to fund it? I expect it would be enough to fund private tuition for every state pupil in the country!

I am no expert but from my view music education is incredibly patchy. There is lots of great stuff in this report but I know the devil will be in the detail. I am already sick of the word hub.

National Music Plan finally published

You can read the governments plan for music education here
I am just going to re read it and will be back shortly with my comments!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Supporting pupils with Aspergers

At primary school, most children are taught by their class teacher. However PPA time means many children are used to changing teachers. Some children with special needs find this disturbance of their usual routine upsetting. Visual timetables have become a common place way of helping the child to deal with this.

Following last nights staff meeting I was inspired to create my own "sign" to send to all staff who support children on the austic spectrum who are taught by me.

Whilst it feels a bit egotistical it is worth it if it smooths the transition.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy St Cecilia's Day! - the patron saint of music

We had a fabulous musical assembly at St Teresa's today in preparation for St Cecila's Day. Every single pupil performed. We had singing, boomwhacking, and African drumming. I am hoping to put up some video clips so watch this space! Meanwhile here is a clip of last years Royal Albert Hall concert. Year 4 are learning the song "Dig Deep" to perform at "Ring around the World" next year.

If you watch carefully you will spot 2 St Teresa's teachers and lots of our pupils!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet the Young Song leaders at St Teresa's

Young Song Leaders at St Teresa's on PhotoPeach

Another useful free tool for teachers

I love this! I am going to use this site to get kids to write reviews of music we have created in lessons. It is very easy to use. Click here to try it out yourself

Music that makes me smile

I have just discovered a new free tool called Lino it via tonights #ukedchat on twitter.
Please can you help me out by posting a sticky note on it telling the song or piece of music that ALWAYS makes you smile? It is supposed to be very easy to use - just hover over the brown rectangle and some stickies should appear.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Young Song Leaders Rock!

I spent a wonderful morning with 60 children from Poplar, Merton Park and Joseph Hood who were being trained as Young Song Leaders. This is a terrific initiative organised by the very talented Soo Bishop.

The training began with a technical explanation about the mechanics of singing. The children learned about intercostal muscles, the importance of good breath control and how the larynx works. Soo was able to show the children how to feel the vibrations of the vocal cords as the voice moves up and down in pitch.

Soo then demonstrated a range of techniques for teaching songs. This included
  • giving clear , strong visual cues
  • using movements to help associate action with remembering lyrics
  • hand signs to indicate pitch
  • using the phrase "off we go..." to set starting pitch.
The children seemed to catch on quickly and were very keen to start teaching the younger children.

The next step is for the children to go back to school and to start putting this good training into place. We plan for them to come into key stage 1 singing assembly tomorrow to teach a warm up to the younger children. In addition the children will be paired up with their own key stage 1 class to support. They will visit and lead singing at pre arranged times (possibly during class assemblies) In addition they will also lead singing games in the playground.

During Merton ArtsBeat2012 the Young Song Leaders will have an invaluable role in running after school community singing sessions where mums and dads and anyone from the local community will be able to join in. We are also planning for them to perform in a local concert involving all the local schools in our cluster.

Soo and I plan to set up a "Young Song Leaders" blog. This will allow Soo a platform to share her ideas, tips and resources. The children involved will also be able to post comments about their experiences and ask Soo for advice on specific problems they have come across.

Soo's enthusiasm and professionalism is infectious and it was a delight to watch 60 pupils really striving for excellence.

Here is a clip of the children singing. Please bear in mind they had only learned this song for about 10 minutes when this was recorded.Young Song Leaders - Bella mama (mp3)

Thank you so much to Merton Park for hosting and making us feel so welcome!

Friday, November 4, 2011

ICT and primary music

Here are some fantastic ICT resources for teaching music at primary school. Visit Malcolm Wilson's blog for some truly inspiring ideas and practical suggestions. I would strongly recommend following him on twitter. His twitter name is @claganach

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oxfam global music lesson plans

Just found a fantastic new resource for music lessons. Oxfam have created lots of stand alone lessons involving global music. They have helpfully included audio clips, YouTube links and some worksheets. I have had a good look through and there is some fantastic stuff here. It is also handy to have at hand in case an instant lesson is required for a supply teacher. I would recommend having a look through! Oxfam global music lesson plans

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I need to learn more about using audacity in the music room. Luckily for me Tim Brook has created some fantastic video tutorials. Visit his site Digital Glue to find out more

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bring me Sunshine!

Am planning to teach this song to year 3 so thought they would appreciate watching the comedy legends singing it themselves.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Using a metronome in the classroom

My classes have been fascinated by the metronome on my iphone. We have been using it to check if we can clap exactly on the beat and to check we aren't speeding up. I was surprised how soothing it was and for how long kids needed to listen before they could internalise the beat. A simple warm up somehow took up the whole of the lesson. However I was happy to let it over run as the children were concentrating so hard and a few of them seemed genuinely overjoyed at their new found ability to accent different beats. I used the metronome in conjunction with MES cards which show different 4 beat bars.

This has left me wondering if I should n't make the effort to use a metronome more often with all my classes. I have yet to find one for the smartboard but have bought a visual metronome app ( see pic above) for my ipad which I think the kids will love!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How does your brain remember all those lyrics?

Interesting article here about how your brain learns lyrics

Thanks to @musicodeon for pointing out

Monday, October 17, 2011

Body percussion

Caroline and I have been doing some work on body percussion with year 5. I found this clip which I think they will love!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Using picture books to teach music in key stage 1


Not sure what has happened but I noticed that this presentation had disappeared from the blog. Have posted up again.

ArtsBeat 2012 - training day with Merton Music Foundation

Yesterday was a brilliant training day for Merton teachers who will be taking part in the ArtsBeat2012 festival 3rd March to the 17th March 2012

There were 3 practical hands on sessions which gave ideas to take back to the classroom to try.

Session 1 : "From painting to sound to dance."

This was led by the brilliant Caroline Segollo. Starting with abstract sounds we explored moving isolated body parts. We then looked at Kandinsky and transferred those ideas to think of sounds from the strong lines and shapes. Using black strips to create grids Caroline showed how it was possible to provoke the children into using 3D spaces imaginatively and thoughtfully. She suggested some interesting and innovative music to use with the children from Penderecki and Steve Reich

Session 2 : Drama techniques

This was led by the talented Jo Fife. We looked at many different techniques that involved whole classes and used drama to elicit good quality language work from the children. One of the key things I learnt from this session was how little "teacher talk/instruction" is needed. Jo showed how it was possible to start the drama before the kids were even through the classroom door and how to talk "in role" rather than as teacher. By making the lesson very pacy and fast moving children are pushed further. Another key learning point for me was the forum theatre ideas Jo showed us. One of Jo's top tip was to use darkness in the classroom with a torch. Something I will be trying at St Teresa's as we do have blackout blinds in the classroom.

Session 3 : Body Percussion workshop.

Flavio was an excellent teacher and managed to transform a motley bunch of teachers into a percussion ensemble in a remarkably short space of time. Using a metronome on his iphone he soon had us clapping and stamping in time. He made us jump to check we had really internalised the beat. Most of us found it quite tricky but Flavio broke the learning down into small steps with plenty of time for practise and reinforcement before he moved us on. It was a really good experience being put in the position of learner and was a real reminder for me of how anxious children can feel when we push them out of their comfort zone.

Session 4 : Young Song Leaders

Soo Bishop has achieved absolutely amazing results with her big scale musical projects based around "Music is for Life" projects. This year she is embarking on an ambitious project to train 20 keystage 2 children from 75% of all Merton Schools to act as young song leaders. With her excellent training these pupils will be well placed to lead singing in their own schools and to support staff and pupils alike in developing an even stronger singing culture in the borough.
Schools are now forming small clusters to start the training which will begin in November 2012. Sarah from Merton Park School has developed an application form which schools can use to get children to apply for the role.

Finally we discussed the actual structure of the ArtsBeat2012 festival. There are a number of exciting events involving schools and the wider community planned. It looks incredibly exciting and I will outline some of them in a separate post next week.

I came away from the day really inspired and keen to try out some of the techniques I'd been shown in the classroom. I was really struck by how much talent and expertise we have within Merton Music Foundation and the experienced music/drama teachers in the borough. We really need to make sure we exploit this to the full as this kind of creative passion can really help kids unlock their own enthusiasms and creativity which can otherwise remain dormant.

Thank you MMF!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ideas for vocal warm ups

Below is a video of the lovely Lara, who is demonstrating some brilliant ideas you can use with any primary school class to warm up children's voices. It was recorded at a" Teachmeet". I have never been to one but they look vastly superior to most cpd activities - largely because they are delivered by classroom practitioners with passion and vision.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Maths week at St Teresa's

I n honour of maths week I thought I would post up some songs and raps

Sunday, October 2, 2011

African Rhythms

I found this short film on YouTube that attempts to trace the origin of some popular African rhythms in everyday life. I shall be showing this to year 5 this week.

Black History Month

Last week Caroline taught me the song, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around". I was then able to teach this to the children at Poplar who sang it powerfully in singing assembly in preparation for Black History Month. I found this clip on YouTube where President Obama is exhorted to singalong!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Samba drumming for year 4

Sharing clips of choirs

I've decided to link to a range of different school choirs to show my classes the variety of school singing that is going on across the world. First up is Wotton Basset who are signing their song. looks and sounds great!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Samba drumming for year 4

We had a great samba workshop on Friday courtesy of Merton Music Foundation's "Wider Opportunities" program. The marvellous Mags enthralled pupils with tales of slavery, rebellion and powerful rhythms. I am in the process of creating a powerpoint about the history of Samba which i will put up soon. In the meanwhile here is a clip from the BBC showing a young lad in Rio de Janeiro attending samba school. Follow 12 year old Jonas by clicking here

Monday, September 19, 2011

Using picture books

I recently discovered the joy of using picture books with key stage 1 to explore timbre, rhythm, pulse and pitch. I have dug out a selection of about 6 books that I love and have found ways to explore musical elements. I know good primary school teachers have probably being doing this for years but it has only just occurred to me! I plan to photograph the different books I use during the term with the instruments the class select.

The choir practising Siya Humba

I've posted this video to help the choir prepare for their performance this Wednesday. Their choir leader is away looking after a new born child so the choir are currently leaderless. That has not stopped them as they are now preparing to take responsibility for leading them selves. The talented Caroline is giving them some helpful guidance. I have posted this video so they can watch themselves in order to evaluate their rehearsal & remind themselves of Carolines guidance.

Using video isn't always about capturing a good "performance". I am hoping that in this instance it will be a useful tool for the choir to develop their own leadership. They are performing by themselves this Wednesday without an adult to conduct them. Wish them luck!

Friday, September 16, 2011

How Djembe drums are made

These are video clips I will be showing year 5 & 6 as the plenary to djembe lesson 2

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guide to the orchestra.

Thanks to Alan Mills for pointing out this resource.

Thanks to @ICTmagic on twitter for pointing out this brilliant ball dropping game.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I have a classroom!

I am incredibly excited! I have just started teaching music 2 days a week at St Teresa's school. They have have created a wonderful music room that is fit for purpose. There is wi fi, access to youtube , 15 netbooks and an interactive whiteboard. But even more importantly there is a senior management team who are committed to providing a creative and engaging curriculum for EVERY child. Looking forward to Monday!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I have recently discovered boomwhackers!

There was a dusty set lurking at the back of our music cupboard that I have never seen anyone use. Some fellow tweeters gave me advice & a quick google was enough to give me some ideas for the classroom. I am now a fan. Had a brilliant response from all the classes that used them. Year 3 and 4 loved it and managed to play some recognisable tunes. Also every member of staff that came in the staffroom couldn't resist having a turn too. Smiles all round

Have now ordered another couple of sets. Click here for a look at their website . I plan to post some videos of my classes using them in September.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yr 6 leavers song

Music for The Tempest

Below are some resources I found to help colleagues who are preparing a student production of The Tempest

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Creating music for The Tempest

Yr 5 have been having a go at creating some music and sound effects for their end of term production "The Tempest". Here are some of the first attempts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Musical quotes for classroom

I am searching around for some quotes to display in a music room. This is what I have found so far.

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Red Auerbach

Where words fail, music speaks
Hans Christian Anderson

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's a really stupid thing to do
Elvis Costello

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding he sings

Ed Gardner

Ah Music. A magic beyond all we do here.
JK Rowling

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing
John Erskine

It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by.
Billy Joel

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent
Victor Hugo.

Still looking for more so if you have any please share by leaving as a comment below. think I might talk to the very talented Mrs Brimblecombe to see if she has any good ideas about how to create some artwork around them.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Djembe drumming with a year 4 class.

Yet another lovely afternoon spent in the company of highly talented AST Caroline Seggolo. Last time I was with Caroline she was sharing with me top tips on teaching recorders to a whole class. Today I was watching Caroline teach drumming to a year 4 class.

It was an amazing experience. The kids worked incredibly hard and showed remarkable concentration for a Friday afternoon. Caroline had high expectations of the children and they certainly rose to meet them. It was a delight to watch the children persevere to improve their performance. It was strangely moving to find the children swaying and moving in time with the music and their smiles as they appreciated the impact of playing perfectly together.

I wish all children had the opportunity to take part in such high quality music lessons.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just discovered Wylio.com

g clefphoto © 2006 Gisela Giardino | more info (via: Wylio)

I have been searching for images to use on presentations for my class but keep stumbling over the thorny issue of copyright. However the wise and generous teachers I follow on twitter had lots of advice for me - @johnskelleher recommended Wylio.com which has a great collection of creative commons pictures you can use with without worry. I have signed up for the free account so look out for exciting new grahics! Thanks John!

I also got lots of other suggestions which I will also be exploring. Thanks twitter pals!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Music teacher inset

We had a marvellous inset session with all the music coordinators in the borough last night. Soo is a great believer in the "say it then play it" philosophy so we all had a go with the instruments! Soo was demonstrating how to use aspects of a song to create accompaniment.

Inspired by her teaching I decided to dust off the chime bars to use with year 2. The children worked really hard to come up with this. It took quite a bit of persuading that less was more but they agreed this was the best version they had come up with!


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Merton teachers choir - homework

We are are going to be learning Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. here is the Glee club version!

Music for life display at St Mary's Primary School, Merton

Monday, May 9, 2011

The power of twitter and @ukedchat

I am a big fan of twitter. It is a great way to gossip about the latest episode of the archers, keeps you up to date with breaking news and plugs you in to the most creative and inspiring teachers around the world. I am mercilessly mocked by many of many friends who regularly tell me they are "TOO BUSY" to spend time on twitter. They are missing out - big time. If you are a UK teacher I strongly recommend that you get yourself signed up and start following @ukedchat. This is an incredible forum that brings teachers together every Thursday evening to discuss, entertain and educate. I have learnt huge amounts from generous teachers who share their own resources and give advice and solutions. It has been particularly important to me this year as I have embarked on my own quest to become a primary school music teacher.

The Guardian have written a great article about it. Click here to read

And if you decide to give twitter a go be sure to say hi to @jackieschneider and join in the next #ukedchat on Thursday from 8 - 9pm!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Solfa handsigns

Soo has been using Solfa with the adult choir to help us with our pitch matching. Without making a fetish of it, I find the hand signs are very helpful in finding the next note. The presentation below is simply photos of the signs. Remember they should start at mid chest level and move up to the final doh.

I use this with year 3. I have laminated the photos and blue tak them to the board in tonesets that manages the song we are working on. Kids have learnt them without much effort.

Click on the presentation below to see all the signs.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Voices foundation - day 4

I had a great day today on the Voices Foundation 5 day training course. Today we looked at developing a whole school curriculum and distinguished between strategy and tactics. In addition we also spent time building up our own reportoire which if truth be told is probably the most important thing we do at each day's training.

I am really enjoying the Kodaly work. Without turning it into a fetish, I think it is the most amazing tool for teaching pitch. Have a listen to the sight reading exercise below.


They have just announced dates for the next training course but in addition they will also come to your school to train staff. I can highly recommend them especially if like me you are a non specialist but want to learn more. Click here for more details

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bodyworks! | Slideshow at imageloop.com

Found this free tool to really jazz up pictures. You can add captions to tell a story. does this help explain bodyworks to you?

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carnival of the Animals

I am experimenting with using slideshare to share presentations. Unfortunately I can't get the audio links to work. Will try again another day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"I didn't know you could play the piano..."

Just for the record I can't. Yet when ever I mention that I am going to be teaching music in primary school to people a tiny furrow appears on their brow as they try to recollect any info they have about me being a musician. When I mention that most literacy teachers aren't published authors and that some history teachers are not actual historians the confusion increases as music appears to be treated differently. I feel under pressure to explain that I am fascinated by music - how it works and the impact it has on us. I have to reassure the person that although I am not an accomplished musician I can teach children up to 11 about music and using the voice (mainly) recorders, tuned & untuned percussion I can help the children to understand more and hopefully enthuse them into learning further.

It is amazing when you consider how fundamental music making is to being human that we our society seems to see it as a specialism for special people. Daniel Levithin argues that this is a relatively recent development,
Only relatively in our own culture, ( 500 years or so) did a distinction arise that cut society into two forming seperate classes of music performers and music listeners. Throughout most of the world and throughout most of human history music making was as natural an activity as breathing and walking and everyone participated

It is an amazing book which I would highly recommend. I am only halfway through and my head is spinning with many of the ideas he discusses.

So to return to the unspoken question - can you teach music if you are not an accomplished musician? I think the answer is yes! I think that the key is the teaching. if that isn't right it doesn't matter how accomplished a musician you are!

I have been really grateful to twitter recently. It has enabled me to connect with a range of music teachers from all over the world who have been very generous in sharing their resources. Planning to post some links to some of them later.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Using iPad for the first time to post

This is a bit of an experiment. just downloaded blogpress to make it easier to post from iPad.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Free resources

Fantastic new resource I have just found - SFS kids. lets hope this isn't blocked by school

Beat box resources

Resource below is a way to randomly select kids to give a 2 minute presentation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Using the blog to teach music

When I first started writing this blog it was to help me as a learner. It then became a way of collecting online resources. Now it seems more useful as a way of showcasing pupils work and a place to put up resources to show the children directly. I would be interested in hearing from other teachers about the pro's and cons of using a blog versus an MLE such as fronter

This afternoon I worked with a year 3 class on composition and stick notation and decided to see if I could present the children's work in a display format they would find interesting and helpful. The 6 posts that precede this are a record of that. I used my iphone to record the audio clips and take the pics.Incidentally if you have a spare minute to take a look and can leave a comment that the children will be able to read I would be very grateful!

I think I am going to plan next half terms work directly on the blog and see how it goes. Watch this space!

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 5


This group were quite pleased with their work.

" We did it really well but we need more practice to keep in time"

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 5

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 4


This group found it tricky to work at the same tempo.

" It was hard but when Miss recorded it it sounded much better"

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 3


This group were disappointed with their performance. This is what they said in their evaluation
" We need to keep in time. We worked hard but we wish we could do it better. We should practise more"

I think that they did well to mark the rest.

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 2


This group composed their rhythm and then recorded it using stick notation. This is their evaluation of their performance
" We were good but we added an extra 'ta'at the end. When we did it later we made it perfect"

Composing and performing in year 3 - Group 1


The children worked in small friendship groups to compose simple rhythms, record them using stick notation (see photo) and then perform them for the class. What do you think? This group said
"We think it was an 8/10. Next time we will have a conductor"

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Heres a wordle of my blog

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just discovered Pic Lits

Whilst watching Caroline teach music to key stage 1 I was interested to see how she incorporates story books into her music teaching. I thought of her when I came across this picture site which allows a class to select an image to go with some music you have been making or listening to.

Here is my first attempt to use it. Click here to see the image and text. or click on image below

PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.comhttp://www.piclits.com/viewpoem.aspx?PoemId=90854

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Singing Sherlocks in action!

I have been trialling a scheme where we train our keystage 2 children to teach songs and singing games to keystage 1 children in the playground. It takes a while for the older children to grow in confidence but this group of singing leaders are really starting to find their feet. It is great to see the younger children mobbing them as they turn up at the singing stop!

I had a chance to put together the 2 year 4 classes to practise their song and drumming rhythms for Tudor assembly. I had recorded an audioboo to help them evaluate their performance but stupidly deleted it by accident. must remember to record next week

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Work shadowing AST teacher Caroline Segolo

Had a fantastic day and my brain is still buzzing from watching the exceptionally talented Caroline teach music at Wimbledon Primary School. She is an excellent teacher and is able to both support children who are weaker whilst pushing more able children to achieve even higher standards.

I was keen to learn from Caroline how she organised the various different activities within her lessons, how she got managed differentiation and assessment, and how the kids recorded their work. I did not come away disappointed! I am far too exhausted to type it all out now for this post but have a notebook full of answers.

It was very inspirational and I think Wimbledon Park students should count themselves lucky to have such an fantastic music education. Although Caroline is clearly head and shoulders above me I didn't feel too downhearted as it has given me really clear goals for what I now want to achieve. I am taking it a term at a time and I know her generosity of spirit means I can go to her for help when I get stuck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tudor music for year4

Interesting round for year 4 assembly?

Exploding blobs

I love this! I would really recommend playing the BLOB game

Friday, February 25, 2011

Free resources for teachers

Thank you to ICT Magic who has been pointing me to lots of free music resources online.
I particularly like this Theta Music Trainer site.

I also love this resource Aviary's Music Creator. Don't be intimidated - it looks a lot more complicated than it actually is to use. I think that my year 4s are going to love composing with this.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Music at Poplar on PhotoPeach

With grateful thanks to Pooky at Creative Education for suggesting photopeach. It is a free tool and is remarkably quick to upload pics to.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teaching the recorder

Year 4 have responded really well to recorder lessons. We are able to play B, A & G making a good clear sound. We have minimised squeaks by covering the holes really well and controlling our breath. Incidentally - the classroom isn't usually set up with desks in rows facing front but after experimenting I find this the best layout for teaching 30 children

I want to record the class playing some pieces for 3 reasons

1. To create performance conditions
2. To give the children a chance to listen and evaluate their playing
3. To keep a record so the children can hear the progress

However is it dangerous to capture an example that may be poor quality? My instinct says not because it is the process that is important. My professional vanity though says maybe it is not ideal to have examples of less than perfect work on display?

Anyway, while I was wrestling with this particular dilemma I uploaded several audioboos without realising it sent out a message on twitter. So we are in the the public domain and the sky hasn't fallen in on us. Listen!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Henley music review

Found an interesting site today, Teaching Music which suggests that the Henley music review may be an opportunity to kill off some musical sacred cows such as "group composing". You can read the editorial here

Here is The Independent's take on the review


Saturday, February 12, 2011

I am currently working with pupils from years 3, 4, 5 & 6 to help us develop a strong singing culture at Poplar. I am training the children as “Singing Sherlocks” . This means that they will be able to spread a number of singing games in the playground. They will also be available to visit EY and key stage 1 classes to both perform and teach classes the songs.

We are at an early stage still but I am hoping that by Easter they will have built up a strong repertoire of songs and will be able to lead singing games independently & confidently in the playground.

To begin with I am joining them in the playground every Tuesday lunchtime at 1.00 at the singing stop to help them get established.

The idea for this came from the very inspirational Soo Bishop and I have used the Voices Foundation "65 Songs" as my starting point.