I have always been a firm believer that extra curricular activities are as important for a child as having academic skills. I believe this, not only because it’s important for future CV reference, but also because as a child develops, it is vital for them to adapt skills outwith an academic environment, to feel different emotions and develop their own individual skills and qualities.
When mum was pregnant with me, she used to sing to me in the womb. Once I was born, she sang to me in the bath, when I went to bed and even during the day. Music has always been around me and I’ve always been interested in it. In an age where music is one of the most celebrated cultures worldwide, I feel that it is vital that children get taught about music in the teaching profession and that the rewards and opportunities that come from it are endless.
Where I’m from (the Orkney Islands) we are extremely lucky when it comes to music tuition. First off, that the teaching staff are idols for all of us in the music department. Teachers that are not only inspirational but show sheer dedication and commitment to their area of work that I have never seen before. A scheme introduced by the Orkney Islands Council, means that from primary age upwards, there are many opportunities for a pupil to receive free lessons in school time with an instrument. In time, providing that the pupil sticks with the tuition, playing an instrument can reap benefits. Meeting new friends, gaining confidence but also, due to the complexity of music reading, it trains the brain to deal with other aspects of life.
In a primary school environment, children are so keen and willing to learn. They soak up everything like a sponge. Simple songs, rhythms and musical exercises can liven up a classroom and make learning enjoyable. Having a wee story behind songs as well can also be an extra idea.
However, I do understand that music isn’t every teacher’s cup of tea. But that is okay. You don’t have to have done music before to do as good a job as someone who knows Mozart’s Fifth Symphony backwards. It’s about engaging with it and embracing the enjoyment that comes out of it.