Monthly Archives: January 2016

Performing at the Royal Albert Hall!

For those of you who are not big music fans, don’t worry I’m not away to turn into some sort of super geeky band nerd! I just wanted to share this story to make those who are feeling a bit apprehensive about teaching music in their class not alone!

“You’re going to the Albert Hall!!” was the only thing I remembered from that band practice three years ago. The BBC Youth Proms wanted us to play in their concert? Surely not? But yes! Yes they did..

I’ve been playing brass since primary 5 and I was by no means a musical god that’s for sure! I didn’t let that stop me however! In my second year at high school my brass teacher asked me if I wanted to join the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band. I live in Carnoustie, which is a rather small place but every member, bar a few, come from the town- something quite unusual in the world of brass bands. We were also all taught by the same instructor- again something very unique. I knew the band was for competition purposes so thought that I’d give it a try and see what it would be like. If only I knew where that would lead..

Most bands are around for years and years before they enjoy competition success. We were exceptionally fortunate and only took four. Before I knew it we had won British and Scottish championship titles more than once and were winning awards from the likes of the BBC. It was a complete whirlwind experience! Unknown to us, something even better was waiting around the corner!

Playing live on stage to 5,000 people in the Royal Albert Hall is something I cant quite explain. Being washed with the overwhelming sound of applause vibrating the stage under your feet is something you just don’t forget. None of us could believe that we had somehow made it here. Yes, we had put in hours upon hours of rehearsing, blood, sweat and tears. When I say tears, I mean serious tears!

You would think that this would mean I’m probably quite confident about standing in front of a class and delivering a music lesson, but not quite.  After all these years I have developed my own way of interpreting music and my own way of learning it. So now I need to develop all of that into a way that a child will understand and can use later in life.  In some respect I need to go back and relearn music! Which is actually a rather daunting thought! I can’t be selfish and demand that it is my way of learning music and that’s it! No, I have to consider what will be best for the children I will be teaching. I have to think of ways to keep those who enjoy music interested and those who don’t, enthusiastic about it! I have had my opportunity to get specialised help but now it’s time for me to pass some of that knowledge on so that future children can benefit from music like I did.  Music is a brilliant way to let children express themselves and liven up their learning! No child should be deprived of the chance to experience what music can mean and do for them.

Music gave me friends, a sense of teamwork, discipline and an understanding of what it feels like to be rewarded for hard work. Without it I don’t think I would be at University today. This is why I feel music is such an important part of the curriculum and can be done so in a variety of different ways.

Let’s get music into those classrooms!

If you fancy a listen, below was part of our performance in the 2012 British Youth Championships, which we were lucky enough to come 1st, giving us the title of Best Youth band in Britain.  All the players are aged 12-21! I’m experiencing a rather bad hair day in the video..I’ll blame the nerves!

The last minute or so is my favourite!

“A primary teacher? Seriously Emily? You could do so much more than that..”

Today I was asked by an old friend what it was I was studying. After I replied, explaining I was studying to become a primary teacher the response I got was, for me, an extremely sad one.

“A primary teacher? Seriously Emily? That’s not exactly difficult is it? Baby sitting kids all day and teaching them the alphabet isn’t a proper job! You could do much more than that! Teacher training is harder than the actual job itself!”

I can’t quite put into words how shocked and upset this made me. I couldn’t think of anything to say in return. Is this really what people think of primary teachers? I have dedicated so much time in order for me to be able to obtain the training needed to become a teacher- it’s all I have ever wanted to do. So for somebody to think that I was wasting my time on a career they didn’t deem worthy of being given the time of day hurt a lot. I don’t know about you but I would never talk down to someone like this or discard their chosen career. Especially one that would be affecting the future generations of children.

I realise many people share that same belief as the individual I bumped into today. Surprisingly I actually feel sorry for them as maybe primary school for them was not an enjoyable or memorable experience. Where would the world be without primary teachers? Children need that education experience in order to be equipped with the tools they need to develop into successful, well-rounded adults. Not every parent would have the time to spend 5/6 hours a day educating their children. Despite feeling rather deflated by those comments I’ve turned that into determination. I am more determined than ever to try and inform as many people as possible as to how much work, dedication and passion teachers put in within and outside the classroom and how much they care about the job and people they are helping. I believe that the lecturers , tutors and fellow students I have surrounding me are so passionate about the profession they are part of that I know a positivity towards primary education is extremely strong. I have chosen to turn this negative into a positive and I encourage anyone who experiences a similar situation to do the same.

I am a student teacher and proud to say it.

Let the blogging bonanza continue!

I have just spent the past half an hour or so reading posts from many of my peers.  These posts were extremely interesting and really demonstrated that they have fully submerged themselves into the life of reflection. Looking back at posts you can see progression throughout and how their authors have developed the way they write about lectures, books they have read and personal experiences.  For me, I especially love the posts where there is some kind of personal link to the post. I feel it is really important and enjoyable to get a sense of what kind of personality the individual has. We might not necessarily know the face to match the name but sometimes reading posts make you feel that by the end of it you really know what kind of person they are.

Writing a blog post enables those who may have reservations about sharing their thoughts and feelings face to face with others to get their opinions and beliefs heard. I feel that through reading one and others ePortfolios that actually as a year group we can become much closer.  Having the engagement with those whom you don’t know very well can help brake down any boundaries you feel may still be there, because after all  we are still getting to know everyone! Not only does it help with our personal communication it opens up a window for us to establish our own place to begin professional dialogue.

We are all still learning. In fact, nobody ever stops learning. This is why I believe that even if you feel insecure about that what you are writing or worry people will make judgments – don’t! We can’t expect to be perfect and everyone is entitiled to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.  Everyone has their own opinions so express them! I know for me I worry what people will think about what I write. However, I want to take the opportunity to thank my peers and other glow users for feedback they have given me online or in person about things I’ve written. It’s really helping to build my confidence in sharing feelings and opinions with the wider online community.

Let the blogging bonanza continue!

You at the back! Point your toes!

Everyone can dance. You might not feel like that’s the case when you realise nobody wants to be seen with you when the music starts, but trust me, you can.

I first started dancing at  the age of eight- excited by the prospect of getting my own little pair of tap shoes that I could make as much noise in as possible! Oh the fun I was going to have on the kitchen floor!! Like everything when you first start it was difficult and took a lot of hard work to pick up the technique. However after MANY dance classes I was starting to turn into a fairly competent little mover. 2007 came my first big show, the excitement I felt to start the show routines was incomparable. So you could imagine my disappointment when I was dressed as one of the three little pigs from ‘Shrek.’ Curly tail included.  Despite my rather ‘pinky’ appearance I tap springed my way across that stage like no other pig had before!

The dance school I attended planned a trip for us to go and see the dance phenomenon, ‘Riverdance.’ That was eight years ago and from that moment since I have been Irish dancing. I enjoyed tap classes but Irish was something so different that had me hooked from the moment I started and has done ever since.  Not only is it a great way to keep fit but is an opportunity for you to forget about any worries or problems you have. You can immerse yourself in the steps you’re doing, the music, the beats coming from your shoes and the story you’re trying to tell.

The freedom you get from dance is something that I believe is rather rare. I feel that dance is an extremely important thing for a school to incorporate into their curriculum. It is a chance for children to express themselves in a safe and creative way. It is  giving them a chance to break free from any negative issues they may be experiencing at home or in the classroom. Instead of fighting, a child that feels angry about certain events can let that energy out through movement for example.

Dance should not be something a child or adult  feels embarrassed by or that they may be judged by others for what they look like doing it. Nobody has the right to make another person feel insecure about themselves. I’ll admit that I’ve often been caught having a little boogie to myself looking in no way in control of my limbs but I was having a great time so I guess that’s all that matters!

So, fellow student teachers let’s not care what we look like, let’s just play that music and alongside our children, DANCE!

You know you want to..