The children I am working with are responding to positively. They are very keen to learn new music and don’t not feel threatened to play. They enjoy the ‘have a go’ and ‘just play’ strategy.
Being a Head of Music: A Survival Guide by Musical Futures Champion Teacher – Jane Werry in conjunction with Patrick Gazard and David Ashworth is now available for download
Jane first became aware of Musical Futures about ten years ago when the ideas and philosophies from the initial Paul Hamlyn Foundation projects became more widespread. I wondered what all the fuss was about, but at first was unconvinced.
I have been head of music at Hayes School in Bromley since 1999, and aside from our great students, one of the best aspects of my job is that my senior leaders leave me to get on with things my own way. They have always trusted me to experiment with new ideas, and support anything that engages our students with music.
It was the Find Your Voice pilot in 2012 that changed my mind about Musical Futures. I had a look at the video resources on the Musical Futures website, and was instantly hooked. Not being one to tread cautiously, I immediately tried them out with all my Key Stage 3 classes, and was gobsmacked by how engaged my students were. Amazing singers were coaxed out of the woodwork by the activities. I was a convert.
Since then, I have come to see how the Musical Futures philosophy really does tie in with my own ideas about teaching music musically, using practical experience of music-making as the starting-point for everything. In 2016 I applied to become a Musical Futures Champion Teacher, and I have loved becoming more involved.
Just Play is my new love. It has been a game-changer for our KS3 classes: it develops their musical skills so quickly, that suddenly a whole new world of possibilities is opened up. They gain a sense of mastery over their instruments, and feel like musicians.
One of my other loves is assessment, and finding really musical, useful ways to build assessment into what we do in lessons.
Being a Head of Music: A Survival Guide by Jane Werry, Patrick Gazard and David Ashworth is available for download