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Coventry Music Blog - Diary of a Music Engagement Officer

Published: Friday, 12 March 2021

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Victoria Clayton - A Coventry Music Engagement Officer shares what it's like to work for Coventry Music. "First week back in the classroom and…..

… despite the understandable apprehension about keeping myself and those around me safe, it has been a real relief and an absolute joy for me to be back in schools this week. So far, I have had the pleasure of making music with 363 young people and I will be off in a short while to see a further 60 this afternoon.

Like all colleagues across the education sector, Coventry Music have had to think outside the box to find different ways to be creative and adaptable during each period of lockdown. We have ensured that schools that ordinarily engage with us have had access to activities and resources which have enabled Music to remain as part of the school curriculum throughout.

Being back in schools this week, it has been lovely to receive some spontaneous feedback from the children about some of the resources put together for the schools I teach in. The ‘Hear it, Feel It, Make It’ videos that were recorded by members of our team last summer were a hit with children, and there were a fair few questions about the instruments that were featured – the saxophone and electric guitar being the favourites I think!

It was lovely to hear a little voice while I was out shopping in the supermarket earlier this week - “Look Mummy, it’s the Rainbow Fish lady!” (referencing a musical activity that I put together to coincide with World Book Day).

Here are a couple of other quotes about lockdown music activities:

“I sang the song about explorers; first with my Mum and then all by myself. I liked the actions.” – a Year 2 Pupil, St. Osburg’s RC Primary School

“I showed my sister how to play the chord of C and we tuned the strings to make them all ok.” – a Year 3 Pupil, St Osburg’s RC Primary School

“Thank you so much for sending those videos over Vicky, I can’t stop singing the spotty socks song!” – Music Co-ordinator, Longford Park Primary School

“Vicky, they are fantastic. Thank you so much. The children and their parents will be joining in. Love it!” – Year 3 Class teacher, St Osburg’s RC Primary School

With the return to school for most pupils this week, Music will have a vital role to play in any recovery curriculum. Music is proven to reduce stress levels and its power to improve well-being cannot be in doubt. On the current journey we are all on, and in order to return some sense of ‘normality’ to the lives of our children, music is going to be an invaluable tool.

I had to fight back tears going in to see my year 6 pupils at Spon Gate Primary School on Tuesday morning – my first face to face teaching since November! The smiles on the faces of the children when they realised that they had a class ukulele session melted my heart. I don’t mind admitting that it was a very emotional experience. This wonderful feedback was sent to me from one of the year 6 class teachers there. She had asked the class what it was like having music in school again.

“I enjoy Mrs Clayton’s lessons. It makes me feel happy and it’s fun. I’m happy music is back because it is boring without it. I enjoy music lessons because they light up my day and if I’m feeling sad I usually feel better after.” – a Year 6 Pupil from Spon Gate Primary School

“Music lessons are exciting and they are never the same” – a Year 6 Pupil from Spon Gate Primary School

It has been brilliant to receive feedback from school staff as well, and fantastic to know that they appreciate the importance of Music Education.

“The sound of music once again echoed through our quiet corridors this morning, uplifting everyone's mood. I was compelled to leave my office and visit the hall to see how the children were engaging. To my surprise, our youngest nursery children were all taking part in a body percussion session with Mrs Clayton. The concentration on their little faces, trying to match the beat was priceless. Some were having a little freestyle, others enjoying clapping along and stamping their feet but most importantly, everyone in the room (adults included) were having fun and were really in the moment. Thank you Mrs Clayton for livening up our day and for bringing the sound of music back to Longford Park.” – Deputy Head Teacher, Longford Park Primary School

“After 8 weeks of minimal noise (the sound of silence perhaps) in the classroom It was so satisfying and energising to have not only the sound of little hands-on Djembes but also the sound of laughter and fun.  Even without the instruments in front of them, the children were engrossed in clapping to the beat and learning about music. Then, to actually get to have a go on a drum - amazing.” – Year 1 Class Teacher, Radford Primary Academy

So, after a week back in the classroom I can honestly say – The schools are alive with the sound of music – and it feels good!

vicky smiling