‘The Power of Music’ – A new project for Primary schools: a different take on music.

Leader: Heather Walters, PGCE; MA.AMS (Advanced Musical Studies) Music Therapy, HCPC registered;

A Churchill Music Education Project.

 “I wouldn’t want any child to leave primary school without [having experienced] it!” Sarah Joskey – Head teacher Wrington Primary School:

This KS2, ‘Power of Music’ project actively demonstrates how to use music as a tool to promote children’s mental well-being.  It is a completely fresh stance on how to deliver music to children, not as a specialist subject, but as a tool that all teachers and pupils can access. 

The project directly links into the forthcoming 2020 DfE Mental Health Awareness curriculum and could be part of your “whole school approach” to “how to look after children’s mental well-being” [DfE guidelines]

The aim of this project is to demonstrate to pupils in year 5 how music can influence children’s mental health and positively affect the way we feel. It is pitched at this year group (after trialling it with both yrs 5 and 6) as they can grasp the simple neuroscience and tap into the ‘lightbulb’ ideas and concepts we introduce.  Overall it can help with how to manage difficult feelings within a school setting and change or encourage a different mood.  Successfully piloted at Churchill and Wrington primary schools (for brief feedback see page 2).

Experiential and interactive workshops involve listening to music, singing, clapping, reflecting on feelings, (and chocolate button eating!)

The project is delivered over two, one-hour sessions – one week apart, based on the following headings:

  • Workshop One: What is the power of music?  There will be information about the brain science of music and how and why we have an emotional response to music with activities to demonstrate this.

We show how music influences us already, how it can help young people learn, how music can contribute to their daily well-being just like sport and healthy eating.

  • Workshop Two: The Magical Musical Mind.  How advertisers and film makers use music to influence our perceptions of what we see and buy. Sessions include short film clips and recorded music.  If advertisers and film makers use music this way, so can you.
  • Follow-up: The workshops give teachers and children ideas of how to include music in their day at home and school, again linking to the new DfE strategy of making mental health a “normal part of daily life”.
  • One of the concepts that went down particularly well with the pilot schools was children becoming ‘Musical Medicine Makers’ to help themselves and each other.
  • Another concept was to have a ‘Musical Moment for the Mind’ in every day!

What schools need to provide:

  • A space large enough to seat the students all together, a hall/classroom;
  • Projector and screen/wall connected to speakers
  • Laptop for memory stick to show short film-clips. 
  • The attendance and participation of the class teacher is essential.

What Wrington and Churchill primary schools said:

A synopsis of the feedback from Head teachers, class teachers and pupils is on page 2.

Feedback from Head teachers, class teachers and pupils

Lorraine Woollven – Head teacher Churchill Primary School: “It has left a positive legacy! The project provided the opportunity for children to explore how music can support their wellbeing. It offered a really different approach and a new way of thinking about music. It was a delight to see how engaged they were…highly engaged… and for a couple of the most vulnerable children they expressed and explored emotion in the workshop, something that they had not done before in front of their class; children instantly were put at their ease.”

“Could fit in with ‘Jigsaw'” (their PSHE programme). “There is a ‘calm me’ section at start of each session that could have regular music”.

Annie Ford – Class Teacher Yr 5 : “Children talked about it afterwards and it had an impact. It did make me rethink music too…”  “I felt it was not a token project, as some are and music can so easily slip off radar… The rhythms beforehand were good, it gave a sense of expectation and introduced you to the children (me!)…”

Pupils:   “I liked the advert, and the lightbulbs…the toolbox one: that we can change our emotions…”  “We’re listening to music after football now to help calm down”.                                          -/cont

Sarah Joskey – Head teacher Wrington Primary School:  I wouldn’t want any child to leave primary school without [having experienced] it!”

Q. How could you see it fitting in with a whole PSHE Scheme of Work? “I think it should work in a cross curricular way between PSHE and music. This way it can reach more people and the [mental] health benefits can be emphasised too. So it could be part of the ‘developing curriculum’ and also fit under the ‘Healthy Lives’ heading and so utilise the ‘sports premium’ funding as well as the ‘Healthy Schools’ part of the budget.”

Sarah Whitehouse, Class teacher Yr 5:  Q. Do you think yr 5 children would like to be ‘musical medicine maker’s and become experts in different kinds of music to listen to, and rhythms to play and then help others in their class and younger years – do you think this would be feasible?  “Yes. I think something portable like an Ipad with headphones, (and using playlists linked to different emotions for different occasions,) would be good as it could be used in any room. By doing the project in year 5 we could use their expertise throughout the next year, helping younger children”.

Pupils: I didn’t know that music can help your brain and that everyone’s brain responds to music. Some people looked up songs online after. I listen to some classical music more afterwards.

Further information:  Churchill Music – Jan Murray 01934 853518  info@churchillmusic.org.uk