Remote learning: music

Oct 19, 2020

Hang on a minute – we’re not in lockdown again yet, are we? No, not as far as we know. We’re talking about the DfE guidance and Remote Education Temporary Continuity Direction: explanatory note that require schools to be well planned and equipped for pupils who are self-isolating.

OK, phew! Remind me of the key points. Schools must have a remote strategy in place, ready to be rolled out immediately to pupils who are required to self-isolate, be it on an individual, small group, year group or whole school basis. It must provide children with a broad curriculum, offering “meaningful and ambitious work each day in a number of different subjects”.

Right, I better get planning then. Indeed. When doing so, do keep in mind that much of a traditional, non-remote music curriculum relies for its success on specialist equipment and in-person professional guidance. Both are likely to be lacking for remote learners, so focusing on accessible elements of the curriculum such as making sounds, singing, listening, composition and the history of music would be sensible.

Agreed. And I need to have everything ready to go at a moment’s notice? Absolutely. You’ll never know when pupils will need to isolate, or lockdowns will strike, so making sure you have at least something ready to go for each year group is essential. This could take a couple of forms, including:

  • Pre-prepared guidance sheets that focus, for example, on activities promoting exploratory sound making at home, or music history research challenges. Children can take hard copies home with them or access them online
  • An online area, ready to go, in your school’s remote learning platform of choice, that allows children to access guidance, ideas and videos at the touch of a button

There are also plenty of online resources that were developed during the initial lockdown that may complement your planning for music at home in the future.

Any recommendations on this front? Of course. There are so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming, but the ones listed below have all been created and developed by experts in their fields. We’d suggest looking at:

That’s great! I might even send this list out to parents now – some have asked for suggestions for home activities anyway. We have encountered this too – parents inspired by lockdown who wish to continue working with their children. These resources would be perfect suggestions.

In a nutshell… Plan carefully, and in advance, to make sure that your music curriculum is easily transported to the home-learning environment, without losing any of its quality, richness or breadth.

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Ofsted Research review series: Music

We summarise the key findings from Ofsted’s music subject research review and list key features of ‘high-quality music education’.

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