Remote learning: music
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:
- BBC Bitesize has a range of videos and activities for primary music
- Bring the Noise and Ten Pieces are available from BBC Teach
- The National Oak Academy has online lessons for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 music
- Birmingham Contemporary Music Group has links to its lockdown lessons for children at home with instruments and those without
- The Music Room has a series of free lessons for KS1 and KS2. Many lend themselves to the early years as well
- Children can compose music on Google Song Maker
- Top Marks has links to a range of online music games and activities (search by age group)
- Leicestershire Music Services has links to a wide range of online music applications
- Portsmouth Music hub has a wide range of online songs to learn
- Singup has a range of resources for home learning
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.
ADDED SEPT 2021
We summarise changes to the EYFS framework that affect music.
ADDED AUGUST 2021
We summarise the key findings from Ofsted’s music subject research review and list key features of ‘high-quality music education’.
ADDED MARCH 2021
We summarise the 2021 Model Music Curriculum (MMC).
ADDED JAN 2021
We explore Ofsted’s subject deep dive and include sample questions for subject leaders.
ADDED APRIL 2021
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Explore more of our music articles here.
UPDATED OCT 2020
While calls for a more diverse curriculum are not new, events this year have brought the issue back sharply into focus. We explore ways to make a meaningful, lasting change to our music curricula, embedding diversity across the curriculum.
ADDED AUG 2020
With a new academic year on the horizon, we explore ways to keep languages firmly on the timetable, alongside the practicalities of running a full languages curriculum in a COVID-safe fashion.
ADDED MARCH 2020
We explore the pros and pitfalls of creating progression documents for music, including examples from both organisations and schools.
ADDED JAN 2020
We explore the implications of the government’s Character Education Framework for music.