Reflecting on performance

The final term of the academic session is always a busy one for performance with the school show and music recitals. This year these performances were cancelled because of the lockdown but that didn’t mean the music stopped playing.

Here, Head of Music Performance Mr Rhodes and Head of Music Curriculum Mr Trotter reflect on a very unusual last term.

“It seems strange writing this as the New Head of Music Performance, when for several weeks, we have not been able to perform live to anybody due to the lockdown.

“However, we have been ever busy and the special family feel that music always has in good schools has meant we have had plenty going on. What has impressed me, is the community spirit and positivity that has shone through and we have had virtual concerts aplenty, as well as musical challenges, quizzes, recordings for videos and prize giving.

“The department has been innovative and forward-thinking and pupils agreeable and willing. Although we faced the daunting challenge of finding ways that we will congregate safely to practice and perform together, music at Hutchie continued, and will continue to move from strength to strength.

“Music in the Primary school is growing at a fantastic rate of knots and the ensembles are expanding rapidly in numbers. The guitar ensemble has outgrown its rehearsal space and the ukulele group has been a fantastic new addition to the diverse and varied options that the pupils have in getting involved in music at the school.

“One of the most impressive statistics that we have the right to be proud of, is the fact that 80% of pupils who were having music lessons before Lockdown were able to continue with lessons through the use of “Teams”.

“We are one of the very few schools in Scotland that has had this take up and success and it happened as early as three days into lockdown that the visiting music teachers started teaching, meaning that for many pupils, practical music lessons continued without interruption, which we are immensely proud of.

“Feedback from the parents has been hugely positive. In fact, in some cases so positive, many are continuing to have lessons over the summer holidays! The visiting music teachers are to be credited with the professionalism and drive that has seen them work continuously throughout Lockdown, delivering one-to-one lessons effectively and efficiently and with hugely positive results.”

Turning to the Music Curriculum, Mr Trotter (Head of Music Curriculum) records how pupils have engaged with a vast range of ‘stylish’ and well-structured lessons provided by the full-time music staff online.

“Producing new and novel ways of engaging pupils right the way through from early primary to S6 has been inspiring and has allowed us to think ‘outside the box’.

“Highlights must include drumming demonstrations where pupils had to grab spoons, pots and pans to replicate a drumkit (apologies for any damage caused!) as well as the truly artistic foleys where S2 pupils produced and recorded everyday sound effects added to film and media, gaining a real insight into how sound enhances picture.

“All these new approaches have opened a few eyes and inspired others, while we have managed to keep the sound traditions of music education going through this extra-ordinary time.

“Our  ‘live’  Team Teaching that the department has provided for the S6 Leavers, has allowed us all to rediscover the pathway of the undergraduate embarking on a Music degree, as well as filling a vital gap before their term begins.

“I am sure that all the multi-level lessons created during this time will provide a rich resource of material that we can continue to use on our return to school in the new session. I remain forever grateful to the pupils for their continued enthusiasm, particularly those who now await results in August. We have all discovered a new way of learning music and there is ‘no going back’!

“Our thanks go to all those involved in music at Hutchie. We cannot wait to return in August to get back to doing what we all love, whether it be in the classroom, practice room or on the stage; Music!”

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