From an early age, children love to learn songs. They can memorise many songs simply by singing.
It is this skill that is the key to a 3 year pilot program commencing in state schools across Australia in February 2015. The National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Programme will see professional music teachers mentor about 50 teachers, to improve music education in schools by focusing first on singing.
Richard Gill, an award winning conductor and the driving force behind the idea, will be leading the mentorship program. I had the pleasure of working with Richard in the Opera Company, and I have always been a strong supporter of music in schools -particularly singing.
Richard thinks that “a lot of kids get sick of instruments because they’re offered too early” and that it can be overwhelming for them to have to learn to read music as well as learning the technique to play. Instead if they “learn their musical literacy through singing, then going to the instrument is far less problematic”.
The program will see a focus on learning and singing a wide variety of songs, then they can learn to read the notation of the songs. “Because they know the songs inside out… suddenly the notation makes sense.”
I’m very excited to hear about this program that will see teachers helping other teachers to provide such a wonderful opportunity for our young students to learn through singing. If you would like to improve your own singing, then contact me for singing lessons.
Brown, Simon Leo, ‘Singing the key to teaching school children music, expert says’, ABC News, 21st October 2015