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Highland schools introduce national music programme

Issued: 18 May 2010

Schools throughout the Highlands are to benefit from a training event being held this weekend in Inverness which will see participants learning how to deliver the national programme "Active Learning through Music".

On Saturday 22 May around 70 participants will be attending the event held at Millburn Academy. Active Learning through Music will be introduced by Margaret Rae, Active Learning through Music Co-ordinator who, with colleagues, will be offering additional training and support to participating schools.

The Highland Council is the first Local Authority to introduce the Active Learning through Music programme to all its schools. Written by the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the programme was trialled in four Highland schools last year where it was a hit with both staff and pupils.

Mrs Margaret Hay, Head Teacher at Holm Primary School said: "The Active Learning through Music programme has had huge benefits to all involved. It has been a fantastic experience for the pupils and the staff. Our teachers who previously had no particular musical expertise are now very confident in delivering a music programme. It's active, it involves everyone, including pupils with additional support needs, and the children are learning a whole range of skills which they can transfer to other areas of the curriculum. And, most importantly - its fun for everyone involved."

While the programme aims to develop musical skills, research has shown that active participation in singing games has benefits far beyond developing musical skills. A child who can keep a steady beat will be a much more fluent reader; songs and rhymes develop language skills such as vocabulary, rhyming and sentence building; memory skills; and speech development. The active nature of the games in the programme also help to develop co-ordination, aid listening skills, as well as promoting self esteem and building social skills.

Highland Council's Music Development Officer, Norman Bolton said: "Highland is leading the way by encouraging schools and nurseries to introduce this curricular material. Having been in schools where trials took place, I have seen first-hand how much the pupils love the materials and how quickly the staff gain confidence in their abilities to teach basic, but important, musical skills."

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme